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Arsenal legend Tony Adams applies for Singapore national team coaching role

12:12 PM SGT 26/4/18
Tony Adams
The former Gunners defender is sees Singapore as an ideal career move after his stint at Granada last season...

Arsenal and England legend Tony Adams has thrown his hat into the ring as Singapore looks for a new national football team coach in the wake of the departure of V. Sundramoorthy.

Adams, 51, was most recently caretaker manager of La Liga strugglers Granada CF at the end of the 2016-17 season. But he’s now back at his home in England, as he weighs up his next career move.

The former central defender sent an e-mail application to Football Association of Singapore (FAS) President Lim Kia Tong and deputy General Secretary Yazeen Buhari on Wednesday. He’s interested in returning to Asia after a successful spell as the Sports Director of Chinese Super League (CSL) side Chongqing Dandai Lifan in 2016-17.

But Adams, who won 12 major trophies including four English titles with Arsenal during a storied 22-year career, is ready for a new chapter. He reportedly turned down the Malaysia national coaching position at the end of 2015 before Ong Kim Swee was appointed.  

Interestingly, Arsenal are due to visit Singapore in July as part of the 2018 International Champions Cup (ICC), alongside Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain

Ex-Sunderland boss Terry Butcher and former Wolverhampton Wanderers’ manager Dave Jones are among the English coaches who have expressed their interest in the Lions’ job. But getting someone of Adams’ stature - he also played in four major tournaments for England, earning 66 caps - could be just the boost that struggling Singapore football needs. 

Sitting at a miserable 172nd on the FIFA rankings, the Lions won just three of 23 matches under Sundramoorthy, with five draws and 15 defeats. In the process, they scored only 14 goals, conceding 39, and were eliminated in the group stage of the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup in the Philippines.

As far as his coaching credentials go, Adams has had a mixed record. He cut his teeth at lower-league side Wycombe Wanderers in 2003-04, before a spell in the Netherlands, overseeing the lower teams of Feyenoord and Utrecht.

His most high-profile managerial success came as the assistant to Harry Redknapp at Portsmouth between 2006-08 when they won the FA Cup and finished ninth in the Premier League. However, when Redknapp stepped down and Adams took over the top job, he lasted only four months before being sacked after earning only 10 points from 16 games in charge.

Adams then quit the English game altogether to spend the next half a dozen years in Azerbaijan as head coach, and then sporting director, of local club Gabala FC. 

Adams is believed to be willing to temper his wage demands for an opportunity in Singapore. He would even consider a performance-based contract, as he tries to lift the Lions up the FIFA rankings.

As a player, a then 24-year-old Adams had visited Singapore in 1991 as Arsenal beat a Liverpool side containing John Barnes and Ian Rush 4-3 after a penalty shoot-out in the Caltex Trophy at the old National Stadium.

More than a quarter of a century later, he’s open to making a return in a bid to reverse the island nation’s alarming football decline.

Jason Dasey is Singapore-based TV broadcaster who runs his own company, Cockatoo Media. Twitter: @JasonDasey