Charlie Adam ready for hard graft as
Blackpool plot their escape route
1 minute ago
The much-coveted midfield player has shone at Bloomfield Road this season but he is still expected
to help out with chores
How does a player prepare for one of the biggest games in his career, a match that will determine
his future and seal the fate of his team?
In the case of Charlie Adam, hero of Blackpool and emerging pride of Scotland, he cleans his own
boots and washes his own kit. What’s more, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s a hard life, but that’s how we do things at Blackpool,” Adam said. “It’s the way Blackpool
have always done things and it’s the way they will do things long after I’ve gone.
“It was the same when we were fighting to stay in the Championship and it is the same now that we
are fighting to stay in the Premier League. It keeps you grounded. We have had a lot of praise this
year and rightly so because we have played some really good football, but it is always good to keep
your feet on the ground.”
It is hard to imagine that the players from Manchester United’s opponents after Blackpool —
Barcelona — will be covered in soapsuds and boot polish before the Champions League final. But it
is easy to imagine Sir Alex Ferguson, a disciplinarian to the core, approving of the routine that the
Blackpool squad has been through before tomorrow’s visit to Old Trafford.
The stakes could not be higher for Ian Holloway and his team — lose and they will almost certainly
be relegated; draw and they may survive; win and they are still not guaranteed salvation.
Even at the end of a season of personal and collective achievement, Adam knows that should the
formbook prevail and the upstarts fall foul of the champions, then a year of hard work will be
“If we are good enough then we will stay in the Premier League,” he said. “If not then we will at
least know that we have given everything from the first game. But one thing’s for sure, in future
people won’t look back and say, ‘Blackpool played some really good football but went down,’ they
will just look at the bare facts that we came up one season and down the next. In a way we are
fighting for our reputation as much as our status.
“There has been talk of different things we could use for inspiration and an obvious one is West
Ham United winning at Old Trafford a few years back to escape relegation. It’s a nice example
because it shows that it can be done.
“But if we’re looking for inspiration, I don’t think we should look any further than ourselves
because we have played good football this season, we have competed against some of the best sides
in the division and we’ve got some really good results.”
Indeed, Blackpool are undefeated in the past four games and, as Adam puts it, underdogs can have
their day. “I’d give anything to stay up and games don’t come any bigger than this, the last game of
the season at Old Trafford with survival at stake,” he said. “It is going to be difficult, but the
incentive for us is massive because if we get the result we need and it’s enough for us to finish
seventeenth, then it will be a major achievement.”
That Blackpool are still in the fight for survival is in no small measure thanks to Adam’s growing
status as one of the best midfield players in the Barclays Premier League.
In the past fortnight alone, the 25-year-old’s goals have earned his team three points, without which
their chances of escaping relegation would be negligible. If a penalty immediately after failing from
the spot in a 1-1 draw away to Tottenham Hotspur highlighted his mental fortitude, a beautifully
taken winning goal in the 4-3 defeat of Bolton Wanderers at Bloomfield Road showcased the talent
that has made him a transfer target for Liverpool.
The incident at White Hart Lane remains vivid in the memory for two reasons. First, for the way
Adam slammed home his second attempt after Heurelho Gomes, the Tottenham goalkeeper, had
thwarted his first.
Second, for the battle he had with DJ Campbell for the opportunity to make good on his failure; a
debate so heated that it raised doubts about whether Adam would be distracted from the task. He
wasn’t. “I didn’t think twice about taking it after I’d missed the first one,” he said.
“It didn’t cross my mind to do anything other than get hold of the ball and put things right. It wasn’t
about me, though. I felt I owed it to everyone else and also to myself, because I’d missed the first
one and I just wanted to score the penalty because I knew how important the goal could be.
“DJ had other ideas and wanted to take the penalty himself, and I couldn’t blame him for that
because I’d just missed. Thankfully I scored and we got an important point.
“The last couple of weeks have been eventful and all the drama and great games have probably
made us even more determined to beat relegation, because once you have had a taste of the big
league you want to play in it as many times as you can.”
Regardless of tomorrow’s outcome, Adam is likely to be given a second chance in the Premier
League. As well as Liverpool, Aston Villa and Tottenham are also interested in acquiring a player
whom Blackpool signed from Rangers two years ago with the only competition for his signature
coming from Barnsley.
Holloway continues to maintain that his captain will not be sold on the cheap, insisting that he
should command a fee in excess of the offer of £8 million that Liverpool made in January.
It may have appeared that Adam had already determined to pursue a future away from Blackpool
when he waved goodbye to Bloomfield Road after being substituted last weekend, but for the time
being he is looking no farther ahead than tomorrow.
“I just want to focus on the next game, that is all I can do,” he said. “The club will make the
decisions about what it wants to do. It isn’t down to me. I have got a year left on my contract so we
will see what happens, but all that matters now is getting the result that we need.”
Heart of the team
• Charlie Adam has been at the heart of Blackpool’s unexpectedly strong showing in their first top-
flight season for 39 years.
• Going into the final game of the season he leads the team in assists, chances created, free kicks
won and dribbling. Only DJ Campbell has scored more goals for the club this season.
Goals Campbell 13, Adam 11
Assists Adam 8, Taylor-Fletcher 4
Chances created Adam 70, Taylor-Fletcher 41
Dribbles completed Adam 58, Vaughan 36
Free kicks won Adam 90, Campbell 44