Date:Friday September 15 2006
The arrival of Tony Adams could be seen as coincidental with Pompey's astonishing improvement with our defence; however Adams is refusing to take all the credit.
Having struggled for many years to merely keep back to back clean sheets, basically clean sheets at all the fact that we have managed to keep four successive clean sheets in our unbeaten start to the season is surely beyond our wildest dreams, and although not all down to Adams he surely has to take a lot of the credit. He would have this to say on the mater.
"I know I am going to be labelled a defensive coach because of playing in a tight defence at Arsenal for all those years, but that is not the case."
"If anything I am keener on improving our offensive strengths in the team. First-team coach Joe Jordan and I share the training equally with Harry Redknapp."
"Of course, I love it when my team is not conceding goals and we have done well so far this season but in the modern game the whole team defends and the whole team attacks. That is what we demand."
After being part of one of the best defensive set-ups in English footballing history with Arsenal for so long, often lining up as part of the famous four alongside Steve Bould (eventually replaced by Martin Keown) in the heart of the defence with Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn either side it is no wonder that he is being seen as a defensive coach, but he is far more than that, he has a great footballing brain. He would also say.
"I remember, when I played, being so impressed by the defensive work a great striker like Ian Rush did for Liverpool. He chased across the opposition's back four, not giving them a minute's peace when they were in possession."
'"George Graham used to talk about resilience at Arsenal, being tough to beat, and now top managers like Jose Mourinho demand that every player puts in his stint. There are no free rides - unless you want to go down."
His time with Wycombe Wanderers as Manager didn't work out as he would have planned, but it would be a beginning. His brief stints in European football with Feyenoord, with whom he worked with the reserve and youth sides followed by a spell with Utrecht as a first team coach, working as a trainee with both sides, would have only helped broaden his already wide knowledge of the game.
As I say he is far more than just a defensive coach but you focus in on the strengths you have, and defensively you can't get much better than Adams, who after being not only one of Arsenal's, but also England's greatest ever central defenders you can't help but automatically assume this is his top level of expertise.
Adams, along with the rest of us will be hoping we can continue our fine form, and hopefully even keep another clean sheet against Charlton as we return to the place many felt would turn out to be the "Valley of death" following our undeserving defeat at the tail end of last season, which left many worried that a great escape might not have come off after all.
Just a note, which ties in slightly with this article with Tony Adams being an Arsenal legend, Chelsea, one of the clubs fiercest rivals are making the news through John Terry with his claims the Championship "will be down to a two horse race" by the end of the weekend, with Manchester United and Chelsea the contenders...
Although on the grander scale of things the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal will realistically be challenging for the title come April and May I'd think several other teams, maybe not quite Pompey, but possibly the likes of Everton may well think differently. Should Everton and Pompey, although I'm not expecting this, be there or thereabouts at Christmas, Easter for sure you couldn't count them out.
I'm not for one minute even contemplating that we will be challenging for the title as this, although should this one day happen will see one of my biggest dreams for my lifetime come true, for the time being I think Terry is forgetting that there are other teams involved with it possible that the weekend will end with Pompey and Everton the top two, a two horse race then...
Date:Friday September 15 2006
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