CASH-STRAPPED Weymouth Football Club have turned down the chance to bring
former Arsenal and England legend Tony Adams to the Wessex Stadium.
The retired defender was to become the Terras’ new soccer consultant as part of a takeover bid spearheaded by resort-born author and sports journalist Ian Ridley, who co-wrote his acclaimed biography Addicted.
But the sensational plans were last night scuppered when directors threw out the rescue package involving a three-man consortium injecting more than £100,000 into the club.
Ex Gunner Adams had agreed to help train the struggling Dr Martens Premier Division outfit on a voluntary basis and carry out match day duties at Radipole Lane.
The deal would have also seen Terras fan Mr Ridley succeed Terry Bennett as club chairman, director Peter Shaw ousted and a new unnamed manager brought in to replace current boss Geoff Butler.
Mr Ridley refused to reveal the identity of his two co-backers, although Terras directors have indicated that one was former Weymouth player Steve Claridge, whose biography Tales from the Boot Camps was also penned by the 47-year-old Observer Football correspondent and Sky Sports pundit.
A disappointed Mr Ridley said: “I am sad because I think it was a real opportunity for change and progress.
“The time is right for change and if it couldn’t happen now I despair of it happening under this present regime. I don’t really know where I go from here.
“Tony Adams is studying for a sports science degree at Brunel University and has turned down six management jobs in recent times. I spoke to him not long before putting the proposals to the Weymouth directors and he was excited about the board meeting and getting involved with the club.”
Mr Adams, who won 66 caps for his country and captained Arsenal to both Premiership and FA Cup success, told the Echo he was ‘saddened’ by the decision.
He added: “I’m sad that this plan hasn’t worked out. I was looking forward to helping Ian turn Weymouth around. I think he would have been unlike any other football club chairman.”
Terras director Mick Archer expressed the Board’s ‘admiration’ for Mr Adams, but questioned his ‘knowledge’ of the non-League game.
“There are lots of reasons why we have turned down this opportunity”, he explained. “At the end of the day we are a bunch of hard working and committed businessmen who run a struggling non-League football club on honesty and trust and that’s worth much more than a big name.
“It’s a different world down here to what he’s been used to and there’s no guarantee that it would have worked out. We’ve tried it before at Weymouth with Neil Webb and that wasn’t exactly a success.
“As a player, we have great respect and admiration for Tony Adams but it’s going to take more than big names to solve the problems at ours and hundreds of other struggling semi-professional clubs.”