Adams seen as small beer by Mr Happy Hour:THAT WAS THE WEEKEND THAT WAS

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It was always going to be an emotional moment. Eight months after his last League game for Arsenal, his first senior action since Euro 96 - and, most importantly, his first appearance in full public glare since that confession.

But none of it would have been necessary if Tony Adams had turned to another old London pro for advice, rather than rushing to contact Alcoholics Anonymous. Had he instead telephoned that paragon of temperance, Alan Hudson, the repentant England skipper might have taken an entirely different road.

In his weekend column in the Stoke Sentinel, the one- time prince of the King's Road proclaimed: "You should not feel bad about living life to the full. If you play with passion, you should be able to live that way - to celebrate success, and try to forget the disappointments. My message to Tony is to go out and enjoy it."

In any case, Hudson points out, Adams is strictly "little league" when it comes to drawing on the game's well of pleasures. "When I left the bright lights of London," he reminisces, "I found that the social scene at Stoke was superb. Tony Adams would not have got in the team, for drinking or for football."

What's more, real players, he assures us, can handle it. "I had the pleasure," he continues, "of being in Pele's company on more than one occasion. And if there were a World XI drinking team, he would have the No 10 shirt."

Feeling better, Tony?