independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

'I don't respect Alan - I couldn't be a pundit '

His managerial career has not taken off in the same way as his playing career, but Tony Adams says that – the occasional 'Goals on Sunday' appearance aside – he could never join the ranks of television pundits.

Adams (46) was the Wycombe Wanderers manager between 2003 and 2004. He took over at Portsmouth after Harry Redknapp left in 2008 and was sacked by the club, by then in freefall, after two wins in 16 Premier League games.

Now adviser to the president of Azerbaijan's Gabala FC, where he previously managed, he is setting up the infrastructure of the club.

"When I first retired I had my dad in the back of my head saying: 'This is too easy, you can't do this, get a proper job. You cannot be a Gary Neville or an Alan Hansen. You can't be a journalist! Go out at 5.0am and come back at 12.0 at night'.

"I thought it was money for old rope. I had been a player who had always put my neck on the line and my whole career was about giving 100pc. I found it was too easy."

Between jobs, Adams has worked as a coach at Feyenoord and Utrecht, and is a friend of Wim Jansen, the former Feyenoord technical director and Dutch international.

He left Gabala, only founded in 2005, with the team sixth in the Azerbaijan Premier League, on the basis he would be better suited working on developing the club as a whole.

Adams said: "I saw Alan Hansen the other night on 'Match of the Day' and he was doing a piece about Aston Villa's young defence. It's irrelevant. He thought, 'I'll pick on their ages'. I lifted a trophy at Arsenal at 21. If you are 21 and you are good enough, it doesn't matter. He just picked a theme: ages. Next week it'll be another theme: too old, or they have two left-footers.

"But if you are a coach, like Paul Lambert, and you are actually working with these guys, sometimes you have people who are sick or injured or don't get on.

"There are many factors in the equation. People who haven't done it, I have no respect for. I don't respect Alan because he has never put his head on the block. For me to then turn around and do it (punditry) in the early days would have felt very hypocritical."

As a manager, Adams says he would like a job where he had a chance of winning trophies.

"I have had limited resources at all the clubs – at Portsmouth we had a lot of cash at one stage where we could bring some good players in and I really enjoyed being part of the FA Cup win (in 2008).

"I never got my head around trying to stay in the division. It feels so foreign." (© Independent News Service)

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