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Portsmouth Sacking Adams Now Makes No Sense

Adams bids farewell

Adams bids farewell

Poor Tony Adams, he can’t even win the headlines on the day he loses his job. Why have Portsmouth taken the decision to sack Tony Adams after the Liverpool game? It is an ludicrous decision to sack a manager after losing to Liverpool at home and especially a week after the transfer window closed for the remainder of the season. I could have understood the decision 10 days ago, but what changed in that period. As poorly as Liverpool are currently playing, a win would have been a massive coup for Adams and his beleaguered team but to be sacked after losing to the team currently sitting in second in the table makes no sense. It’s pointless and makes you wonder how long this decision had been brewing, though I thought this time last week that Tony Adams was a dead man walking. The comments coming out of the club were the sort that for anyone who’s followed football for a while that the warning signs were clear to all that could read them. The dreaded vote of confidence had been issued, the experienced player had made comments on the fact he thought they were going down. Adams stoically stated that he had the full support of Portsmouth’s board and fans.

Why didn’t they sack him after the F.A. Cup defeat at home to Swansea or the 4-1 home defeat to West Ham? Then I could have understood it more, but 3 of their last 5 defeats in the League have come against Liverpool, Aston Villa and Arsenal.  What did the board expect him to do in those games against top quality opposition, they also garnered a point at Tottenham despite being on the back foot for most of the game. What would have most clubs taken from those 4 matches outside the top 6?

There’s no doubting Adams’ reputation as one of the nicest men in football. A renaissance man in every sense, after much publicised battles with alcoholism, Adams threw himself into education, becoming a varocious reader of classics and under Wenger, had an indian summer as a player finding a new panache and ability in a side of sensuous footballing talent. He’s work in setting up the Sporting Chance Clinic in Hampshire needs no introduction or defence and he has worked tirelessly to assist countless sports men & women to try and beat their demons. Yet, I don’t think he’s ready to be a manager yet, he’s still a little rough around the edges and needs to hone his abilities more. Great players do not make great managers but time and again English clubs do not learn. Bryan Robson, Roy Keane, Alan Ball and Bobby Charlton all showed that an illustrious playing career does not guarantee you’re able to step up to become a good manager.

The only defence I can find for the Portsmouth board is that perhaps they liked Tony too much to sack him sooner but even so, they should have acted sooner or let him run until the team end of the season. It was clear to me that Pompey were in free fall but Adams had taken steps to steel up his team with the signings of Hayden Mullins, Angelos Bassinas, Jermaine Pennant and Theofanis Gekas and to be removed after only one game with the new signings is daft.  That smacks of boardroom panic and the typical decisions of people who know nothing of football. To sack him after the run of games they’ve had would see 16 managers a year lose their jobs in the Premiership.

5 minutes from salvation

5 minutes from salvation

Their next fixture is a winnable one against Manchester City, who are dreadful away from home and would have given the club and Adams clarification on how poor they actually were. Yet the situation in the Premiership, with everyone outside the top 7 within 11 points of each other should have allowed Adams more time than he actually had.  No-one is cut adrift yet by a long way and that could have been crucial but ultimately, it’s looks like an act to preserve Portsmouth’s sell on price, the Chairman Alexandre Gayamak is looking at recouping the £60 million he’s poured in to Pompey, they need a new ground and the team needs strengthening too. That’s easier to do as a Premiership club and now they need to find a replacement. Avram Grant anyone? The board in their statement today claim to have given Adams their full backing financially. I hardly see giving a manager a sixth of the transfer funds raised in January as fully backing him financially. If only he worked for Steve Gibson, he’d still have a job.

So where does Adams go now? Perhaps Tony needs a break from football and throw himself into charity work, giving him time to recharge his batteries. He’ll be gutted that he feels he let Portsmouth and their fans down, if nothing else Adams is a proud man and one who never shirks from a challenge.  After the failure at Wycombe prior to his moving into Assistant Management, could he step back on the second or third rung of the management ladder and find time to get a club that will allow him the time to hone his managerial skills. If nothing else, I wish Tony Adams the best of luck whatever he decides to do.

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  1. Charlie (View from the Terraces)

    February 20, 2009 at 7:43 am

    New name for mix at Portsmouth – Javier Aguirre. The Mexican is a free agent after leaving Atletico Madrid. He’s got experience of managing a club on a similar scale to Portsmouth at Osasuna – taking the club to the Champions League on a shoe string budget. And he wants to work in the Premiership. Surely he is the perfect candidate?

    What do you reckon – I would love to hear what you have to say at View from the Terraces.



  2. Matthew R

    February 10, 2009 at 7:29 am

    While the timing is odd, he had to go. He was out of his depth completely. Thoughtfulness and introspection might be good qualities for being a balanced person but not necessarily for being a successful manager.

    You’re totally right to say that if he worked for Steve Gibson, he’d still have a job. That’s not necessarily a good thing though. There’s a point where loyalty becomes a pig-headed refusal to accept you’ve made an error. Boro and Pompey could well both end up in the Fizzy Pop League next year but Pompey will have a better chance if they fight the final 4 months of the season with an experienced, competent manager.

  3. Joe T W

    February 10, 2009 at 6:19 am

    Agree the timing of the sacking is strange, but more strange to me was his appointment in the first place!! The guy is a useless manager, he showed that in the lower leagues and his whole appointment smacked of a ‘shit we’ve got no money, lets appoint someone from within cos that’ll be cheap’ attitude from Pompey. Adams will NEVER make it as a manager in my opinion

  4. Tom_J

    February 10, 2009 at 5:57 am

    Paul – Great report- I totally agree!!

  5. Paul Bestall

    February 9, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Oh I agree, my point is, why wait until the transfer window closed guys? Pompey, as we all know have been in freefall since November. It’s the timing and the fact that it came after losing to Liverpool that surprised me. Pompey are a club very dear to my heart. I love Fratton Park and I have happy memories of days in Southsea and Gosport too.

    Nick, I do know a little bit about the workings of football, as someone on Pompeys books in the 80’s as a youth player and a non league chairman of a very succcessful little club up to 4 years ago. My point was about gaining 1 point from successive games against Aston Villa, Arsenal, Tottenham and Arsenal certainly not about 2 wins in 15 games, that would be indefensible.Thanks for the feedback though.

  6. The Gaffer

    February 9, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Even when he was Pompey assistant manager under Harry Redknapp, Adams’s body language was awful. Slumped on the bench. He looked like a right stick in the mud.

    The Gaffer

  7. AtlantaPompey

    February 9, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    He should have been sacked after losing to West Ham 4-1 on Boxing Day. The team at times has looked pathetic and apathetic. Most of that I lay at TA’s feet. His body language is atrocious. When we give up a goal, he sits down and droops his head and shoulders and looks pitiful. That sends a message to the players and the fans. His job is tactics and motivation. He wasn’t good at either. His substitution strategies were awful. He was just so far out of his depth.

    We have 14 games to get enough points to stay up. I think another 20 points will do it. It can be done, especially with so many mediocre to poor teams in the EPL this season. Paul Hart will not coach more than a couple of matches unless they get a couple of wins. ManCity would be a good place to start gathering points. Stoke wouldn’t be too bad either.


  8. Chris Walker

    February 9, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    personally, i’d love to see Tony back in football and it would be fitting that he worked in coaching and yputh development as i dont think he quite has the right attributes to be a manager. I think people are surprised by the fact he was sacked after losing to LIVERPOOL and not after the shambolic defensive display at Fulham the week before. Lets face it, who would expect a struggling Pompey to turn a title challenging reds team over? Maybe the board thought that if either A) They beat Liverpool,a much needed morale boost would be the catalyst for a better run of results, or B) New manager or not, beating the Reds would still be a huge task and this would be an immediate kick in the teeth to the new man in charge . Pompey’s next home game is against Man City who have been pretty vulnerable away from home so far and would look a decnet home-win prospect to the south coast club with a new man in charge

  9. Darren

    February 9, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Would love to see Wenger bring him to Arsenal and help out there, maybe groom him to be his sucessor, or at the very least, help out the Arsenal defense

  10. nick

    February 9, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    I feel you’re barking up the wrong tree, people would ask why now whenever he was sacked. Most people say he had too much time, some say too little, can’t fault the board for giving a prolonged trial.

    If your simply looking for a reason of why after the Liverpool game I can speculate a few possible ideas why it was the last straw:
    a) rumours of dressing room unrest after the game
    b) starting the game with a strange formation that had to be altered
    c) not making substitutes towards the end
    d) defensive laps not being addressed
    e) losing from a winning position again showing something wrong with the players mentality (PFC statement says as much)

    In reality it’s probably a mixture of the above. Not such big news either way.

    That smacks of boardroom panic and the typical decisions of people who know nothing of football. To sack him after the run of games they’ve had would see 16 managers a year lose their jobs in the Premiership.

    16 managers have had 2 wins in 15 games? I think you’ve miscalculated something. I’m pretty sure the boardroom of PFC know football and the situation a lot better than some website hack…

  11. Kev

    February 9, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    The only thing I’m surprised about is that it didn’t happen sooner. The players are obviously not responding to him, the defense is absolutely pathetic, and they blew two leads in the Liverpool game. the second of which they lead the game with 8 minutes to go. Adams just didn’t seem to have what it takes to get his team to play inspired football. They’ve been barely treading water lately, and haven’t won a league game since November. I think the sacking makes perfect sense. he’s not the guy for the job. The timing of it doesn’t surprise me either. They gave him time to get results, and to be straight to the point, he didn’t get results. I think that when you lose a game that you should have won, against the 2nd place team in the league…where do you go from there? It wasn’t like they were all of a sudden going to get on and start racking up points. So move in a different direction, with a manager who can hopefully get some inspired play in these last 3 months of the season

  12. Hank

    February 9, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    I think this post is poorly titled (for maximum shock value perhaps?) – it seems the point wasn’t that Adams should stay, just that the timing of the decision doesn’t make sense. I agree, its clear Adams has been on his way of for weeks, and this decision has been too long in coming but, better late than never.

  13. Paul Bestall

    February 9, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    I’m amazed at the timing more than anything. I’ve seen today he’s got a 12.5% win ration, which as you rightly say, is awful. My point is, why sack him now? Why not get rid of him two weeks ago??

  14. damian

    February 9, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    I`m amazed that you think this is a strange decision, I like Adams too but he is statistically the worst manager in Pompeys history and that takes some doing. Bear in mind he had a team with three full England internationals and the poor run of form started long before Defoe and Diarra were sold. No excuses…

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