Let’s just say that when he arrives in Dublin on Scotland duty he won’t be trying to seek out the Irish gambler who made headlines yesterday for scooping £40,000. The bet? Several months ago the punter reckoned Blackpool would be relegated.
In the final minutes of the season they were, of course. That didn’t do much for Adam’s mood when he reported for international duty yesterday. Team-mates Matt Gilks and Stephen Crainey accompanied him on the journey north but somehow Blackpool’s rise and fall seems inextricably wrapped up in the story of just one player: Adam.
He has been their on-field talisman all season, the only man around the place with a presence and influence comparable to that of their irrepressible manager, Ian Holloway. Often it felt as though Blackpool were only good when Adam was.
If he carried them, has the time come to softly lay them down and walk away? The club may be in the npower Championship next season but few believe he’ll take the drop with them. Even Holloway admitted his scepticism: “I might have been able to offer Charlie a new contract and persuade him to stay [if they had avoided relegation]. What’s going to happen with him?”
What indeed? It wouldn’t have been much fun being a football writer on The Blackpool Gazette yesterday. One of the main stories was: “Manchester United have been made the bookies’ favourites to sign Charlie Adam in the summer.”
Whether it’s United, either of the two heavyweights who tried to sign him in January -- Liverpool or Tottenham Hotspur -- or someone else, it is just about inconceivable that Adam will be still at Blackool when the club starts in a division with Barnsley, Doncaster and Brighton.
Adam has been too good, too prominent and too influential to play anywhere other than the Barclays Premier League. That may remain a source of mild embarrassment to Walter Smith and Rangers, who let him leave for £500,000 in 2009, but Adam has outgrown his history. It’s no longer about the fact he struggled to hold down a place at Rangers; now it’s about how big a club he might join in the Premier League.
He has been one of the players of the season down there, being showered with all sorts of praise and shortlisted for the PFA Player of the Year award. Holloway said he was worth £45m to the club (i.e. the price of Premier League survival) although a little more realistically the club apparently would have sold him for £16m in January.
Sir Alex Ferguson quipped that his corners alone were worth £10m. He started 34 of their compelling 38-game league campaign, scoring 12 times and making eight goals for others. He was Mr Blackpool, but there’s next to no chance of him seeing out the final year of his contract.
International coaches are careful not to be seen to be sticking their noses into club affairs when they talk about players ahead of qualifying games or friendlies, but Peter Houston, the Scotland assistant manager, merely stated the obvious when invited to discuss Adam’s immediate future yesterday. He was more interested in highlighting Adam’s impact than concentrating on the disappointment of being a part of a relegated club.
“The type of person Charlie is, he’ll be very, very disappointed but he can look back on a magnificent season when the whole of England has been talking about him,” said Houston. “It might well be that Charlie, with his own performances, has won a move to another Premier League club. He will be disappointed that he’s been part of a team that went down but we’ll have a wee chat with him. He’s a bubbly character once you get to know him.
“I think he is one of the most talked-about individuals we’ve seen in Scottish football for years. People who didn’t know an awful lot about Charlie suddenly saw him spraying balls around and scoring magnificent goals. He can be chuffed when he looks back.
“I didn’t really know him before coming to work with Scotland. But his attitude has to be spot-on to play in the English Premier League. He went down to England and started well with Blackpool. Maybe that made him realise what a good player he was. He was maybe getting a wee bit more room and when he has that his passing is second to none. When I watch English football on a Saturday night, most weeks he seems to be scoring a magnificent goal or hitting 70-yard raking pass right to the guy he’s trying to find. He gets so many plaudits. Sometimes the English think they have the best players but it just shows you that a boy from Scotland, a boy from Dundee actually, can do the business as well.”
The next business to be done surely will be his transfer. Blackpool will make enormous profit on him and so will Rangers, who will receive 10% of any fee over £500,000. The Blackpool story was about romance but now it’s cold economics: an auction between bigger clubs chasing their captain would suit them down to the ground.