Micky Adams is haunted by the “La Manga affair” and regards the 2004 police probe into his Leicester City players his “worst hour”.
He reveals how he phoned the wives and girlfriends of each of the nine arrested – and how one told him: “Good. They can f ***** g keep him.”
Millionaire stars Keith Gillespie, Frank Sinclair and Paul Dickov were reduced to sharing a freezing Spanish prison cell after allegations which shook English football to the core.
Even after being freed, they spent months under suspicion before being cleared of rape and sexual assault charges against three holidaymakers.
Now, in a new book charting his time at the top, 55-year-old Adams details the devastating impact it had on the game, the club and his stars. He reveals how:
Players broke down in tears as Dickov was led away in handcuffs.
Police starved players as they held them behind bars – intercepting food sent from their five-star hotel.
The club spent days desperately trying to keep the story from the press.
Adams, who wrote My Life in Football with Mirror Group journalist Neil Moxley, says: “It really does haunt me. I’d like to be remembered as a decent manager, but when you look up ‘Micky Adams Leicester City’, what comes up?
“It’s not saving a club from administration. It’s not getting promotion. It’s not playing in the Premier League. It’s La Manga.”
The drama began shortly after his team touched down in March 2004 for a five-day training break in La Manga, the trendy resort south of Alicante.
All hell broke loose after a night out when nine of them were taken for questioning amid lurid claims by three German women staying at the resort.
There were allegations against some players of a forced entry into a room at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and sexual assault accusations against three others.
Defender Sinclair, now 45, eventually faced charges over the alleged attack, along with striker Dickov, 44, and winger Gillespie, 42.
But more than two months after the arrests all charges were dropped.
DNA evidence proved none of them had sexual contact with the women.
But Adams was so shaken that he offered to quit and contemplated walking away from football for good.
The club rejected his resignation. But Adams, who was a defender with the likes of Southampton during his playing career, says his days in top-tier management were numbered.
Premier League clubs snubbed him because the “mud stuck”.
Revealing how the drama unfolded, he tells how he was at the hotel – staying off booze to protect a damaged liver – while the players were on a night out. Adams and Dickov, who was arrested Hyatt Regency in La Manga Gillespie, Sinclair and Dickov returning to UK The allegations surfaced the next day and the team attended a Cartagena police station for questioning.
Adams says: “As soon as we sat down, two armed guards came and stood in front of the doors.
“It was clear it was no longer a laughing matter. No one was now allowed to leave the building.”
Midfielder Steffen Freund, 47, was freed after he admitted having consensual sex with a woman.
But the mood darkened when cops led Dickov back into the room after interrogating him.
Adams goes on: “He’s bent forward, arms behind his back in handcuffs, with two mean coppers pushing him around.
“They’re shoving him through the room and towards the other door. The lads are genuinely gobsmacked.
“Then, one by one, they all go in – and they all come out handcuffed.”
He reveals how he rang players’ part-
LOYALTY HEARTBREAK HOTEL WRONGLY ACCUSED