Fiszman was real reason Arsenal did so well, says Adams

Former Gunners stalwart explains why money always counts when it comes to winning titles

As Arsenal continue the search for a dominating central defender, one of their best was back in north London last week when Gabala FC played Barnet. Tony Adams, the Gunners' former captain, has been managing the Azerbaijan team for a year, the latest step on a career path he hopes will lead him back to Arsenal one day as successor to Arsène Wenger.

While Adams' attention is fixed on building a club in the former Soviet republic, Arsenal remain close to his heart. He notes that among the most significant changes since his previous visit has been the death in April of Danny Fiszman, the diamond merchant who joined the board in 1992 and helped finance Wenger's Double-winning teams of 1998 and 2002.

Those calling for more spending on the current team will be interested to learn how highly Adams rated Fiszman's contribution. "I think that a significant factor, 90 per cent, in why we achieved so much is that Danny Fiszman invested £50m in the club and we were able to go to the next level," he said. "I got my first decent contract at the club, so did David Seaman, we were able to bring in Dennis Bergkamp – and that was before Arsène arrived – David Platt, Patrick Vieira, Nicolas Anelka, and were able to pay them – top players from around the world.

"I'd like to feel that a good manager can get the best out of those players once you've got them, but more often than not, if you've got the best players you win the League," he added. "And more important than that, if you've got the best defensive record you win the League. Fact."

That view will chime with Arsenal's fans, for whom improving the defence is a priority, but Wenger's loyalty to his young players often seems immutable. "I can understand his philosophy," Adams said. "That's the man he is, and I respect his beliefs and standards." Completely? "If I was playing for Arsenal Football Club, I would want to win the League. And I'm sure he does, and I think he believes that he can."

Adams is searching for his own identity as a manager after a year at Wycombe and four months in charge of Portsmouth that amounted mainly to fire-fighting. "Arsène is an exceptional physiologist. As a tracksuit coach, out on the training ground, I loved Terry Venables. Harry Redknapp was a fantastic man-manager. They have influenced me, but I'm developing a Tony Adams style."

That development will continue at Gabala for at least two more years, after which a spell in charge of a European club, perhaps in Holland, is in his sights. But he has no plans to be an assistant again. Well, almost none. "Under Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid maybe?" he muses. "It might be an interesting experience. As a career move it would have to be something that enhances my development and I don't feel that's my next thing."

Adams is unconcerned that, at 44, he is 11 years older than new Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas. "He's been 17 years in the coaching game. I'm only nine years down that line. He's far in front of me. I went and saw Mourinho last year and he said to me: 'Listen, I had 10 years watching [Louis] van Gaal, watching Bobby Robson. You've got to learn your trade'. You could do that here a few years ago, but they're not giving people time. The average tenure has gone down to 1.3 years. So where do you develop? My path is in Azerbaijan."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'