Was Tony Adams Sacked Too Soon?
Tony Adams was sacked on Monday as manager of Portsmouth just three months after taking over following Harry Redknapp's departure. Adams' last game in charge was Saturday's 3-2 home defeat to Liverpool. Adams only managed two wins from 16 games and with pressure on the club to maintain their premiership status the club has acted by sacking the manager. But has the decision come too soon?
Adams is a brilliant professional and worked well as assistant manager during his time under Harry Redknapp. The team won the FA cup last season and the team was starting to come together and challenging in the top half of the table. Redknapp decided to take the managers job at Tottenham and Portsmouth acted by moving Adams to manager. Not long after Redknapp's departure Joe Jordan followed the ex Pompey boss to Spurs leaving Adams a large void to fill in the backroom staff. Jordan had been a big part of the coaching staff and losing him had to come as a blow.
With the January transfer window getting closer and closer throughout winter, it seemed that every week there were more and more rumours of Redknapp raiding his old club for players like Jermain Defoe and Glenn Johnson, as well as other clubs rumoured to be interested in Niko Kranjcar and Lassana Diarra. The Diarra deal was the first to be done in the last week of December, and you cannot blame the club for accepting a bid of £18mill from Real Madrid. Defoe was quick to suggest that he wished to rejoin former club Spurs less than a year after making the switch to Portsmouth. Defoe and Crouch had started to form a decent strike partnership for the club and losing him will have been a blow. Diarra was a strong player in the midfield and although he left in exchange for a good amount of money, replacing a player of his talent would be difficult.
With the club struggling to hold onto its players a run of tough games and bad results saw Portsmouth at the wrong end of the table. Difficulty signing players in the January made it hard for Adams to make his mark on the squad and an FA cup exit in a home tie at the hands of Swansea piled the pressure on the manager. In their game against Fulham, which they lost 3-1, Portsmouth looked in all kinds of trouble and the team were a shadow of their former selves. Previously difficult to breakdown, solid at the back and strong in attack, Fulham sliced open the Pompey defence with ease and it was rumoured then that Adams would be sacked. Some newspapers reported that Adams would be given three games to turn the club around.
Their game this weekend with Liverpool was a pure example of the disorganisation at Portsmouth. Pompey twice took the lead and twice made mistakes to allow Liverpool back in the game. You simply cannot give away mistakes and goals like that in the premier league. I think that performance level from Portsmouth in the game against Liverpool was a vast improvement on the previous game against Fulham. Liverpool were lucky to take the three points in the end and I think that Tony Adams is very unlucky to be losing his job. That game could have easily gone the other way and if it had then he would definitely still be in a job today.
Adams becomes the 6th manager of the season to part company with a premiership club (not counting Avram Grant and Sven-Goran Eriksson). If you look at Adams and Paul Ince, are 16 and 17 games long enough to make your mark on a team? Not all managers play the same style of football, and it can take a while to get success under different managers. The top six teams (with the exception of Chelsea) all have long term managers. The constant changing and swapping of managers does not help clubs in the long run. The short term impact of a new manager might be avoiding relegation, but there is no saying that the previous manager would not have achieved that. New managers generally means new players, old players moving out and increase in wages and transfer fees. The only people who benefit from that are agents.
Tony Adams would have been successful at Portsmouth had he been given the proper amount of time to make his mark on the squad and the club. I'm sure that he will be successful in the future, as will managers like Paul Ince. Clubs need to realise that the constant hiring and firing of managers does nothing but cause problems and cost money.
Thanks to Liam Yardley, who writes for another football blog, but he approached me with this article asking if I would publish it, so I said I would put it on Vital Pompey too - to see Liam's blog click here.