TONY ADAMS Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Tony Alexander Adams MBE, (born 10 October 1966) is an English football player and manager. He spent his entire playing career (22 years) at Arsenal, and is considered one of the club’s greatest players of all time.


Adams was born in Romford in the London Borough of Havering and, having supported the club as a boy, joined Arsenal as a schoolboy in 1980. He made his first team debut on November 5, 1983, at the age of 17 against Sunderland. Together with Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn and Steve Bould, Adams was part of the “famous four” that lined up in Arsenal’s defence, which under George Graham was renowned for its well disciplined use of the offside trap. On January 1, 1988, he became Arsenal’s youngest ever captain at the age of 21; he would remain club captain for the next 14 years.


With their strong defence playing a huge part, Arsenal won the League Cup in 1986-87, and followed that by lifting the First Division trophy in 1988-89 and again in 1990-91. In 1992-93 Adams became the first player to captain his side to a League Cup and FA Cup double, and lifted the European Cup Winners’ Cup the year after.


By then he had also made his mark on the international stage; he made his debut for England against Spain in 1987, and played in Euro 88. Adams’s international career suffered a couple of setbacks after such early promise; he was surprisingly left out of the 1990 World Cup squad by manager Bobby Robson, and missed Euro 92 due to injury. However, he still maintained a regular place in defence, and after the retirement of Gary Lineker in 1992, Adams unofficially shared the captaincy of England with David Platt, though Adams got the job outright before Euro 96, as Platt’s place in the side became less sure. England reached the semi-finals of Euro 96, before losing on penalties to Germany.


However, at the same time his life was increasingly blighted with alcohol problems. He was reportedly often involved in fights in night clubs and was fined for driving in a drunken state several times. In 1990 he was imprisoned for three months after being caught drink-driving. Following Euro 96, Adams admitted that he was an alcoholic, and after seeking treatment, sought to reinvent himself and find a more sensitive side to his character, which included a return to education and an attempt to learn the piano. He is one of the most high-profile recovering alcoholics in the UK - his battle with alcohol is heavily detailed in his autobiography, Addicted, which was released in May 1998 to enormous critical acclaim.


His recovery and rehabilitation were helped in no small part by the arrival of Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager in September 1996, who reformed the club’s dietary practices and the players’ lifestyles. Wenger stuck by Adams following his confessions about his drink problem, and the improvements in the regime probably extended Adams’s career by several years. Adams rewarded his manager’s understanding handsomely, captaining the club to two Premiership and FA Cup Doubles, in 1997-98 and 2001-02; he is the only player in English football history to have captained a League-winning team in three different decades.


Meanwhile, England manager Glenn Hoddle had given Alan Shearer the captain’s armband in 1996, a decision which surprised and angered Adams and left many England fans puzzled. Adams continued to play for the national side, however and he finally appeared in a World Cup finals in 1998. His international swansong was England’s largely unsuccessful Euro 2000 campaign. With Shearer retiring from international football after the tournament, Adams regained the captaincy. However, within months, England lost a World Cup qualifier to Germany in October 2000, the match being the last to be staged at Wembley Stadium before the stadium was torn down for rebuilding. That match was Adams’s 60th Wembley appearance, a record. With Sven-Goran Eriksson eventually taking the helm and under increasing pressure for his place from the emerging and improving Rio Ferdinand, Adams retired from international football before Eriksson picked his first squad.


After his second Double win in 2002, Adams retired from professional football altogether, his last match being the 2002 FA Cup Final. He played 668 matches for Arsenal (only David O’Leary has played more) and was the most successful captain in the club’s history. No Arsenal player since has worn the number 6 shirt that Adams wore when playing, although the club have not formally retired the number. He is nicknamed “Mr. Arsenal". In May 2002 he was honoured by Arsenal with a testimonial game against Celtic. Many Arsenal legends played, including Ian Wright, John Lukic and Adams’ fellow back four stalwarts, Dixon, Winterburn and Bould. The game finished 1-1 with Lee Dixon, in his final appearance for the Gunners, getting their goal.


In 2004, Adams was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in recognition of his impact on the English game.


After starting a sports science degree at Brunel University, Adams became the manager of Wycombe Wanderers in 2003. He resigned from Wycombe in November 2004, citing personal reasons.


On 7 July 2005, Adams accepted a trainee coaching role with Dutch side Feyenoord with special responsibility for its Jonge team, which is a reserve/junior side. Adams later had a short spell seconded to Utrecht as a first team trainee coach, between 15 January and 2 February 2006.


On 11th June 2006 he stated that he was in the early stage of discussions with Portsmouth, over the vacant assistant manager’s position left by the departure of Kevin Bond.


In September 2000, as a result of his own experiences with alcohol and drug addiction, Adams founded the Sporting Chance Clinic, a charitable foundation aimed at providing treatment, counselling and support for sports men and women suffering from drink, drug or gambling addictions.


The clinic, which works to the twelve-step programme philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous is based near Liphook in Hampshire and includes Kate Hoey, Alex Rae and Elton John as patrons, and is supported by the Professional Footballers Association. Adams’s former Arsenal and England team mate Paul Merson, himself a recovering alcoholic, is also a patron of the charity.