SHERIDAN DICTATES: LEEDS UNITED NOSTALGIA

MICKY ADAMS

Micky Adams' stay at Elland Road was relatively brief but the popular left sided player will always be remembered for a stunning goal on a Sunday afternoon in Wigan which helped Leeds United into the semi final of the FA Cup in 1987.

Born in Sheffield, Micky was a Blade but would often go to Elland Road on the odd occasion to watch one of his childhood heroes, Tony Currie, following his move to West Yorkshire.

His own career started with Gillingham where he won caps for England Youth before a move to Coventry City in 1983. Four years later, in January 1987, Micky Adams signed for Leeds United:

“The move came out of the blue to be honest. I wasn’t a first team regular at Highfield Road and when Billy Bremner came in for me it was an ideal opportunity. My family were still in Sheffield and luckily Coventry had not played me in the FA Cup third round so I was free to play in the competition for Leeds United."

Adams made his Leeds debut on 24th January 1987 in a goalless draw at home to Blackburn Rovers, incidentally John Pearson made his debut in the same match:

“I hit the ground running at Leeds, I was raring to go and there were a few other new faces at the club. Billy had spent the money he received when he sold Ian Snodin to Everton and we really started to gather momentum in the league and of course, the FA Cup."

On 10th March 1987, Micky scored his first Leeds goal in a 1-1 draw on the south coast at Portsmouth, just days before the cup quarter final at Springfield Park against Wigan Athletic, who were then in the old Third Division

“That day at Wigan was brilliant, John Stiles and I were the unlikely goalscorers but the lads dug in and we got the win when the nation was waiting for us to slip up and be the victims of what would have been a cup shock.

"It was fantastic to draw my old club Coventry City in the semi-final and we were very positive going into the game. The Leeds fans, as always, were unbelievable that day and made all the noise inside Hillsborough.

"We took the lead through Dave Rennie and big Steve Ogrizovic then denied us with three great saves before Coventry had even got going.”

It was tough on Leeds who would eventually lose 3-2 after extra time and an error of judgement from captain Brendon Ormsby:

“Whenever I see Brendon, I always give him a bit of stick for that mistake but seriously he was a great lad and it was unfortunate, especially after his winner against Queens Park Rangers in the fifth round.”

Leeds had to stay focused and following the heartbreak at Hillsborough, the league was priority and the aim was to win enough points to qualify for the newly introduced end of season play offs:

“Billy was a great man manager and he wouldn’t let us feel sorry for ourselves. He gave us the confidence to keep going and that’s what we did."

Just two days after the defeat to Coventry, Leeds were back in action and a 2-0 win at Shrewsbury Town raised the spirits and Leeds went from strength to strength:

“Due to our cup run we had a fixture pile up and had to play five games in 11 days, we got on with it and we picked up enough points to ensure we finished fourth and would play Oldham Athletic over two legs.”

The games were tense affairs and thanks to very late goals in both legs from Keith Edwards, Leeds were through to the final to face First Division outfit Charlton Athletic:

“To be honest, the Charlton games were poor; there was so much at stake. In the replay at St Andrews when Shez scored, I thought we were up and then bang, bang, Peter Shirtliff scores two late headers and we are beaten."

Leeds remained in the second tier and much was expected the following season. Micky Adams missed only four league games but the Whites missed out on another crack at the play offs when they finished seventh:

“It was disappointing and for some reason Billy changed the style and went to three centre backs, I’m not sure why but that’s what he did and it took us a while to get going. Also, goals were hard to come by in the early part of the campaign.”

The following season saw the board lose patience with Billy Bremner, he was sacked after a poor start and replaced by Howard Wilkinson who would transform the clubs fortunes:

“Things were very different under Wilko, longer hours on the training ground and much more fitness work. The lads, as a result, were stronger and much more organised but unfortunately I got off to a bad start when Howard arrived after a fall out with the physiotherapist Alan Sutton."

It was November when Micky first featured under the new manager, coming on as sub in a 0-0 draw at Birmingham City and he would feature just six more times for Leeds before a surprise move back to the first division when he joined Southampton in a deal worth a quarter of a million quid."

“I was shocked to be sold, I had signed a new contract the week before and I was back in the team.”

After five years at Southampton, Adams was loaned out to Stoke City before joining Fulham where he eventually became player-manager. Brief spells followed in charge of Swansea and Brentford before taking a coaching role at Nottingham Forest. After managing Brighton, where he won the Third Division title, he moved to Leicester, initially as a coach, and won promotion to the Premier League.

Micky’s career took him to Coventry, a return to Brighton, Port Vale and Sheffield United. Micky returned to Port Vale and this season took the club into League One. A remarkable achievement following the off the field problems in recent times at Vale Park.

Micky looks back on his time at Elland Road with fond memories and admits that unless you have played for Leeds you don’t realise how much the club means to the fans and he will never forget that goal at Springfield Park.

Thank you to Micky Adams for his time and giving me the opportunity to write this article.

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