Adams hails ‘tremendous’ support City have received as he reflects on 25 years in Norfolk
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As Norwich City edge closer to a Premier League return, loans manager Neil Adams has spoken about his 25 years with the club and reflected on his brief time in charge of the Canaries in the top flight.
Neil Adams is thrilled to still be playing a part at Norwich City and has praised the 'tremendous support' the club has received during the current promotion push.
The Canaries legend is working as loans manager at Colney these days and has praised the style with which Daniel Farke and Stuart Webber have led the club to the verge of the Premier League.
Adams made 206 appearances for City between 1994 and 1999, scoring 30 goals, before working as a media pundit after retiring as a player, writing a column for the Norwich Evening News and working as co-commentator for BBC Radio Norfolk.
At the same time the former Everton and Oldham midfielder was rising through the academy coaching set-up and eventually masterminded the FA Youth Cup success of 2013, coaching players including the Murphy twins, Carlton Morris and Harry Toffolo.
That earned a shot as first team manager at the end of the 2013-14 campaign, when Chris Hughton was sacked with five games remaining, with City just five points clear of relegation trouble.
He couldn't keep the Canaries in the Premier League but did enough to get the job full-time, resigning the following January with play-off hopes slipping but returning later in 2015 as loans manager due to the high regard in which he was held by the club's hierarchy.
While he is originally from Stoke, Norfolk is very much home for Adams now.
“It's been a massive part of my career,” the 53-year-old said. “I've been here 25 years now as a player, a coach and the manager.
“I had six seasons with Norwich, in the Premier League as well as the Championship. I was a regular in the side and yes, we had challenging times, financially at one point, and then relegated from the Premier League.
“One thing hasn't changed though – they are a formidable club and the supporters here are something else.
“The biggest compliment I can say is that when they saw us relegated in 2009 the ground was still full every week with 25,000 in the third tier.
“It's a phenomenal club with tremendous support and it's exciting to see how it's being run and we just hope now that it finishes on a big high.
“Norwich is my home now, I have a family and Norwich City has been a fantastic place to be.”
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The 53-year-old has also reflected on his brief stint as a top-flight manager, which featured a daunting run of fixtures, starting with a 1-0 loss at Fulham.
Losing 3-2 to title chasing Liverpool at home and 4-0 at a Ryan Giggs inspired Manchester United, after David Moyes' exit, left City deep in trouble, and although a 0-0 at Chelsea was a good result it meant a 2-0 home loss to Arsenal on the final day meant little.
“You can imagine, it was really incredible and something I really enjoyed,” Adams continued, speaking to Stoke City's match-day programme ahead of Monday's 2-2 draw with the Canaries.
“The unfortunate thing was I only had the last five games of the season and unfortunately four of those games were Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal – certainly not an easy set of fixtures but you can't turn an opportunity like that down.
“We gave Liverpool a scare, Brendan Rodgers' team were going for the title. People will always remember that season for Steven Gerrard slipping against Chelsea.
“Liverpool beat us 3-2 at Carrow Road and I think the supporters appreciated how I set the team up to attack – that's always been my mantra and always will be.
“Then we went to Stamford Bridge and Jose Mourinho was their manager and he was also going for the title and we held them to a 0-0 draw.
“I think it was virtually 12 months to the day that we had won the FA Youth Cup (at Stamford Bridge). I was standing in the same dug-out, only this time it's not the youth coach that was 12 yards away, it's Jose Mourinho and it's the Premier League, which pretty much sums up how I felt to be Norwich manager standing next to one of the best managers there has ever been and to be pitting my wits against his.
“What gnarls me is that we should have won the game because the referee should have sent John Terry off after about 10 minutes for the most blatant penalty you've ever seen.
“We didn't get it but hey, I really enjoyed those games and it was the fight that we showed in those games that helped me to get the job in the Championship, which culminated in promotion the following season.”