(Wednesday 5th November 2003)
Tony Adams As expected Tony Adams was confirmed as Wanderers' new Manager as the media descended on a press conference held at Adams Park on Wednesday 5th November. Adams has signed a contract until the end of the 2005/6 season with John Gorman assisting him until the end of the current season. The Club have not commented on the future of current assistant Terry Gibson.
The appointment of the former Arsenal defender as the new Chairboys' gaffer had been widely tipped by the national media after the Wanderers Board delayed their decision to announce the man assigned to replace Lawrie Sanchez. It originally looked like caretaker boss John Gorman would get the job having received widespread backing from the players but he will now have to make do with a helpers role alongside the player he worked with at England level.
The choice of Adams will come as big surprise to many Wanderers' followers. The 37 year old has no previous managerial experience having retired from the game in 2002. However, he appeared over 600 times for the Gunners in an 18 year career and as a former England Captain will bring a wealth of playing experience and first hand coaching techniques from the Gunners and England training grounds. He also joins a succession of Wanderers' Managers who have played in FA Cup Finals. John Gregory, Neil Smillie and Lawrie Sanchez all appeared in the Final for their respective clubs but Adams takes the honours with three final victories to his name.
Adams apparently contacted former Wanderers' legend Martin O'Neill to get his opinions about taking on the job at Wycombe. Adams' adviser Steve Kutner was quoted in the Daily Mail on 4th November as saying "Tony has been impressed by the people at Wycombe and had a chat with Martin O'Neill, who was very encouraging about the club. We have been approached by a few clubs who have been interested in making Tony manager but the decision on where he starts his coaching career is one he is taking very seriously."
Further quotes appeared in the Evening Standard on 5th November, where Adams confirmed he had spoken to other leading figures in the game, including George Graham, Arsene Wenger, Terry Venables and Kevin Keegan, before adding "I have talked to a lot of quality people. I got good feedback about Wycombe. It appeals to me. There were other talks with other chairmen and other clubs over the last year but they didn't seem right. The Wycombe job did."
Wanderers Director Alan Parry added at the press conference "When Lawrie Sanchez moved on we had a stack of applicants. We whittled them down and had some very worthy candidates. Tony was on the shortlist and when we interviewed him he was very impressive. We had the same feelings when Martin O'Neill walked in here.He is not the average up-and-coming manager. There is something very different about him"
Adams also mentioned that he thought it was important for John Gorman to stay on and assist him, commenting "I have worked with him at England level and I wanted to persuade him to stay.". Meanwhile, Gorman said "He is and always will be a winner. He has proved that in his career. I felt it was wrong to leave the club straight away, I feel part of it now. Tony will need help and I want to help him. We want to get this team off the bottom of the league, that's all that matters.".
Adams first game in charge will be the home FA Cup tie with Swindon Town on Saturday 8th November. After that it will back to the hard graft of the League with a home game with Brentford on Saturday 15th November. The former Highbury hero will have the task of pulling Wanderers away from the relegation zone but he'll also have to deal with a glut of players that are nearing the end of their contracts with the Wanderers. Come May 2004, Steve Brown, Dannie Bulman, Lewis Cook, Darren Currie, Richard Harris, Gavin Holligan, Jermaine McSporran, Charlie Mapes, Stuart Roberts, Danny Senda, Ian Simpemba, Michael Simpson, Andy Thomson, Luke Oliver, Chris Vinnicombe and Steve Williams will be out of their current contracts. In addition, decisions will have to be made over short term contract players Steve Dell and Andy Bell and Third Year Youth Team Scholars Mark Philo, John-Paul Kelly, Jamie McClurg, Tom Gott, Billy Harding, Stuart Hole and Matty Warner.
However, Adams, who will complete his Sports Science degree at Brunel University alongside his new role at Wycombe, says he is looking forward to the new challenge according to quotes on the official Arsenal website (, where he said "The only way to really learn about this job is as a manager. You grit your teeth and you learn - you learn about budgets, about players, about the tea lady, about everyone connected with the club. I am really excited about it and I cannot wait. I feel ready."
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