MICKY Adams has been involved in a 40-year romance with Sheffield United and his heart has been broken along the way. Now, following his appointment as the club's new manager, Adams has found his way back to the arms of his true footballing love.
Born in Sheffield, and a lifelong supporter of the Blades, Adams regularly stood on the Bramall Lane terraces and worshipped his heroes in red and white stripes – yet his dream of following in their footsteps never came true.
A promising young winger, he spent five years with the club on schoolboy forms but was released at the age of 17 by manager Harry Haslam.
For some, that blow might have signalled the end of a career
before it had even started – but not Adams.
Now, some 32 years after that setback, he has returned – as the club's manager – armed with a CV that suggests he is suitably equipped for the task which lies ahead.
Whether it be saving a club from relegation or taking them forward on a shoestring budget, Tinsley-born Adams has done it before.
Over the last 18 months, he has revived the fortunes of Port Vale who currently sit second in League Two after narrowly missing out on play-off qualification last season.
His next challenge is to avert the threat of a relegation from the Championship.
Adams has clocked up 10 jobs during a managerial journey that started nearly 15 years ago with Fulham. His playing career had included spells with Gillingham, Coventry, Leeds United and Southampton.
When Adams took over at Fulham, another of his former clubs, they were in serious danger of relegation from the Football League. He secured the club's survival before winning promotion the following season. His reward was the sack.
Adams made a swift return to management with Swansea City in October 1997 but quit after 13 days due to broken promises. He spent eight months at Brentford and left after failing to save the club from relegation.
Following a short spell as assistant to Dave Bassett at Nottingham Forest, he returned to management with Brighton in April 1999 and shone again.
The Seagulls were in financial crisis but won the Division Three title. Adams also had his side on course for the Division Two title but opted to link up again with Bassett at Leicester City in the
Bassett moved upstairs following relegation and Adams masterminded an immediate return to the top flight. The Foxes lasted just one season back at the top and Adams quit after a poor start to the 2004-05 campaign
In January 2005, Adams took over at Coventry but his two-year spell – which included an eighth place finish in the Championship – failed to satisfy the demands of the supporters.
He briefly popped up as Colchester United's assistant
before returning for a second spell at Brighton.
By his own admission, that proved to be a 'mistake' and the two parties split nine months later. His work at Port Vale has reminded people of his managerial talent.
Now he has a second chance to prove his worth to the Blades.