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Adams lands in Granada

Tony Adams pictured on Tuesday with his Granada shirt, alongside the club’s vice-president Kangning Wang.
Tony Adams pictured on Tuesday with his Granada shirt, alongside the club’s vice-president Kangning Wang. / Reuters
  • The former Arsenal captain has been brought in to coach the struggling Andalusian side

As I write, there will be sportswriters checking out the availability of budget flights to Granada to see first-hand what Tony Adams is letting himself in for.

There are similarities to the appointment of another England stalwart, Gary Neville, who decided he’d test himself in La Liga with Valencia.

Unlike the former Manchester United star, Adams isn’t staking his career on what is bound to be a short spell in charge of a hapless team; he’s tried management in three different countries and hasn’t really succeeded.

The former captain of Arsenal now advises captains of industries on their sporting investments and therefore distances himself from any harsh judgements. He’s emerged from the bunker for seven games as the Andalusian club appears to be heading down a division, and he’ll move back into the war-room once his duty is served.

So what will the journalists and fans intrigued by Adams appointment find when they investigate?

Granada is a wonderful place for a gap year, bursting with history and a great place to learn; thousands of students head there every year for a year abroad. This parallels the football club which welcomingly opened the doors to young foreign football visitors last summer: seventeen new signings arrived from every part of planet football.

Their distinction this season was becoming the first La Liga club to select a team made up of eleven different nationalities.

Tony Adams doesn’t speak Spanish but in this changing room that isn’t necessarily a problem. The talent is drawn from as far apart as Iceland, Ghana, several South American countries and the owner is Chinese.

I say talent, they are mainly football students on a learning course from their parent institutions including four from the Premier League.

It was a panicked recruitment drive last summer when the new owners completed the deal and very few of the playing staff wll remain beyond May. Two experienced coaches have struggled to shape them into anything but a relegation-threatened team.

To be frank, Adams isn’t going to have any more success than he did in China or Azerbaijan and, like Neville, he’s doing a favour for an influential friend. Owner John Jiang is trusting him to shape the club for the future after inheriting a mess last summer.

It is more a watching brief as Granada, a city known for its ruins, will rebuild from the foundations. The plan is to nurture young Spanish talent rather than rely on the football tourist trade.

Adams isn’t putting his reputation on the line, not that he has one as a manager! The ship is lilting and his job is to guide it into the boatyard for refurbishment rather than let it sink completely.

So, the man who was once cruelly depicted as a donkey isn’t over here to make a Spanish ass of himself.