Does this involve women? They can keep him, just lock him up
13 years on Manager on wife’s fury after Scotland star was wrongly arrested in Spain
The inside story of the La Manga sex scandal, when Scotland football star Paul Dickov and two team-mates were wrongly accused of rape, is revealed by their manager today.
Striker Dickov was thrown in a Spanish police cell with Leicester City stars Keith Gillespie and Frank Sinclair and quizzed over the claims as the 2004 scandal became front page news around the world.
In a tell-all book, their manager Micky Adams also revealed that Scotland defender Matt Elliott’s wife screamed “they can f***ing keep him” on hearing that her husband was being questioned.
Adams tells how fellow players broke down in tears as Dickov was led away in handcuffs and claims officers ate food sent to the police station for those being questioned.
He also believes the episode could have been a plot to help with the sale of the resort, which he says was struggling at the time.
Adams, who wrote My Life in Football with journalist Neil Moxley, said: “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. Leicesterter were at the La Manga Club, a sports and leisure resort 90 minutes south of Alicante, for a training camp while they waited for their next game.
Days into the trip, nine of them were taken for questioning amid lurid claims by three German women staying at the resort.
Defender Sinclair eventually faced charges over the alleged attack, along with Dickov and midfielder Gillespie.
All charges against the trio were ddroppedd more thanh two monthsh llater as DNA evidence proved none of them had any contact with the women.
Midfielder Steffen Freund, who won Euro 96 with Germany, was released after he admitted he had consensual sex with a woman on the night in question.
But the mood soon turned as Dickov returned from being quizzed by ofofficers. Micky said: “He’s bent forward,f with both of his 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.”
He added: “Then, one by one, they all go in – and they all come out handcuffed.”
Adams told the players’ partners of their arrests, with Elliott’s wife providing light relief.
Micky said the conversation took a surprising turn after he broke the news of “an incident” on their trip.
He recalled that she said: “‘ Let me stop you there. Does it involve women?’
“‘ Well, er, sort of, but I’m not really sure he’s been involved. I’m just ringing you to let you know that he won’t be in touch for a day or so because he’s, er, been arrested.’
“‘Good. They can f***ing keep him. They can lock him up.’”
“And, with that, the phone went down.”
Adams said his players were forced to shiver in their cel ls af ter being cuffed by Spanish police who later stole food sent by management.
He said: “We arranged for the hotel to put together a load of grub and blankets and send it to the police station where we were assured that the lads would be fed. Yeah, right. To this day, I don’t know what happened but not one of the players saw so much as an apple.” He added: “It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the Spanish police had a great feed at Leicester City’s expense.”
Adams also questioned whether other motives were at play during the debacle, even suggesting that his players could have been stitched up as part of a wider plan.
He said: “The hotel itself was for sale.
“They were hav ing difficulty filling the rooms.
“They heard we were coming out and they decided to put three girls of certain morals, shall we say, in there.
“The girls said that they had been paid by another tourist to go to the hotel and spend time with the players, but they never divulged who he was.”
He added: “Afterwards, the hotel went from empty to ful l with publicity like you wouldn’t believe.
“Was it helpful to have a sex scandal involving Premier League footbal lers at a hotel complex struggling to find a buyer?
“We were front-page news on a global scale.”
Adams, 55, who took up a role with Harborough Town’s under-18s side in June, says despite his players’ innocence, the episode tarred his reputation for life – and he seriously considered walking away from footbal l af ter tender ing his resignation, which was rejected.
He said: “At the time, I was what many would consider to be a young manager.
“I had just turned 40 years old. That said, nothing can prepare you for an event like that. Nothing.
“It happens and you battle through it the best you can, even though, at times, the easier option would be to have chucked in the job and walked away.”
The easier option would’ve been to have chucked it and walked away
My Life in Football by Micky Adams is published on Thursday, September 21.
DISBELIEF Adams struggled to react
QUESTIONS Elliott with wife Cathy. Below, Dickov in action. Bottom, Gillespie, Sinclair and Dickov at Alicante airport UPROAR Matt Elliott arrives at Luton airport after flying back from Spain Picture Mark Lees/PA
UPSET Sinclair leaves police station, Left, the hotel at the resort