OF SEX SCANDAL 13 YEARS ON I told player’s wife cops had him and she screamed: ‘They can keep him!’
ners to tell them of the arrests. He says striker James Scowcroft, 41, burst into tears after learning his other half knew about false allegations against him.
But Adams also reveals a surprising reaction from the wife of 6ft 3ins centre half Matt Elliott after he told her there had been “an incident” on the trip.
She asked the manager: “Let me stop you there. Does it involve women?”
Adams says he told her: “Well, er, sort of, but I’m not really sure he’s been involved. But 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.”
Elliott’s wife hit back: “Good. They can f***ing keep him. They can lock him up.”
Then the phone went dead. The surreal exchange did at least lighten the mood – but only briefly.
For it emerged that while Sinclair, Dickov and Gillespie lay worried in their cell Spanish police had confiscated food sent to them by Leicester officials. Adams reveals: “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 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.
“It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the Spanish police had a great feed at Leicester City’s expense.”
Club chiefs managed to keep the story quiet for two days. When it did leak out, media manager Paul Mace told staff to “blank everyone”. Adams adds: “The advice went like this: ‘Micky, the eyes of the world are on you. Even if you are in private conversation with someone next to you, somebody else might be listening. Don’t smile. Don’t trust anyone’.”
This led to a farcical episode on the courthouse steps in Cartagena when, as a crowd gathered, a car booked to hurry the stars back to their hotel failed to show up.
Adams explains: “We walked left. Then we walked right. The press are following us with cameras. It was like something out of Benny Hill. I’m shouting, ‘Where’s the taxi?’
“Suddenly, one pulls up out of nowhere and we jump in, smartish. It was not a co-ordinated exit, let me tell you.”
Adams remains suspicious about the whole affair and has a theory that it was designed to raise the hotel’s profile.
He writes: “The hotel was for sale. They were having difficulty filling the rooms. They heard we were coming and they 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.
“Afterwards, the hotel went from empty to full with publicity like you wouldn’t believe. Was it helpful to have a sex scandal involving Premier League footballers at a hotel complex struggling to find a buyer? We were front page news on a global scale.”
Adams says La Manga tarred his reputation for life. “I had just turned 40. Nothing can prepare you for an event like that. Nothing,” he says.
He eventually left Leicester a year later and went on to manage Coventry, Port Vale, Brighton, Sheffield United and Tranmere. He now has a role with nonleague Harborough Town’s under-18s and still loves the game.
But he will always blame La Manga for blocking his return to the top.
When you look me up on internet what comes up? La Manga... I’m haunted by it MICKY ADAMS ON THE SCANDAL THAT WRECKED HIS MANAGERIAL CAREER
■■My Life in Football is published by Biteback on September 21.
SOLID DEFENCE Frank Sinclair goes to court. Right: How Mirror reported it