Two years after Walter Smith deemed him surplus to requirements and not good enough for Rangers, Charlie Adam lit up the English Premier League with his performances for Ian Holloway’s Blackpool side. A side that brought attacking football from the Championship into the EPL and never changed their philosophy, earning them plaudits and thousands of new fans. However with the weekend’s defeat to Manchester United consigning Blackpool to the Championship, Charlie Adams’ time at Blackpool is set to come to an end, with the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson a keen admirer of his fellow Scotsman.
A 11th hour move to Tottenham fell through in the January Transfer window as time ran out to strike up a deal between the clubs and Adam. And with the added pressure and exposure on him, Adam’s form dipped which signalled a drop in Blackpool’s fortunes also. So it could be argued that with Adam’s departing, Blackpool will find it difficult to return to the bright lights of the Premier League and will forever be a lower league club.
Despite the team’s performances this season, Blackpool are evidently a one man band and without Adam they have lost the man that makes them tick. He is Blackpool’s Steven Gerrard.
So what next for Charlie Adam? The likes of Tottenham, Everton, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Manchester United have all been linked with the midfielder in recent months and those rumblings on the transfer front have not died down any. And it is a matter of when rather than if Charlie will move on, back to the English Premier League, for at least twenty times what Blackpool paid for him.
With the overinflated transfer fees in the English game, Charlie Adam could go for around £10-£15 million this summer, a healthy sum for Blackpool who only paid Rangers £500,000 for him in January 2008. Rangers will see 10% of any transfer fee thanks to a sell-on clause. But it could have been a hell of a lot more.
At the age of 16, he was labelled a hot prospect by then Rangers manager Alex McLeish, and gave him his debut against Livingston in 2004, replacing Ronald de Boer.
However he was sent out on loan to Ross County and then to St.Mirren to gain valuable first team experience, and when he returned to Rangers he was shunted out to the left-wing when he did play.
Despite having the talent and the eye for goal, not to mention the long ball pass at his disposal, Adam attracted the wrath of the Rangers support. Receiving so much stick from his own fans, that his father – a diehard Rangers fan – stopped going to the games.
He was given a short reprieve under Frenchman Paul Le Guen, but it wouldn’t last long – but longer than Le Guen did at Ibrox.
In January 2007, Walter Smith returned to Ibrox for his second spell as manager, and despite playing 32 times the following season for Rangers, including both legs against Barcelona and on the bench against Zenit St. Petersburg in the 2008 UEFA Cup Final, his time at Ibrox was coming to an end. And just a year after Walter Smith returned to the club, he sent Charlie Adam packing.
His final game being the 1-0 home defeat to rivals Celtic in front of 50,000 fans. Six weeks later he was playing in front of just 7,000 fans at Bloomfield Road. Two years later his price tag jumped from £500,000 to around £10,000,000. A steal in the eyes of Blackpool Football Club.
Adam’s sale is similar that of Gennaro Gattuso who was sold to Serie A club Salernitana for £4 million by then Rangers manager Dick Advocaat, only to make the move to AC Milan soon after, and whose price tag at the peak of his AC Milan days was around £20 million, if not more.
Dundee United manager and Scotland assistant Peter Houston is an admirer of the former Rangers man. At the Scotland team’s Press Conference at Mar Hall on Monday morning, ahead of the Carling Nations Cup, Houston stated: “Charlie’s stock has risen so much. He had a magnificent season in the Championship, that got him a bit of notice, but there was always a question if he could make the step up to the Premiership. I think he’s one of the most talked about Scottish players for quite a while.”
“He started spraying balls about and scoring magnificent goals. He can look back chuffed with himself. I think he still might well be in the Premiership next season – Blackpool might have to sell him anyway. He’s gone down to England, started in the Championship, and maybe realised he’s that good a player. His passing ability has been second to none.
“Most weeks he’s stood out for scoring a magnificent goal or sending 70-yard rakers right to the toe of a team-mate. The English think they’ve got the best players, but it just shows you a boy from Scotland can do the business as well.”
So in a two-year period Charlie Adam has gone from surplus to requirements for an SPL club to one of British Football’s top players and highly sought after. As well as securing a nomination for PFA Player of the Year. Not bad for the kid from Dundee.
At the age of 25, Adam has at least five more years ahead of himself, if not more, and while Rangers have lost out on this prodigious talent, Scotland thankfully will not. For Blackpool, they will almost certainly cash in on him during the summer, and use the funds to invest in the side hoping to return to the EPL at the first time of asking. However without the heart of the team Ian Holloway’s side will stagnate in the Championship.