Tony Adams rejected Man Utd with Arsenal legend being "too scared" to move
Arsenal legend Tony Adams has revealed that he twice turned down the chance to join Manchester United during his 19-year career in north London.
Adams is Arsenal born and bred, having come through the club's academy and spent his entire playing career at Highbury from 1983 to 2002.
The centre-back made 669 appearances in total for the Gunners, the second most of any player, behind only David O'Leary, who holds the record with an incredible 722.
He was captain of Arsenal for 14 years and helped the club win 10 major trophies in three different decades under two iconic managers in George Graham and Arsene Wenger.
But things could have turned out very differently indeed had Adams agreed to join Manchester United, an opportunity that arose on two separate occasions.
"The first [offer] was in 1990 and I was too young and too scared off the pitch," Adams revealed
"I was a completely different character on the pitch: I felt comfortable, I felt confident, I did my job.
"But off the pitch, I was scared to death, I didn't know what to do, how to live and emotionally I wasn't conscious. I know I was drinking too much.
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"I felt that London was my home, and I couldn't for the life of me have lived in Manchester. I turned him down and I turned down a pay increase of £15,000-a-year."
Adams has always been very open and up front about his struggles with alcoholism and drug addiction and he has since founded the Sporting Chance clinic for those grappling with addiction.
By 1996 the defender had overcome his alcohol problem, but Arsenal were in poor shape on the pitch, having failed to win the league title for five seasons.
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That was when Adams had another chance to move to Old Trafford.
"I went to Peter Hillwood, who was the chairman of the club, and was completely open with him about the offer," Adams added
"I asked, ‘what's the ambition of the club?’ You’d never hear of that today, a player speaking with the owner of the club and going, ‘hold on a minute, do we want to win the league or not, because if we don't want to win the league, I’m out of here. I love the club, dearly. I don’t want to go anywhere but what are you doing?’"
Adams decided to stick rather and twist and the arrival of Wenger as the club's new manager, as well as an overhaul of the playing staff, helped the Gunners challenge for trophies once more.
"My salary got trebled as well," Adams said. "Let's be honest – a trebled salary, we want to win the league and we have all these good players coming, so I said, ‘alright I will give it a roll, I’ll see what happens’."
His decision to stay paid off in spades as Arsenal won the league and FA Cup double in both the 1997-98 and 2001-02 campaigns, with the latter season being his final one as a professional.
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