Former England captain using his contacts and commitment to youth at Gabala
By Nicholas Veevers
Since Tony Adams’ spell of coaching with England U19s last month, the former Three Lions captain has been keeping busy with his day job.
Working as football advisor to the owner of Azerbaijan-based outfit Gabala, Adams has been playing a crucial role in developing the club from top to bottom.
And the Arsenal legend oversaw the appointment of highly-rated youth coach Stanley Brard as their new Academy Director last week.
Adams worked alongside Brard during his spell as a coach with Feyenoord in 2005 and the Dutchman clearly left a lasting impression.
Speaking to TheFA.com, Adams said: “Stanley’s been a very sought-after coach and we’re pleased to get him from the Feyenoord Academy in Holland.
“They’re doing well in the league and we’ve been lucky enough to recruit Stanley so I’m delighted that we’ve got him.
“He’s built up the Feyenood Academy over nine years and they have so many players from the Academy now playing in their first team.
“Gabala is like that as well, there’s a bigger remit from the owner to work with development at the football club. He very much wants his own players from his own region.
“We’ve already got a lot of young players in the Academy and we’re building things up in the community.
“The new stadium opens soon and the Academy building opens this summer - there are several pitches, grass and synthetic, an indoor arena and I’ve been instrumental in all of that stuff.”
Adams likens the Gabala revolution in Azerbaijan to what he experienced in his playing days at Arsenal, when Arsene Wenger first arrived as manager.
The Frenchman transformed the way of life at the north London club after his appointment in 1996 and Adams was one of the senior figures in the Gunners squad at that time.
He still credits Wenger with prolonging his own playing career and there are aspects of Wenger's style which Adams has taken into his role.
And he says the development of young players is something which he has always taken a keen interest in througout his own coaching career and in his current job.
He explained: “I think it’s like going back to the Arsene Wenger days at Arsenal, when he came in and oversaw the club going into a new training ground, then the Emirates and he was able to do what he wanted with development.
“It’s been great to be involved in and learn all aspects of football.
“Even when I’ve been manager of clubs with Wycombe and Portsmouth, as well as with Feyenoord, I’ve always been more into the importance of performances rather than the result.
“I’ve always tried to help development at whichever club I’ve been at.
“Unfortunately, the owners and chief executives out there today put the onus on results and quite rightly, as it is a results business.
“But I remember when I was at Wycombe, I had Steven Taylor on loan from Newcastle and even though he wasn’t one of my players, I was just as concerned with his development going back to Newcastle for his future.
“And that was the same for players like Nathan Tyson, Roger Johnson and Mike Williamson, there were young players who have gone on to have good careers.”
Adams did spend time as Head Coach of Gabala in the 2010-11 campaign before taking on his current role as an advisor.
Still based in England but with frequent trips to Azerbaijan, he has enjoyed the involvement of overseeing such a huge development at the club and in the country.
But he says he would still like to get back into coaching should the right opportunity arise.
He admits: “I very much do the thing that’s in front of me and I’ve had this role with Gabala which has been good.
“I do prefer coaching though, so it’s good to get the boots back on to try and help out and pass on what I’ve learnt in the game.
“But you have to try everything. I can last a couple of hours in the office but I then have to get out and do something.
“I am very much an outdoors person and you’ve got to try and do these things."