Charlie Adam is a Rangers’ reject who has been pivotal to Blackpool’s return to the top flight. They are currently 12th in the league and if they were to win their game in hand tomorrow against Manchester United, would move up to 7th.
Adam is Blackpool’s record signing at £500k but the move almost didn’t happen. Despite Rangers agreeing a price, Adam and his agent delayed going to Blackpool to discuss a contract.
“I’ve never known a situation like it. We have had a price agreed, but he and his agent have not come down to see us,” Holloway said a week after Rangers confirmed that they had accepted an offer for the player. “I’m starting to think that is a bit rude, and maybe the writing is on the wall that he doesn’t want to come, but at the minute it’s sticking in my throat – I don’t like that.”
Two weeks later, discussions had still yet to open and Holloway insisted he wasn’t going to beg the player to join, given his obvious reluctance to go to Blackpool.
“He probably thought he had done enough on loan to go back to Rangers and be looked at in pre-season as a serious option,” Holloway said. “You have to consider the disappointment of being rejected by your club when you look at the way he behaved. But if he comes to work with me I think he’ll like it, but until he gets in the car and does it we are struggling a bit. I’m not going to beg anyone.”
Three weeks after agreeing a price, Holloway then set a deadline for the player to make up his mind.
“I’ll give him until Monday morning, then we’ll have to rip up the offer we’ve made him,” Holloway said. “He really believes in himself and his ability. If he was a chocolate bar, he’d be licking himself.”
A month after the price was agreed, Adam finally agreed to move to Blackpool. After some impressive performances, Middlesbrough put in a bid for the player 5 months after signing for the Seasiders. Blackpool rejected the offer but Adam was open to the suggestion of leaving in the summer.
“It was tough during January because at the time you don’t know what is going to happen,” he said. “When a team is doing well there is always speculation about its players, but the club made their decision and that’s it. I will keep playing and working hard and trying to get Blackpool as high as we can at the end of the season – then we can worry about everything else.”
He continued to be an important player for them and as captain, helped them to the play-offs. Ahead of the game against Cardiff, Adam had his eyes on playing at the stadiums of United and Liverpool in the Premier League.
“I hope I’ve repaid some of the faith of the manager and to play in the best league in the world would be amazing,” he said. “Rangers prepared me for big matches like this and I’ve become a more consistent player with the amount of games I’ve played. To get that opportunity of going to Old Trafford and Anfield would be fantastic.”
It goes without saying that Adam is hero at Blackpool following his impressive performances in the Premier League and he has repeatedly encouraged this worship.
Most recently, after scoring an 86th minute penalty in Blackpool’s 2-1 defeat at the weekend, Adam turned to the crowd, pounding his fist against the badge on his jersey and pumping his fist in the air.
Two days later, he handed in a transfer request.
Now, I’m not expecting players to show the loyalty that the fans crave and often demand. Whilst a football team can be a fan’s whole world, it’s silly to expect professional footballers to see the club in the same light. As United fans, we’re lucky to see so many players committed to the club, apparently the most loyal in all of Europe. But we’ve also had our own experience of disloyalty with Wayne Rooney, when he claimed the club didn’t match his ambition and had no intention of signing a contract extension. He saw the light (after mass criticism in the press, an angry mob showed up at his doorstep, and he was offered more money) but the disappointment he caused is still felt by many. Had he not repeatedly claimed to love the club and kissed the badge, we’d obviously feel shit about our best player wanting to leave, but we wouldn’t have the added embarrassment of being totally duped by him.
Darren Bent recently left Sunderland for Aston Villa and claimed it was nothing to do with the money, rather he couldn’t turn down an offer from such a massive club. Sunderland are challenging for a Europa League spot this season whilst Villa are trying to avoid relegation. The press reckon he has swapped his £35k a week deal at Sunderland for an £80k a week contract at Villa. Is that so dreadful? Football is a short career and is it so bad that Bent would rather earn £320k a month than £140k a month?
My issue is, as it always has been, the dishonesty that comes from the players. Don’t run around kissing the badge and proclaiming you never want to leave just so the fans love you. Whilst the club might not be an emotional thing for the player, it certainly is for the fans, and it’s selfish to mess with their feelings just to get a louder cheer when their name is read out ahead of kick-off.
For Adam to be grabbing his badge just two days before he hands in a transfer request is pretty sickening. Maybe the Blackpool fans won’t begrudge him wanting to play for Liverpool. Maybe they will be grateful for what he has helped them to achieve and send him off tomorrow night with their blessing. But as for as I’m concerned, Adam is just the latest of a long line of wankers in football, who crave the adulation that comes with being a loyal player, but without the dedication needed to deserve it.
Here’s to Blackpool finishing above Liverpool this season.