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Micky Adams on stresses of being a modern-day manager

by 21/09/2017 18:18:00 0 comments 1 Views
  • Micky Adams has managed an array of clubs in the English Football League 
  • Adams hasn't been in charge of a side since he left Sligo Rovers in late 2015 
  • He is a former boss who understands the stresses of football management
  • The 55-year-old advises young coaches to be as well educated as they can 

By Matt Barlow for the Daily Mail

Published: 17:30 EDT, 21 September 2017 | Updated: 18:18 EDT, 21 September 2017

When the Welsh FA wanted someone to deliver a talk on crisis management to their aspiring young coaches they booked Micky Adams.

Adams can recognise a crisis. Fulham were 91st in the Football League when he took control. Brighton were homeless and broke. Leicester were in receivership.

He took them all up. But his crisis talk was about La Manga, 13 years ago, when nine of his Leicester players were arrested and three charged with rape, the beginning of the end for him as a Premier League boss.

Micky Adams knows what it is like to be a football manager under stress and pressure
Micky Adams knows what it is like to be a football manager under stress and pressure

Micky Adams knows what it is like to be a football manager under stress and pressure

Adams can recognise a crisis and has had his fair share of difficult managerial jobs
Adams can recognise a crisis and has had his fair share of difficult managerial jobs

Adams can recognise a crisis and has had his fair share of difficult managerial jobs

But whenever he was offered a crisis job he didn't turn it down... he looked at it as a challenge
But whenever he was offered a crisis job he didn't turn it down... he looked at it as a challenge

But whenever he was offered a crisis job he didn't turn it down... he looked at it as a challenge

A small room filled with enthusiastic coaches. Among them, Thierry Henry, Arsenal legend, Sky TV pundit and assistant manager of Belgium, sitting front and centre.

Pressure, but not the pressure Adams used to operate under. Straight-talking used to cost him jobs. These days, it gets him work as an adviser or assessing referees. Or as a crisis management expert.

'Every young coach wants to be a manager,' said Adams. 'Forget the money, everybody would love to be Jose Mourinho and if someone said you can be Jose Mourinho but you can't have the money I think they'd still strive to be there.

Adams says that every coach wants to be Jose Mourinho but it isn't as easy as that
Adams says that every coach wants to be Jose Mourinho but it isn't as easy as that

Adams says that every coach wants to be Jose Mourinho but it isn't as easy as that

'I say to young coaches, be the best you can be and be as well educated as you can. You can't know everything. That was the arrogance of my generation. It was our way or no way — and we were wrong.

'But nowadays if you're sensitive, if you can't handle criticism, if you like sleep, if you love your family, don't f****** go anywhere near football management.

'Do not go anywhere near it because it has serious consequences. That's true. I'm lucky, I survived.'

Adams kicked the habit in 2015 when he opted not to stay at Sligo Rovers having led an unlikely escape from relegation in the League of Ireland's top flight. At 55, he cannot envisage a return to the touchline. His consultancy business is taking shape and led him 3,500 miles east from his Leicestershire home last week into central Asia to coach the Kyrgyzstan Under-13 team.

The 55-year-old kicked the habit of football management after managing Sligo Rovers in 2015
The 55-year-old kicked the habit of football management after managing Sligo Rovers in 2015

The 55-year-old kicked the habit of football management after managing Sligo Rovers in 2015

He has written his book, Micky Adams: My Life in Football, and enjoys not being answerable to a chairman, although an advisory role beckons at Port Vale, where he was twice manager.

Vale fired Michael Brown last week. The sacking season is well and truly open. Frank de Boer, Justin Edinburgh, Gary Caldwell and Harry Redknapp can all testify. 'Sometimes, it comes as a relief,' said Adams.

'I see managers on TV looking tired and then they get the sack and three weeks later they look 10 years younger.

'They're striving. I see in first-time managers how badly they want it. If they fail at the first attempt they're very rarely seen again. Sometimes you build that pressure in your own mind.

Michael Brown was sacked as Port Vale manager after a poor start to the season
Michael Brown was sacked as Port Vale manager after a poor start to the season

Michael Brown was sacked as Port Vale manager after a poor start to the season

'I've been there. You can't sleep, you wake up, bang, and you're on it again. You're driving along, not concentrating on the roads, thinking about what you'll say and how you'll deliver it.'

After a playing career which included a decade in the top flight with Coventry and Southampton, Adams made management look easy. He led Fulham and Brighton up out of the fourth tier, unearthed Wayne Bridge and Bobby Zamora and, at the age of 41, took Leicester into the Premier League.

'I got there quickly but I wasn't ready,' said Adams. 'I didn't have the mental capacity to be a top Premier League manager. I had the opportunity but not the mental strength. I did OK, but I look back and realise I didn't have the tools. There's nothing you can do about that.

'After La Manga, I was tired and I make awful decisions when I'm tired. There's been bits in my life which have been maybe too much drinking and not enough sleeping, sleeping tablets, and that's how the game gets to you.'

It was March 2004 when Adams decided to take his Leicester squad on a mid-season break in Spain. On a night out, nine players were arrested and three charged with rape. Paul Dickov, Frank Sinclair and Keith Gillespie faced up to 14 years in prison but the charges were dropped and apparently the whole incident had been an elaborate attempted set-up.

Adams was in charge of Leicester when nine players were arrested on a night out
Adams was in charge of Leicester when nine players were arrested on a night out

Adams was in charge of Leicester when nine players were arrested on a night out

'Of course I regret it now,' said Adams. 'At the time I thought it was the right thing to get them away.

'I'm not a bitter and twisted man, banging my head on the granite saying the game owes me everything and La Manga, and all that. The game owes me absolutely jack s***, but it was a turning point.'

Leicester were relegated and Adams quit in October, soon after Mourinho had arrived at Chelsea, with the Premier League striding towards its global appeal.

'They spend a fortune on the sexy foreign coaches and it pushes everybody down the leagues and leaves good people without jobs,' says Adams, the first manager to be fired from an English club by a foreign owner when Mohamed Al Fayed replaced him with Ray Wilkins at Fulham.

It was his second claim to infamy.

He was already in the history books for the Premier League's first red card, dismissed, coincidentally, after punching Wilkins.

He took over as Sheffield United manager in 2010 before leaving to manage Port Vale again
He took over as Sheffield United manager in 2010 before leaving to manage Port Vale again

He took over as Sheffield United manager in 2010 before leaving to manage Port Vale again

Adams sped from Coventry, back to Brighton and to Port Vale before leaving for his beloved Sheffield United and returning, six months later, to Vale where he won another promotion.

He feels more comfortable in the lower leagues but, even there, the psychology of football has changed greatly.

'When I started it was one man pointing a finger in your face, calling you names, testing you,' said Adams, recalling the confrontational charm of Chris Nicholl, his boss at Southampton. 'I've a lot of affection for Chris but he left no one in any doubt what he thought. He'd go round pointing the finger, 'You, did all right. You, s***. You, w*****. You, s***'. If he thought I was s*** I'd try to show him he was wrong on the Monday.

'I'm not sure they do that now. They're a bit softer and more sensitive and they go, 'Yeah, f*** you'. The players have got the power, not the clubs. It's easier to get rid of one man and his staff than a squad of players. If they down tools, that's it. At Coventry, we were sixth in the Championship, just before Christmas and we got smashed at West Brom and I thought, 'You know what, I'm going to do what Chris Nicholl did'.

Adams couldn't prevent Tranmere Rovers from dropping out of the Football League in 2015
Adams couldn't prevent Tranmere Rovers from dropping out of the Football League in 2015

Adams couldn't prevent Tranmere Rovers from dropping out of the Football League in 2015

'So I went in and went, 'You, not bad. You, s***. You, f****** rubbish'. We didn't win another game. I lost my job a month later.'

Having failed to stop Tranmere crashing into non-League, he crossed the Irish Sea to save Sligo, where he witnessed perhaps the most bizarre scene of his life in football.

Patrick Nzuzi, one of his players, had been arrested after an alleged assault on a woman but no charges were pressed and rumours developed about retribution from the victim's family.

Adams advised Nzuzi to get out of Ireland and head home to England when, on Monday morning, a masked gunman appeared on the training pitch and made a beeline for Jennison Myrie-Williams.

There were two black players in the squad. One, Nzuzi, was on his way out of the country. The other was Myrie-Williams. Players scattered as Adams and his No 2 Alan Rogers screamed about mistaken identity. 

Myrie-Williams was on his knees with a gun to his head when the assailant removed his mask and started to laugh. It was in fact an injured player called John Russell, who had devised the prank in cahoots with the physio, who filmed it on her phone. 'The players were still shaking 20 minutes later,' said Adams.

Adams, who still takes a major interest in football, is out of the game and enjoying life
Adams, who still takes a major interest in football, is out of the game and enjoying life

Adams, who still takes a major interest in football, is out of the game and enjoying life

It was another story for the book. To go with Ron Atkinson's lost tooth, Terry Hurlock and the flying crystal ashtray which landed Adams in a police cell in Jersey, and Al Fayed's arrival at Craven Cottage with a plan to sign Ian Rush.

At least his sense of humour has survived the ordeal. Walking to a game at Old Trafford during Leicester's title run-in, a group of fans asked him to stop for a photograph. As he smiled for the camera, one of them said: 'I just want a reminder of how bad we were when you were manager. Look at us now.'

'Bit harsh,' said Adams. 'But you have to take it.'

Micky Adams: My Life in Football is released on Friday priced £20. See www.bitebackpublishing.com

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