Portsmouth Axe Tony Adams: What Now?

Ryan LynchCorrespondent IIFebruary 9, 2009

Late last night, Sky Sports announced that they had reports that Portsmouth manager Tony Adams was to be fired by the club, and that announcement was confirmed this morning.

Adams becomes the seventh Premier League manager to depart this season after taking charge from Harry Redknapp at the end of October.

Portsmouth's slide down the Premier League table correlated with his appointment, and he also overseeing the club's embarrassing capitulation to Swansea in the FA Cup.

Adams leaves the club having won just two league matches (against Sunderland and Blackburn) out of the sixteen he oversaw, a dismal record that saw Pompey drop crucial points against teams the likes of Fulham, Wigan, Hull, West Brom, and now Liverpool due to late goals in the last ten minutes of matches.

It was these late goals and poor results that lead to a disenchantment of a portion of Pompey supporters with Adams, as Pompey supporters have become split over what to think about Adams.

On one hand, Adams had been an excellent assistant manager and has a proven record of not only being a fantastic center back during his playing days, but also an outstanding Captain on the pitch—a fact that any Arsenal fan will firmly support.

But as a manager, Adams seemed to be completely out of depth in the Premier League.

Finding Portsmouth in the lead in a number of games during his tenure, Adams would watch his side unravel and succumb to late goals without any apparent idea on how to prevent it from happening.

So, was the sacking of Adams the correct decision by the Portsmouth board? Yes, I believe so.

But the problem is, this was the correct decision to make after we were demolished by West Ham back in December.

Now, the Pompey board's decision to dispatch with Adams just seems confusing and smacks of a club confused on how to right the ship before it sinks.

Why give Adams the entire transfer window to bring in his own players, only to axe him one game after the window closes?

Why have Executive Chairman Peter Storrie go public with the club's un-erring backing for Adams—calling for patience and support from the fans—only to sack him days later?

Why remove Adams now, after playing a team we were expected to lose to, and where individual mistakes from Crouch and Distin proved to be our undoing?

And finally, where do Portsmouth Football Club go from here?

Speculation is rife linking both former Pompey Director of Football and Chelsea manager Avram Grant with the position, as well as long-time former Charlton Athletic manager Alan Curbishly.

With Portsmouth well and truly in the relegation dogfight and with the club no doubt removing Adams because they saw it as the best (or easiest?) way to change the club's declining fortunes, a manager who can make an instant impact is needed.

While it is likely that Grant is going to be Adam's replacement due to his links to the club, Curbishly has a proven record of leading teams in the relegation battle and has the experience necessary to help the club.

Regardless, Portsmouth will need to appoint a new manager as soon as possible if they hope to arrest their concerning form and save their Premier League status.


I wrote an article following our defeat against West Ham in December questioning Adams' managerial ability, and that article can be found here.