Tony Adams claims Arsene Wenger ‘couldn’t coach his was out of a paper bag’ after hitting out at Arsenal manager


Tony Adams has hit out at Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, claiming he “couldn’t coach his was out of a paper bag”, and criticised him for preventing the former club captain from returning to the club.

Ex-England captain Adams remains Arsenal’s most successful captain after winning 10 major honours during his 19-year career with the club, having spent his entire career with the north London club.

But since retiring from the game in 2002 to move into coaching, Adams has been critical of Wenger at times and, he believes, this had led to the Frenchman blocking a possible return to the Arsenal coaching staff.

Writing in his new autobiography Sober, which is being serialised in The Sun, 50-year-old Adams said: “Perhaps Arsene thought I might be too challenging for him.

“He seemed to like an assistant such as Pat Rice or Steve Bould, both great club men who were not going to ruffle feathers.

“Arsene is so dominant that he was probably not going to like it if I said, ‘We’re conceding bad goals, I’m going to take the back four today and organise them’.

“Because Arsene is essentially not a coach – and that is the second reason why I believe he didn’t want me. Back in the day I said in an interview coaching wasn’t Arsene’s strong point.

“Actually in the original draft, I said he couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag. And though I modified that in the final article, it didn’t go down well.

“It all left me feeling that I would never get a chance in any capacity while Arsene was there.

“Much as I respected him for his long and successful tenure, my occasional willingness to pass comment on him and the team probably counted against me.”

Adams has endured ill-fated spells with Wycombe and Portsmouth, and his currently back in management in Spain having taken up the vacant Granada job in La Liga. However, life has not begun well with the Spanish side, having lost all six of their league games since Adams took over and suffering relegation to the second tier.

Despite the apparent animosity between Adams and Wenger, the former defender remains a fan favourite at the Emirates, where he has a statue placed outside the stadium in recognition of his achievements with the club.

Wenger’s relationship with Adams appears to have completely broken down ()

But it could have been very different, had Manchester United succeeded with either of their two attempts to sign Adams in 1991 and 1996. He added: I turned them down both times because I was Arsenal through and through.

“At the time, the wages weren’t going to be much better, and I was stuck in my drinking and the London life with my mates and family around me.

“I wouldn’t have had the tools to cope up in Manchester on my own.


Adams also claims that Sir Alex Ferguson twice tried to sign him for Manchester United ()

“The second United approach came in 96, in the autumn just five weeks after I had stopped drinking and in that period of uncertainty when Arsene Wenger was taking over from the sacked Bruce Rioch.

“I guess Sir Alex (Ferguson) might also have wanted me because, as well as feeling he might be strengthening United, he might be weakening Arsenal.”

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