Turning down United

Gunners legend explains why he never wanted to leave Arsenal

Last Updated: 23/09/12 2:46pm

Tony Adams told Goals on Sunday why he twice snubbed offers to join Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

The former England defender was a one-club man during his playing days making 669 appearances for Arsenal, winning four league titles and three FA Cups.

His achievements have recently been recognised with a statue at the Emirates Stadium, but he told Ben Shephard and Chris Kamara how Ferguson twice tried to tempt him to Old Trafford.

He explained the first offer came too early in his career and when United came in for him on a second occasion in 1996 he was persuaded to stay at Highbury.

"Alex came in twice," Adams said.

"The second time was 1996 when the club was in a tricky situation. We hadn't got a manager at the time and I'd just got sober. I'd sobered up and was leading quite a decent life.

"We hadn't won a trophy for 18 months at that point and I was kind of questioning their ambition. Luckily enough David Dein and Daniel Fiszman came into the club then and injected some cash into the club.

"They said they wanted to win things. Dennis Bergkamp came over, David Platt joined the club and they said this was a club with ambition.

"[The first time] Bryan Robson came to me and I think I was on £75,000 a year and he was offering me £90,000 to go up to Old Trafford.

"At that time I was a London boy and I was probably a bit scared in those days as well. There was a bit of fear and I was very comfortable at Arsenal.

"My life off the pitch wasn't particularly great at that moment in time and change was probably a bit scary."


Adams says it is rare for players to spend an entire career at one club these days and suspects his appearance record at Arsenal is unlikely to be matched.

But he said there was rarely a thought in his mind that he might leave his hometown club.

"It's a very special football club," he said.

"It's a big club and I didn't feel the need to go anywhere else. They were very ambitious and wanted to win things and I was getting paid very well, so why go anywhere else?

"I'm a London boy and I couldn't see any other club in the world bigger than the Arsenal."