The sign above the players' tunnel at Leicester City bears the legend, "Foxes never quit." The irony was not lost on Micky Adams as he walked by it yesterday, given that he was about to explain to an inquisitive media why he had decided to resign as manager after three years in the job. But there was no shame.
Indeed, Adams, who took Leicester to the Premiership two years ago despite the constraints of administration, clearly believes it was the best way to uphold the personal honour that he cherishes and give his team, who were relegated last season, the best chance of returning to the top flight at the first attempt despite a disappointing start to the campaign.
Twelfth in the Championship table and only four points behind the top six, Leicester are hardly in trouble. But fans have voiced their disapproval after recent performances at the Walkers Stadium, where City have won only one game in six, and Adams has been affected.
"I'd like to thank the fans who have supported me," he said. "My record overall, certainly at First Division level, is as good as anyone's but as a manager you are judged 80 per cent of the time by your home form."
Leicester lost their recent Carling Cup tie with Preston in extra time after leading 2-1 in stoppage time. "That was probably the straw that broke the camel's back," Adams said. "I was ready to resign straightaway but the board tried to persuade me to stay. But having had time to reflect I have not changed my mind. Perhaps I've been passing on a little of my anxiety to the players and me going might let them take the shackles off."
There was a revelation also that the strains of the last two years at the club, paralysed by administration and then rocked by the La Manga affair, had taken their toll. As many as nine players were arrested when sexual assault allegations made against players on a mid-season break at the Spanish resort. Three, Paul Dickov, Keith Gillespie and Frank Sinclair, were kept in prison for more than a week. All charges were dropped.
"It was a horrible time," Adams said. "I had to put a brave front on things and try to kid people that we would come through it unscathed. But we didn't. It affected the football club and the players involved and took its toll on me. Maybe I should have gone then."
Dave Bassett, Leicester's director of football and the man who hired Adams, will take charge of team affairs before Saturday's trip to Coventry, while helping to find a successor. "We will take our time to get the right man," Bassett said.
Adams, having turned down Leeds and Ipswich to stay at Leicester, is keen to make an early return but yearns for a quieter life. "I'm ready to go again and put my reputation to the test but wouldn't it be great to go to a club that's boring, where nothing happens?"
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