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Tony Adams takes charge of Granada: How did it happen?

Tony Adams’ last managerial job was with Azerbaijani side Gabala six years ago

Arsenal legend Tony Adams has been appointed head coach of Spanish top-flight side Granada until the end of the season.

On the face of it, giving Adams – whose previous managerial experience amounts to ill-fated spells in charge of Wycombe, Portsmouth and Azerbaijani side Gabala – the task of saving La Liga’s 19th-placed club from relegation seems a strange decision.

But, as Spanish football writer Andy West explains, the appointment is a more logical one than it might first appear.

Adams a La Liga manager – how has that happened?

Adams’ managerial career
Club Tenure Reason for departure
Wycombe Wanderers 2003-04 Personal reasons
Portsmouth 2008-09 Sacked
Gabala 2010-11 Personal reasons

Although Adams’ elevation to manager of La Liga strugglers Granada looks extremely bizarre, upon closer inspection it makes a reasonable amount of sense.

Granada are owned by Chinese businessman Jiang Lizhang (often referred to as John Jiang), also the part-owner of NBA basketball team the Minnesota Timberwolves, who bought the Andalusian club last summer from Italian entrepreneur Gino Pozzo.

Adams is a vice-president of Jiang Lizhang’s DDMC Football Club Management Company, and last year he had a spell in China as sporting director for the Chinese Super League team which is owned by DDMC, Chongqing Dangdai Lifan.

After leaving China, Adams moved to Spain midway through the current season, working in a similar role for Granada with the aim of helping Jiang Lizhang construct his plans for the club’s long-term future.

So, Adams already had a strong personal involvement at Granada as the chief advisor on all footballing matters to the club’s owner.

And when the position of Granada manager Lucas Alcaraz became untenable after Sunday’s 3-1 home defeat by Valencia, in many ways Adams was the logical choice to deepen his role by becoming a part-time interim coach before, assumedly, the appointment of a long-term successor in the summer.

What kind of club is he taking over?

It’s obvious that Granada have been deeply mired in a painful ‘transitional period’ since last year’s takeover by Jiang Lizhang.

But in fact, the instability at the club goes back much further because former owner Pozzo – who is also in charge of Watford and Udinese – based his recruitment strategy upon an endless recycling of players between his three clubs.

Although that strategy helped earn Granada promotion into the top flight in 2011 and has kept them (just) in the top division ever since, it is hardly an ideal recipe for long-term success when most of your best players are either on loan from – or destined to join – one of the owner’s other clubs.

Regular changes on the bench also pre-date the Jiang Lizhang era, with Adams becoming not only the club’s third manager of the current season but also their seventh in just over three years.

Interestingly, Adams criticised the approach of the previous regime during a recent interview