Neil Adams is thrilled to be back in Norwich City family
PUBLISHED: 10:43 12 July 2011 | UPDATED: 13:21 13 July 2011
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Evening News columnist and radio pundit Neil Adams is leaving the pen and the microphone behind and taking up a full-time coaching job at Norwich City.
The former Canaries winger has been asked by manager Paul Lambert to lead the club’s under-16s and under-18s next season – a job the 45-year-old couldn’t refuse, even though it means an end to his media commitments.
“I have been coaching part time, coaching the under-18s, assisting Ricky Martin as a youth team coach and that has now been made into as full-time assistant youth team coach,” he said. “I will be coaching the 16s to 18s group all week and obviously on match days taking the teams.
“The Academy is a massive part of the club. It is vitally important and it is good the club have placed a big emphasis on the Academy to continue producing players like Korey Smith, Chris Martin, Declan Rudd, George Francomb and Tom Adeyemi. I am there in a full-time role and delighted that Paul Lambert and (Academy manager) Ricky Martin have asked me to come no board.”
The move means Adams will extend his involvement with the Canaries as a player and a coach to 17 years.
“I had six seasons as a player and 10 seasons as a part-time coach, so this will be my 17th season, although my first as a full-time coach. It is fantastic – what better time to be at Norwich City? Back-to-back promotions and now playing in the big league and I am looking forward to being a part of the coaching side of it.”
Adams made 206 appearances for the Canaries between February, 1994 – when he joined from Oldham for £250,000 – and the summer of 1999 when he returned to Boundary Park for two seasons before a knee injury forced his retirement.
He returned to Carrow Road and combined his coaching role with media work - which he had already experienced in his playing days – writing for the Pink Un and the Evening News and joining the BBC Radio Norfolk commentary team.
“It has been fantastic working within the media business,” Adams said. “It has been a privilege to watch the games and be paid to watch them. I think there are 26,000 fans who would chop their right arm off to watch it and then give their opinion on it. I hope I have been honest and not too unbiased. It is something I have enjoyed doing and something I will miss.
“It’s the same with the commentary – it is every fan’s dream and it was an honour to do that. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the full-time opportunity means I have to take a back seat now.
“I enjoyed writing. I remember starting when I was actually playing. I was asked if I would make a contribution to the Pink Un. Somebody asked me to write 500 words and it just went from there. The same with the commentating – I did the occasional one and was offered the chance to do more permanently.
“I enjoyed doing the columns and poking fun at people and trying to give an educated, player’s side of what we had just seen. Everybody has an opinion on football – mine wasn’t always right or wrong, but it was what I thought. I was trying to be honest and construct a good opinion of what I had just seen and if people enjoyed it, then great.
“People travel the length and breadth of the country, spending thousands of pounds to watch Norwich and us guys who do the same thing and get paid for it – that is the best of everything. Something we would do for nothing we are actually paid to do, so to be rewarded by someone giving you a few quid for your opinion and your comments has been excellent.”
Adams’ radio days began alongside the late Roy Waller but he was joined by Chris Goreham for the start of the 2005-06 season – and their descriptions of City’s dramatic rise to the Premier League ranks over the final few weeks of last season have gone into folklore.
“We acted as fans because we are fans, we are all Norwich City fans and we wanted the team to do well and the club to do well. Of course, you have to try and be professional and try to maintain your decorum, but I defy anybody who was in the ground that night when Jacko (Simeon Jackson) scored that goal against Derby not to react in that way. Fortunately it went down really well with people who heard it. If it happened again tomorrow I don’t think we could bite out lips and keep a lid on it. There were 26,000 fans who reacted in exactly the same way as we did – we couldn’t help it.”
And the bad times?
“I think the only bad times were when team were losing and people wanted to criticise. Sometimes people were spot on, but it can get frustrating at times when people are criticising for the sake of the sake of critising or they are plainly wrong with their opinions.
“There is nothing wrong with a good debate or a good argument about the rights and wrongs, but sometimes it can be frustrating when people who ought to know better are trying to put a point across that is clearly wrong. Other than that it has been great.”
Chris Goreham knows the Adams effect better than most.
“Working with Neil has been brilliant,” he said. “It was initially quite surreal to be spending so much time with someone I had watched from the stands when I was growing up. His experience, knowledge and ability to read a game added an extra dimension to BBC Radio Norfolk’s match coverage and, even after six years of sharing a commentary box, I never lost that sense of wonder at the insight he could provide. The fact Norwich City want him as a full-time coach shows just how much he has to offer.
“He also made what must have been a million motorway miles fly by with stories from his playing days and I don’t know how I’ll cope on the road without his football quizzes.”