Tony Adams named as Granada manager until end of season

Ed Aarons
The Guardian
<span class="element-image__caption">Tony Adams took over as Granada’s sporting director last week, but will now take charge of the club for the final seven matches of the league campaign.</span> <span class="element-image__credit">Photograph: Dave Thompson/Getty Images</span>
Tony Adams took over as Granada’s sporting director last week, but will now take charge of the club for the final seven matches of the league campaign. Photograph: Dave Thompson/Getty Images

Tony Adams will take charge of La Liga side Granada’s final seven matches of the season after the former Arsenal and England captain was named as the successor to Lucas Alvarez on Monday.

Adams, 50, was appointed as the Spanish club’s sporting director by the Chinese owner Jiang Lizhang last week but will now be in charge of the first team in an attempt to avoid relegation after Sunday’s defeat to Valencia left them seven points from safety. Adams, whose last managerial post was in charge of the Azerbaijani club Gabala FC in 2011, is a close confidant of Lizhang and also acts as vice-president of his DDMC Football Club Management Company.

“After assessing the situation the team is in, Granada CF has decided to part company with Lucas Alcaraz and his coaching staff,” read a club statement. “In his place, the club has total confidence in Tony Adams, vice-president of DDMC, as head coach of Granada CF until the end of the season.”

Adams, who retired in August 2002 having led Arsenal to four championship and three FA Cups, began his managerial career at Wycombe Wanderers in 2003 before taking over at Portsmouth in 2009. The last of those spells ended in February 2009 having picked up just 10 points from his 16 games in charge after replacing Harry Redknapp. His spell in Azerbaijan lasted more than a year and he left after guiding them to seventh place in the league, although he did return a year later to become director of football.

That experience brought him to the attention of Lizhang, who is also a part-owner in NBA side Minnesota Timberwolves and the biggest stakeholder in Belgian side OH Leuven. Last August, the former journalist-turned sports marketer purchased Granada for £32m from Watford’s owners the Pozzo family and appointed Adams as sporting director at Chinese Super League side Chongqing Dangdai Lifan. He moved to Spain at the end of 2016 and was tasked with establishing a new infrastructure for the club before being named as sporting director to replace Javier Torralbo.

“I believe that with patience, the structure we are setting in place will be able to take the club where we want it to be, once more,” said Adams on his appointment last week. “We want to be a mid-table team in La Liga with players who belong to Granada CF, with a world‑class academy developing local and Spanish players, with world‑class training facilities.

“If there’s a Chinese player playing with the first team eventually, then that would be the icing on the cake for the president, but he’s certainly not going to insist on that. All these things will take time, as sometimes you need to take one step back and clear up all the problems, before you can take two steps forward.”

First up for Adams will be Sunday’s home match against Celta Vigo, although with away trips to Sevilla and Real Sociedad and a visit from Real Madrid to come, he will have to act quickly if Granada are to avoid slipping back down after five seasons in the top flight.

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