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

Sunday Mail (UK) - - News - Alan Selby

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

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