When Tottenham came calling for Harry Redknapp back in October, Tony Adams – having been assistant manager at Portsmouth for over two years – was swiftly unveiled as their new boss.
Three months down the line, and with only two Premier League wins under his belt, the unrelenting pressure of being a top-flight manager is beginning to tell for the former Arsenal captain.
Being successful in the Premier League as a manager isn’t easy these days – just ask Paul Ince. In an ideal world, newly appointed managers would have time to work with their squad and put their ideas into practice, but sadly such is the magnitude of what’s at stake in this league, the clock ticks against any manager that fails to deliver.
A brief glance at the league table will show Portsmouth sitting in a seemingly secure 12th place, but a closer examination reveals there to be only an alarming three points between Adams’ side and the very bottom of the table, albeit with a game in hand.
And Pompey’s shock defeat at the hands of Swansea in the FA Cup fourth round this weekend will have done little to relieve the mounting feeling of tension around Fratton Park. But Adams’ reacted in the manner of a man unfazed by the loss and by the growing talk of a crisis at his club.
“We gave ourselves too much to do,” said Adams calmly, “We were chasing the game. You have ups and downs in the Cup. Whenever you go out – whether you’re the holders or not – it is disappointing.”
Prior to joining Portsmouth, Adams had an unsuccessful spell in charge at Wycombe and later spent a short time working with Feyenoord’s youth team. Other than these two stints, and a very brief spell as a trainee coach at FC Utrecht in Holland, Adams’ only other managerial experience comes from his time spent alongside Harry Redknapp. So when he was handed a job in the Premier League, people rightly questioned his credentials for the position.
It’s not yet over for Adams. He still has a little time left to turn things around for Pompey – ensuring they remain in the Premier League is clearly their primary objective – and it’s fair to assume that he has the support of most English football fans who are always keen to see a young new English manager cut it in the top flight.
But the stark reality is that Portsmouth could be minutes from disaster and regardless of whether Adams publicly admits it or not, deep down he must know that if he doesn’t begin to get results fast, he will surely be consigned to join Paul Ince on the 08/09 managerial casualty list.
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