The Football League Paper - - PROFILE -

Born: Stoke-on-Trent, 1965 (Age 49) Play­ing Ca­reer: A speedy winger, Adams started his ca­reer

at Stoke in 1985, scor­ing four goals in 39 ap­pear­ances and win­ning a sin­gle cap for Eng­land U21s. Adams moved to Ever­ton for £150,000 in 1986 but made just 21 ap­pear­ances in three years be­fore drop­ping back into the

Sec­ond Di­vi­sion with Old­ham Ath­letic. He would spend the next six years – three of them in the top flight – at Bound­ary Park, reach­ing the League Cup fi­nal in 1991, win­ning the Sec­ond Di­vi­sion ti­tle in 1992 and com­ing within a whisker of beat­ing Man United in the FA Cup semi fi­nal of 1994. Adams had scored 25 goals in 166 games for Old­ham when he joined Nor­wich for £225,000 mid­way through the 1993- 94 cam­paign. And though the Ca­naries were rel­e­gated from the top flight in 1995, Adams stayed put for another four sea­sons, scor­ing 30 goals in 206 games be­fore re­turn­ing to Old­ham in 1999. He spent the next two sea­sons at Bound­ary Park, play­ing 54 times be­fore hang­ing up his boots in 2001, aged 36. Man­age­rial Ca­reer: Ap­pointed youth coach by Nor­wich in 2001, Adams spent seven years at the club be­fore be­ing fired in a mass clearout in 2008. How­ever, he was sub­se­quently re­in­stated and went on to head up the U18s, win­ning the pres­ti­gious FA Youth Cup in 2013. Ap­pointed care­taker man­ager fol­low­ing the de­par­ture of Chris Hughton in April, Adams was un­able to pre­vent rel­e­ga­tion from the Premier League but was later handed a per­ma­nent con­tract.

“I’d gone to do some scout­ing at Stoke,” said Ken­dall. “I was look­ing at the left winger but I ended up sign­ing the lad who played on the right. That was Neil of course – he was just so ex­cit­ing, so pos­i­tive and bright. And in­cred­i­bly quick.”

Though Ever­ton proved a step too far, a switch to Joe Royle’s leg­endary Old­ham team – League Cup fi­nal­ists in 1990 and win­ners of pro­mo­tion to the top flight in 1991 – was the mak­ing of Adams.

“It was a won­der­ful team,” said for­mer Latic Mike Mil­li­gan who, along­side Adams, was part of the Old­ham side that won the last three games of the 1992-93 sea­son to stay in the top flight.

“We went out to­gether all the time and there must have been 15 of us that never missed a ses­sion. It was a dif­fer­ent cul­ture back then but we’d work just as hard as we par­tied. The spirit in that side was in­cred­i­ble.”

And ac­cord­ing to Andy Ritchie, Adams was a big part of it. “Neil could han­dle him­self in the dress­ing-room,” he said. “At Old­ham, you had to be able to look after your-

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