Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Neil Adams Answers YOU! - Part 1

Last week I offered you all a super chance not to be passed on.

The chance to quiz ex-Norwich player and current BBC radio pundit Neil Adams. I received over 40 questions - some of them even 3-parters! We didn't get through them all and some of them were... well... poo. But the great news is that many of them were excellent, and Neil answered those over a few beers with his old mate Bigus last Saturday night.

He offered his thoughts on current training methods, reminisced on THAT penalty miss and told me what he thought of Glenn Roeder.

Part One is waiting after the jump.

Neil (second from the left) with some NY Canaries last Saturday. Sorry for the blurry picture, Sergio from Keeley's was obviously drinking on the job!

Let's get started:

Kopper asks: How much coin do you think a mid-table championship team needs to spend to make consistent promotion pushes, assuming a slightly better rate of return than, say, Peter Grant?

Neil: I think if a team wants to get out of the Championship, you have to be looking at about 6 million at least. That's the ballpark figure for me. 6 million quid, and you'd be looking to get at least 4 decent players. As an owner, if I gave my manager 8 million and he didn't get me into the top 2, I would be disappointed, so 6 to 8 million.

Lingering Bursitis asked: Neil, who is the best manager you have ever played for, and why?

Neil: Players will usually tell you that the best manager they ever played for was the one that picked them all the time. I was fortunate to win the Premier League, as it is now, with Everton.

Howard Kendall was fantastic. I think his main strength was his man management, the way he kept the players that weren't in the team involved in the squad. I have played for managers who have got their 11, and if you are not in it, then you are an outcast.

Howard Kendall kept a group of about 20 players, bearing in mind this was in the days of one sub, all involved and rotated, which was unheard of and steered the team to a title. Bear in mind Liverpool were winning the title for fun then and using 30-40 players, I think he used 22 the year we won it.

Another one for me was Mike Walker, a manager who was very underrated. He was tactically excellent. He was the only manager I have known to play 3 center-halves and a sweeper, which was never done before, during the European run. He was another one who kept the training ground happy, he was very clever, and I think he should have done a lot better than he did. He was an excellent manager.

Kopper asks: Who is going to step up to be the clubhouse leader at Norwich City now that Dion has gone?

Neil: Difficult one... it would have been Huckerby for me, but Huckerby is out of the building now so to speak and looking at it now, they are thin on the ground for leaders. Gary Doherty is an experienced player but he is not a great talker. You are looking for players who are going to push and pull players around the pitch. I would be struggling to find one at the minute. If you are looking for experienced leaders at the moment then there aren't any there. Hopefully some can be brought in.

Lingering Bursitis asks: You played for Everton, Stoke, Norwich and Oldham... Who had the biggest dressing room clown and who was it?

Neil: Everton was fantastic, I was a young kid when I went to Everton, I was 19 years old. Everton at the time were the equivalent of Manchester United now, probably one of the best clubs in Europe. The dressing room was fantastic. I was fortunate that Adrian Heath was an Everton player, we both lived in Stoke-on-Trent and traveled up to Everton every day. He took me under his wing.

The dressing room banter at the time was phenomenal. Players will always tell you that the dressing room will get you half of the way there, obviously you have to have the talent or you won't do it. Adrian Heath was a joker but there were several of them. Oldham was the same, when we got out of the Championship at the time and into the Premiership. Joe Royle knew we liked to go out and have a beer and a laugh and a joke, but he kept an eye on it. He let it go because he knew what it did for the dressing room spirit. Any team that has a bond in the side as we had at Everton and Oldham has a good chance.

Adrian Heath..Dressing room joker!

Neil was a penalty specialist and only ever missed once...With that in mind The NY Kid wanted to know: Looking back, how much does the one penalty miss bother you considering that you could have had a perfect record?

Neil: It kills me to be honest. I take a big personal pride, as anybody would do, in success. It wasn't a great night for me, it was one that will be forever etched into the memory. Swansea away...I missed the penalty and literally 30 seconds before the end of the game I smashed my collar bone and had to have an operation the next day. I don't make excuses, but it was the only time I took a penalty and missed a penalty wearing rubber studs, I also had a cough and a heavy cold.

I didn't take the penalty as well as I should have done. The keeper saved it and I would be lying if I said that it doesn't grate, it would have been fantastic to have gone through my career without missing.

Ian wanted to know: Does Norwich have a shot in hell of getting promoted this year, or are they doomed to a life of Colaship mediocrity?

A repeat of 2003-2004?....

Neil: As we speak, I wouldn't hold any hopes out for them to make the top 6 based on last season's performances, but there are rumors of a takeover, a big Norwich businessman putting money in and if he does, then it changes everything. Wipes the slate clean. If there is money for Glenn Roeder to spend, then yes, you would expect Norwich to be up there competing.

If it doesn't happen then with the squad they currently have, it will be difficult to make the top 6.

Keith asked: As a professional player, how do you maximize training time, so as to maintain a high level of match fitness without burning yourself out over the course of a long footballing season?

Neil: It's difficult, but try to bear in mind that professional players train between 2, 2-and-a-half hours a day. It's difficult to burn out.

This is something that grates on me because I don't believe in the "burn out" theory. 10-15 years ago, players were playing 60, 70, 80 games a season and yes, the game is a lot faster now than it was but, if you look after yourself and you get adequate rest, and you treat your body right, and you eat and drink the right things, training shouldn't really be a problem. It's the best job in the world and if players look after themselves, then they should be ok.

Goat wanted to know: Neil, did you ever shag a model?

Neil: Bearing in mind my wife is about ten feet away from me, I'll go with a diplomatic "no comment" on that one.

Andrew asks: What's the biggest difference between playing in the First Div/Prem and playing in the Championship?

Neil: Pure and simple. People talk about the pace of the game. That's a misnomer. I think you will find the pace of the game in the Championship and the Prem are the same. Football is a quick game.

The massive difference is the quality. If you give the ball away in the Championship, you'll get it back after five or six passes. You give the ball away against a Premiership side, and you might not get it back, and it might cost you a goal. I found the biggest difference is not in the pace but in the quality and technique of the players. If you watch Premiership football, the players are technically excellent, if you watch Championship football then maybe one, two, maybe three in the team are technically excellent, the rest are not.

U75 said: Were there any days where you said to yourself, "I have no desire to put on that ugly kit ever again."? (Sorry Bigus!)

Neil: Absolutely not! There are millions of players who play every weekend who would give their right arm to play professionally. Players get paid well. There is one player, I wont name him, he was an excellent Norwich City player but he didn't like the game and I said I don't understand why you don't love the game and he said, "Well I am good at it and I do it for a job." (Sorry readers.....He will remain unnamed. I will take his identity to the grave with me, unless you get me drunk or corner me at George Keeley's.)

Spectator asks: At what age did you realize that you were talented enough to make a career out of playing football?

Neil: I thought my chance had gone! When I started, you had to be associated with a club at about 14 years old. That's when clubs could take players onto schoolboy terms. I missed the boat. I got my lucky break playing for a local side who got drawn against Stoke City in a local newspaper competition and that was my route into football. I saw many players that were as good or better than me never make it. You need an opportunity. Fortunately, I took mine. I thought I was a good player but I thought my chance had long gone.

Spectator also wanted to know (greedy info pig): Who was the opposing player you most despised?

Neil: I didn't despise anyone, but if you talk about the most difficult opponent I came up against and I despised him because he was so good, it would be Kenny Sansom, the Arsenal left-back. I came up against Sansom more often that not at the beginning of my career, and he was at the peak of his. He was the England left-back with about 80 caps and basically he was far too good for me. I always hoped I would get a chance to play against him 5-6 years on when I was more established, more of an experienced player... and I did. Kenny was at the end of his career playing at Everton and I was playing for Oldham in the Premiership and I scored two goals and it sort of put the cards straight. I caught him at the end of his career when I was at my peak and I turned the tables.

Kenny Sansom......Tricky fella.

That's it for part one, blog fiends, I hope you enjoyed it.

Part Two will be up on Thursday, when Neil reveals what he thinks about Glenn Roeder and recalls his favorite radio phone-in argument with a fan.



Ian said...

Holy crap actual reportage...brilliant!

The Fan's Attic said...

Stupendous. Well done.

Mike Georger said...

the correct diplomatic answer would have been 'my wife looks like a model, so yes'

The Likely Lad said...

good stuff. especially the answer to the "difference between the prem and champ'ship" question.

Goat said...

I'll take that as a "yes"

The NY Kid said...

well done bigus!

Kopper said...

I have no problems with UF becoming a Norwich City blog. None whatsoever. Good work Bigus.

Keith said...

great reporting Bigus.

Chad said...

Great item. Thanks to Bigus. And Neil.

Andrew said...

Good job Bigus. Well done.

Bigus Dickus said...

You will all enjoy part two.

If you have any more questions for Neil I am sure he will answer them when he logs on to have a look at this.

Goat said...

Kudos, Mr. Dickus. Well done. Commendations and promotions all around. I've got some additional questions: Has Neil ever listened to American soccer broadcasters or American sportscasters in general? If so, has he ever wondered if they would ever just shut the fuck up? Does he think that there's anything American and English broadcasters can learn from each other?

hockalees said...

Fantastic stuff.