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Premier League Hall of Fame: Tony Adams

Tony Adams will always be regarded as one of Arsenal's greatest captains and the two-time Premier League title winner was inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame in May 2023.

Tony Adams Profile: 

NameTony Adams
Date of birth10th October 1966
Place of birthRomford, Essex
Premier League clubsArsenal
Premier League appearances255
Premier League goals12
Premier League assists8
Premier League titles2

An archetypal one-club man

Tony Adams played his first league game for Arsenal just after his 17th birthday in 1983 and would be a regular fixture at Highbury until his retirement in 2002, which brought the curtain down on a great career for the Gunners.

Adams was always earmarked as a potential leader at the club and was handed the captaincy when he was just 21-years-old, becoming a figurehead in the team George Graham led to two First Division titles in 1989 and 1991.

He formed part of a famous Arsenal defence which included Lee Dixon, Steve Bould and Nigel Winterburn, and they lost just one game on their way to the title in 1991.

Adams became the dominant English centre-half of his generation while his glittering career was accompanied by a well-documented battle with alcoholism, but he will always be remembered by the Arsenal faithful as a great leader.

Reborn under Wenger

Adams embraced the new culture at Highbury after Arsene Wenger took over at the club, and the Frenchman helped Adams enjoy more great success.

They would collect the Premier League title for the first time in 1998 when Adams famously capped the final-day celebrations by uncharacteristically bursting through the Everton defence to fire home the last goal in a 4-0 win over the Toffees.

That was one of 12 Premier League goals he netted, and he would go on to help the Gunners claim another title in the 2001-02 season when Arsenal overcame Liverpool by a seven-point margin before Adams retired at the end of that season.

Style of play

Adams was renowned as a great defensive organiser, although his no-nonsense approach to getting the ball away from danger led to him being unfairly tagged as a ‘donkey' in the early years of his career under George Graham.

Back then, the team would be the masters of deploying the offside trap and many photos in newspapers would capture the image of Adams with his arm in the air attempting to attract the attention of the linesman and referee.

However, he and Steve Bould were a superb partnership and the success the Highbury club enjoyed under Graham was built upon that resolute rearguard.

Life after football

Upon retirement, Adams started a sports-science degree at Brunel University but was soon back in football as manager of what were then Second Division Wycombe Wanderers.

He went to Adams Park in November 2003 but was unable to stop the Chairboys from suffering relegation, and after they failed to build on a promising start the following season, he left in November 2004 citing personal reasons.

Spells coaching in the Netherlands followed before he became Harry Redknapp's assistant at Portsmouth, taking over the helm at Fratton Park when Redknapp left for Tottenham in October 2008.

However, Adams lasted 16 games and has been out of football since aside from short spells in Azerbaijan and Spain.

Adams founded the Sporting Chance Clinic for sportsmen and women suffering with addiction problems in 2000, and he was also the president of the Rugby Football League for one season.

He appeared on the 2022 series of the BBC show Strictly Come Dancing, but he and his partner Katya Jones had to pull out of the competition in the eighth show after Adams suffered a hamstring injury.

Did you know?

When Adams made the first of his 66 appearances for England against Spain in 1987, he became the first player to represent the Three Lions who had been born after the 1966 World Cup victory over West Germany.

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