Mr Arsenal azer new job

As today’s Independent says: It’s not all a hoax.

Tony Adams, Mr Arsenal, the finest defender and captain in all my years as an Arsenal fan, is the new manager of Azerbaijani minnows FC Gabala (capacity: 1,080).

It might not be a hoax, but I tell you what, you couldn’t make it up.

Second guessing Tony Adams though has been a fine art pretty much since he emerged from his alcoholism a reformed man while still at Arsenal.

I’m probably not the only one who assumed, when he retired, that one day he’d be back taking the helm as Arsenal boss, a la George Graham. Hewn from the same stone, he was committed, driven, a motivator of men. Arsenal Football Club oozed out of every pore.

It never worked out that way. Adams started his managerial career at Wycombe, where he lasted only a year before resigning. He spent some time in Holland before re-emerging as assistant manager at Portsmouth, eventually taking the reins as manager for 16 games before being sacked. It’s hardly been a model managerial career to date.

And now this. To say it’s a bold move is an understatement. But reading the Independent article, it’s clear there is money, and serious ambition, at Gabala. There can be no doubting it’s an enormous challenge.

From being the archetypal English footballer in the 1990s, Tony Adams’ life has since headed in a different direction and I wouldn’t have been at all surprised after the disappointnments of Wycombe and Portsmouth had he decided it was no longer the life for him.

Yet here he is, seemingly as ambitious as ever and trying to forge his managerial career in the most peculiar of footballing outposts.

It goes without saying I wish him well. I’m far from convinced it will work out but who knows, eh?

Always a hero of mine whatever happens. 20 years of blinding service, masterful defence and as I said before, the best Arsenal captain I have ever seen.

And who can forget this?

Good luck Big Tone! I think you might need it.

Things are moving already – though TA probably isn’t

So there I was, egg on face, after totally misplacing the opening of the transfer window to the tune of one month, but in the end it didn’t stop Man City snaffling Barry Gareth and Real Madrid nipping in for a slice of Kaka. Seems people are doing their business early this summer.

I guess, with Barry, that he was free to sign a pre-contract, with just one year left on his current deal? Either that or the transaction was simply done nice and early. Dunno. Either way, he’s gone and massively improved his salary but has moved to a club that is – contrary to his reasons for wanting to move – patently not in the Champions League, and indeed finished the season below the one he left. Read from that what you will.

I recall, at the tail end of the transfer window last summer, wondering how long it would be before City were breathing down the necks of the top four, but in the end we had nothing to fear last season. We might have nothing to fear this next one too, but the way they are going about their business – and the money they are spending – suggests to me that they intend to break into that elite sooner rather than later, and it’s another thing Wenger and Gazidis will no doubt have taken into account when planning for this summer.

The simple fact is, there is a limited pool of talent, but an increasing number of teams prepared to bid for it. So how Arsenal go about recruiting will be an interesting feature of the close season. It also reaffirms that signing Arshavin – a big European name, albeit one with no previous experience outside Russia – was a coup. Had we waited until this summer, we might well have been gazumped.

And finally tonight – I can only blog at night, at the moment, for reasons of having small children – what to make of the whole Tony-Adams-to-Celtic thing?

This is what he said to the BBC – though he also spoke to talkSport.

Now, if you listen to both these interviews carefully, it’s clear that he has not been offered the job (of head coach), and has not even applied for it, but he does suggest that Wim Jansen has put his name in the ring. And Adams is clearly interested in the role – who of his experience wouldn’t be?

Celtic have since come out and denied everything.

It is odd though – if Adams honestly thought he stood a chance, would he really have talked about it on national radio? Of course not. I suspect he’s just reminding people that he’s available, and this will put his name back in the press. It already has.

He also talks about coming back to Arsenal – and how much he’d like to – and that’s nice to hear. Will it ever happen? I can’t see it right now, especially not as a manager, but he’s still young enough to make a name for himself.