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Tony Alexander Adams MBE, (born October 10, 1966) is an English football player and manager. He spent his entire playing career (22 years) at Arsenal, and is one of the club's greatest players of all time.

Adams was born in Romford in the London Borough of Havering and joined Arsenal as a schoolboy in 1980. He made his first team debut in 1983 at the age of 17 against Sunderland. Under George Graham, Adams became the lynchpin at the centre of Arsenal's defence, renowned for its well disciplined use of the offside trap, and was a crucial contributor to the club's success in the late 1980s and early 1990s. On January 1, 1988, he became Arsenal's youngest ever captain at the age of 21; he would remain club captain for the next 14 years.

Adams won the League Cup in 1987, and followed that by lifting the First Division trophy in 1989 and again in 1991. He also won a League Cup and FA Cup "double" in 1993 and the European Cup Winners' Cup the year after. He also made his mark on the international stage; he made his debut for England against Spain in 1987, and played in Euro 88.

However, at the same time his life was increasingly blighted with alcohol problems. He was reportedly often involved in fights in night clubs and was fined for driving in a drunken state several times. In 1990 he was imprisoned for three months after being caught drink-driving.

Adams' international career suffered a couple of setbacks after such early promise; he was surprisingly left out of the 1990 World Cup squad by manager Bobby Robson, and missed Euro 92 due to injury. However, he still maintained a regular place in defence, and after the retirement of Gary Lineker in 1992, Adams unofficially shared the captaincy of England with David Platt, though Adams got the job outright before Euro 96, as Platt's place in the side became less sure. England reached the semi-finals of Euro 96, before losing on penalties to Germany.

Following Euro 96, Adams admitted that he was an alcoholic, and after seeking treatment, sought to reinvent himself and find a more sensitive side to his character, which included a return to education and an attempt to learn the piano. He is one of the most high-profile recovering alcoholics in the UK - his battle with alcohol is heavily detailed in his autobiography, Addicted, which was released in May 1998 to enormous critical acclaim.

His recovery and rehabilitation were helped in no small part by the arrival of Arsène Wenger as Arsenal manager in September 1996, who reformed the club's dietary practices and the players' lifestyles. Wenger stuck by Adams following his confessions about his drink problem, and the improvements in the regime probably extended Adams' career by several years. Adams rewarded his manager's understanding handsomely, captaining the club to two Premiership and FA Cup Doubles, in 1998 and 2002; he is the only player in English football history to have captained a League-winning team in three different decades.

Meanwhile, England manager Glenn Hoddle had given Alan Shearer the captain's armband in 1996, a decision which surprised and angered Adams and left many England fans puzzled. Adams continued to play for the national side, however and he finally appeared in a World Cup finals in 1998. His international swansong was England's largely unsuccessful Euro 2000 campaign. With Shearer retiring from international football after the tournament, Adams regained the captaincy. However, within months , England lost a World Cup qualifier to Germany in October 2000, the match being the last to be staged at Wembley Stadium before the stadium being torn down for rebuilding. Manager Kevin Keegan resigned and caretaker manager Peter Taylor, with a view on the future, leaving out almost all the players over the age of 30 in the friendly against Italy in November 2000 , the captaincy was handed to David Beckham for that game as Adams was left out. With the new manager Sven-Göran Eriksson looking increasing likely to hand the captaincy to David Beckham and Adams under increasing pressure for his place from the emerging and improving Rio Ferdinand, Adams retired from international football before Eriksson picked his first squad, his last game being the ill fated game against Germany that saw Keegan resign.

After his second Double win in 2002, Adams retired from professional football altogether. He played 668 matches for Arsenal (only David O'Leary has played more) and was the most successful captain in the club's history. No Arsenal player since has worn the number 6 shirt that Adams wore when playing, although the club have not formally retired the number. He is nicknamed "Mr. Arsenal".

After starting a sports science degree at Brunel University, Adams became the manager of Wycombe Wanderers in 2003. He resigned from Wycombe in November 2004, citing personal reasons.

On 7th July 2005, Adams accepted a trainee coaching role with Dutch side Feyenoord with special responsibility for its Jonge team, which is a hybrid reserve/junior side.

 

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