By Rebecca Hawksworth

When taking part in an Executive Guest Speaker session at UCFB Etihad Campus, former Crystal Palace player and manager, and now sporting director, Dougie Freedman gave his views on how the football industry is shaped today and how it differs from when he was a player.

Freedman’s senior playing career started at Barnet and spanned over 16 years before he decided to call it quits after completing his final two years as a player at Southend United.

Having had two stints as a player at Crystal Palace before taking on the role of the club’s manager in 2011, Freedman spoke of his love affair with the club that he spent the majority of his playing days at.

Freedman said: “I’m always going to be in love with Crystal Palace because that’s where I made my name and I’m always going to be very grateful for that. I’m also very grateful to Steve Parish (Crystal Palace chairman) and his backers for giving me the opportunity and the chance to be manager. The best thing was having the trust and security with the fans.”

He added: “One of the disadvantages, and the reason I left, was that I needed a challenge and because I had been there such a long time people were taking me for granted, and that’s not a nice feeling. If you’re in a job for a long time you’ve always got to be motivated.”

Football is a sport followed and loved by millions across the globe and with the majority of people who work in the football industry being fans themselves, it can sometimes be hard to not invest too much emotion into the job.

Speaking of the contrast between working in football and sport compared to other businesses, Freedman, who became Palace’s sporting director in August, said: “Sport is very emotional; you’ve got to understand what the atmosphere is like on a Monday morning if you’ve just been beaten. If you’re in the business or the media world, you have to stay on one line and not get too emotional. That’s the biggest thing I’ve looked at in other businesses compared to football. It’s a very emotional business.”

However, Freedman did go on to add about how a managerial job in the beautiful game can sometimes be complicated and taken for granted by players. He said: “The job is very simple and is complicated by football players. It’s complicated by players saying things like their diet isn’t quite right and making excuses – that’s the problem.”

The former Bolton Wanderers manager added: “I’m a huge believer in technology and nutrition, it’s come on leaps and bounds since I was a player, but people need to understand there is no room for excuses. If you have excuses and a culture of blaming people, then you’re going to fail.”