Former footballer and founder of addiction clinic Sporting Chance, Tony Adams made his league debut aged 17 in November 1983. But hopes of forming a partnership with David O’Leary in the central of defence were set back when he sustained a stress fracture in his right foot. Promising youngster Martin Keown moved in to take Tony’s place, but Keown signed for Aston Villa after a contract dispute. Tony Adams took his second chance and never looked back since.
Football Honours & Medals
His defensive ability helped Arsenal FC to win the 1987 Littlewoods Cup and he captained the side taking the Championship twice – at Anfield in 1989 and two years later in 1990-91. He collected Arsenal’s Player of the Year Award in 1987. Adams is a high-profile figure, due to his 22 years (and 669 appearances) with Arsenal where he helped the club win four Premier League titles, three FA Cups, a few Community Shields and the UEFA Cup Winners cup.
He skippered the team to glory in their unique 1993 FA Cup and Coca-Cola Cup double – the following year he lifted the European Cup Winner’s Cup in Copenhagen, and became the most successful Arsenal captain in history.
Playing For England
England boss Bobby Robson selected Tony Adams for the International team, adding that he had “such a great stature for someone so young”. Tony was involved in the European Championships, scoring against Yugoslavia in the qualifiers and against the USSR in the 1990 Finals.
After not taking part in the International scene for that season, Graham Taylor recalled him to play in the 1992-93 World Cup qualifiers, and he’s remained in favour ever since with Terry Venables, Glenn Hoddle and Kevin Keegan. Tony went on to win 66 caps for England scoring 5 goals.
Tony retired from football at the end of the 2001/2002 campaigns helping Arsenal to the double, and stopping Manchester United’s dominance of the domestic game.
Tony Adams: Football Manager
Since retiring as a player he has earned his manager badge at Portsmouth. Well respected and admired throughout the sport, Tony also has experience of managing various football clubs, including Wycombe Wanderers, Portsmouth and Gabala FC of Azerbaijan. But it is his strength and fortitude to come back from the brink that has made Tony a genuinely motivational speaker.
Tony Adams: Guest Speaker
Tony has many riveting stories to tell about his time at Arsenal where the motivational speaker played alongside some of the greatest players of his era and worked under four markedly different managers – Arsène Wenger, George Graham, Glenn Hoddle and Terry Venables. One such story is that he turned down two offers from Manchester United to leave Arsenal. Adams chose to stay and, he says, I found my salary tripled.
In September 2000, as a result of his own experiences with alcoholism 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 teammate Paul Merson, himself a recovering alcoholic, is also a patron of the charity.
Tony’s Arsenal testimonial match helped raise £500,000 for his charity, the Sporting Chance Clinic. Adams is a Patron for NACOA, a charity that provides information, advice and support for anyone affected by their parents’ drinking. He is also a Patron for charity School Home Support (SHS). SHS helps disadvantaged children and young people overcome barriers to education such as poverty, domestic abuse and housing issues.
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Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.
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