I am conflicted over the Tony Adams situation.
He is an Arsenal legend. Mr Arsenal. My first footballing hero (soon dropped for David Seaman – I had a pony tail as a kid). He, like any other ex-player, fan or pundit, has a right to an opinion.
But like any other ex-player, fan or pundit, he does not deserve abuse for his opinion.
I have seen it both ways over the years. Players abused for defending Arsene Wenger, players attacking for criticising Arsene Wenger. Neither side of the fan base covers themselves with glory. And both sides change their opinion on whether ex-players should be allowed an opinion depending on if it suits their opinion.
Adams has his opinion, and it might be a valid opinion, but he needs to be careful, as it feels like he is becoming a bit of a rent-a-quote.
He clearly feels the club owe him for his decades of service. He clearly feels like he should be working for the club still. He clearly blames Arsene Wenger for not getting a job. And whilst Wenger might have blocked him – for whatever reason – the fact is he is not working for the club, and he seems to be very bitter about it.
Adams talks about being able to do a job on the training pitch. That he feels he will be of some use. He has the experience, the knowledge, and is Arsenal through and through, but is that enough?
His coaching career to date has not exactly been sparkling.
A handful of failed managerial jobs, and some very well paid coaching roles in the Middle East and China. Has he really proved himself as a top coach? Perhaps he should not have turned down that youth role to chase the money in China?
Maybe he needs to take a step back and realise he is simply not a good coach. He lacks the charisma. The knowledge. The ability. A top player does not make a top coach. Just look at Glen Hoddle or Roy Keane (It is interesting how relationships between managers and their leader break down (Adams & Wenger, Keane and Fergie), or any number of other former world class players who struggled to transition to coach.
Perhaps he should become an ambassador of the club first of all. A similar role to that which the likes of Martin Keown and Robert Pires have held over the year?
If hosting Legend Tours is not too small for the King of Highbury – Charlie George, why not Mr Arsenal – Tony Adams – offer do get involved in that? Get a foot back in the door with the club?
Personally, it feels every time Adams has a book to sell, or wants to put himself on the market for a job, he attacks Arsenal. It is a way to get publicity. A way to get his name in the market once more.
I think back to the early 00’s. David O’Leary. His tally of 722 appearances for the club still stands as a club record. It will never be beaten. He went into management. Had some success. He really should have been first in-line to take over from Arsene Wenger. It never happened. He does not seem too bitter about it.
Other players, the likes of Ian Wright, Lee Dixon, Alan Smith, have spoken out against Wenger in the past. They have been abused by some fans for it as well. It is a disgrace how some of our fans treat legends. Treat each other.
The thing is when Wright, Dixon and Smith spoke out, it came across as an honest opinion, usually in the course of doing their job as a pundit. When Adams speaks it, it feels contrived, that he has an axe to grind, and will take an opportunity given to him to stick the knife in.
Tony Adams is an Arsenal great. He is a legend. He is Mr Arsenal. He owes us nothing. We owe him everything. He should not be abused. Ever. No matter your opinion on his opinions, or your agenda. My only wish for Adams is when he does conduct interviews, he would come across as a little less bitter.
Adams is right when he says that Wenger should have left in May (although it should have been May 2014). Where he comes across has a bitter, angry man is when he says Wenger did not teach him anything.
Wenger cleary did teach him a lot. He even wrote about it in his first book. Wenger improved Adams as a player. He extended his career. He saved his life.
It is an undeniable fact that Tony Adams helped Arsene Wenger. And that Arsene Wenger helped Tony Adams. They are both club legends.
Tony – I love you, you are still Mr Arsenal, you do not deserve any abuse. But just try a bit harder to show that you are not bitter.