He’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I have always found Charlie Adam to be a straight talker when appearing on BBC Radio 5, as he did on Monday night. Adam reflected on the relegation of his team, Stoke City, and he pointed the finger at some in the dressing room.
Charlie Adam said: “I am embarrassed to be part of this relegation. As a group of players we should hang our heads in shame because that club should never be relegated.”
“A disease creeps in. Seven or eight in a group tried the hardest to make it work. The leadership group had a meeting a few weeks ago. We sensed not everything was right. We tried to sort out the problems in the dressing room. If players don’t want to do what you want, what can we do? We can’t have fisticuffs every day. We try and help people. We try and help the younger guys in the group. There are younger lads in the group making mistakes every day and we try and tell them: ‘it’s wrong what you’re doing’ but they get everything too soon.”
“The biggest problem that you have now is Social Media. Players cheat themselves. When you go home from training you should not be able to go on extra sessions with a fitness coach or personal trainers. You’re conning yourself, you’re conning your club and team mates. Unfortunately that’s the world at this moment and that’s what is happening.”
Adam, who himself was sent off for a rash tackle after just half an hour in a game against Everton when the score was 0-0, acknowledged that he was not without blame.
He said: “Yes, I missed a penalty against Brighton and there are certain things I could be accountable for. But the lack of discipline from certain players has been embarrassing.
“When you come into this country you need to know what it’s like to be in this country. You can’t still think you can do things the way you did in Germany or Spain. You need to try and adapt to the culture we have. It’s a different type of character needed.
“People behind the scenes who have mortgages to pay will lose their jobs and we the players are the ones to blame for that.”
Adam said that when recruiting players a club needs to first investigate the character of the player you intend to buy side is important.
“We as a collective group of twenty five have not been good enough. We’ve not competed. We’ve sat in games that have passed us by. We accepted losing 7-2 at Manchester City. We accepted 4-0 at Tottenham. We accepted five goals against this team, six goals against that team. You shouldn’t be getting beaten by five and six goals.
“You need to do your homework on the right players before they come in. You need the right type of characters coming in. We lost honest professionals such as John Walters. Mark (Hughes) agreed to sell certain players, which is understandable. Players get older. But when you replace them with players that are not the same characters, who don’t understand the team and what the group is, then it’s difficult.”
“Some players have been getting away with murder for a long time. It’s not just one or two. It’s four or five.”
Stoke and England goalkeeper Jack Butland focussed on the recruitment policy at the club and the input, or lack thereof, from some of those players brought to the Potteries.
He said: “There have been transfers that aren’t part of the squad for all kinds of reasons. Too many of the recent investments, and over the years, are unused and that is completely unacceptable. It’s been farcical.”
Stoke City supporters have had their patience stretched to the maximum and heaven knows what sort of side they will be watching next season. Clearly the expensive, lazy players will be sold at a loss, or loaned out and the club may have to pay some of their wages.
Stoke City should create a home grown, younger side and try to build a strong platform so that the club can get back to the Premier League as soon as possible. The parachute payment will help if the money is spent wisely. That has not always been the case in the black country in recent years.
For professional footballers like Charlie Adam at Stoke, and Chris Brunt at West Brom, their best playing days are behind them. They must despair at what they have witnessed in dressing rooms containing players who aren’t actually bothered if they get a game. Just so long as they pick up their hefty wage packet. Stoke and West Brom have recruited far too many players of that ilk.
That, along with some terrible decisions in the boardroom when it came to the hiring and firing managers, is to blame for both clubs being at the wrong end of the Premier League.
As supporters of Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United will confirm, it can take a long time to get back to the promised land.