Cooney and Black

Derek Adams is direct, aggressive and purposeful. Now he’s inhabiting a footballing wasteland. It’ll be a crying shame if he never gets another chance


“I enjoy working here. I’m able to do what I want by running a club and I know I’ll not get that at many places. It’s like David Moyes at Everton. He’s been able to move that club on for the last 10 years and make them what they are.” – Derek Adams.
IT’S early March, 2013. Derek Adams has just been named SPL manager of the Month for February, and there isn’t so much as a whisper linking David Moyes to the soon-to-be-vacant hot seat at Old Trafford.

Adams has, however, compared his upheaval at the diminutive Ross County to that of the work his fellow Scot Moyes has done at Everton. It’s a claim comfortably within his authority, too.

County are stretching for a top six spot in the league table, a spot they do eventually consolidate, and have just picked up 14 points out of a possible 18 in the SPL. It’s the furthest up the league ladder County have been.

At the start of his initial reign, County were a struggling Second Division team. When he departed for the assistant manager’s position at Hibernian, they were a healthily placed First Division club, with a Scottish Cup final defeat to boot – a gargantuan achievement considering the exiguous resources at the club.

Upon his return, they climbed further up the Scottish football tree, and reached the promised land that is the SPL. History had been made.

But with success comes pressure, or so the aphorism goes, and minus the top six finish, things have never really improved for County, or Adams.
And that’s where the analogy of himself and Moyes rather abruptly ends, for a brief period at least.

When Moyes failed at Old Trafford somewhat spectacularly, he was consigned to a footballing wasteland, a young manager with an abundance of promise but with a CV disfigured by 10 months of failure.

Adams never made that move to a bigger club, a move to enhance his credentials. Aberdeen initially came calling, with vice-chairman George Yule a huge admirer of his talents, but it’s claimed the deal fell through due to Adams’ demands for a bigger backroom staff. The commission ultimately fell into the gleeful hands of Derek McInnes. Adams now inhabits the same wasteland as Moyes.

Their next option is unclear: there appears to be no purpose or direction in their career course; they are distanced from the rumours and murmurs that had once seen them linked with – and given, in Moyes’ case – the top jobs.

Adams’ ship has sailed for the moment. However, he is indeed a capable manager. There will be options. The question is where? Where does a manager with such evident capabilities go?

As stated by our introductory quote, this is a man who likes to be in charge. Does this then indicate a step down a level? His glory days did come when County were outside the top division.

It’s a level which suits Adams and his approach. Direct, aggressive, purposeful – all characteristics which befit the more dogged nature of what is now the SPFL.

The next job isn’t likely to be a short one either, for his style to work. He needs time and patience to implement this: it won’t be a short-stop saloon.

A change of scenery may indeed be his chance to regain the reputation and earn his chance at a bigger club again. He turned County’s fortunes around, so there’s nothing to indicate he can’t do this to another side from outside the top division.

Adams will come again. He just has to return to square one. He compared himself to Moyes, but where Moyes failed at the top club, Adams was never given a chance. For a young manager of such promise, it will be a crying shame if he is never able to do that.


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