So, right at the last minute Blackpool refused Charlie Adam his dream move to Liverpool and by doing so have probably shot themselves in the foot, so to speak, given Adam’s open desire to leave. Liverpool were themselves the subject of a hostile bid by Roman’s millions attempting to secure their own star man Fernando Torres, yet possibly, by releasing him, have ended up standing taller than before, probably stronger and certainly with no foot wounds to show.
The logic of accepting Chelsea’s advances, coupled with the desires of the player himself, followed the idea that it was better to make a difficult business decision now, with a guaranteed return from the sale, than to hold onto someone who no longer carried the same vision. Doubtless, Torres remaining would have affected the others in the squad and potentially damaged the ethic that is now beginning to galvanise the team. Blackpool’s owner, Karl Oyston has, by appearing to stubbornly resist the same logic, forced his star man to remain where he does not want to be. Oyston states that Liverpool’s offer was “nowhere near acceptable”, yet it should not be forgotten that value is only measured by what someone is prepared to pay, and coaxing more value out of his reluctant asset in the coming months will be a test of his standpoint.
A few years ago I was contacted by a company dealing in private registrations offering me £450 for my car’s number plate, apparently with a buyer in place. I logically concluded that if they were offering me that then its value was surely greater, and decided to hold onto it with an eye to sell it later at a higher price. When it came time to sell the car I could not have been more wrong and regretted not cashing in my chips at the time. There is something about this experience that connects with what has happened in Adam’s case.
Perhaps it was felt that, since suitors for Adam had come calling as quickly as they did, his value was greater than would be worth realising immediately. This seemed to be the case initially when the first tentative offers were thrown into the ring to test Blackpool’s resolve. There was the public posturing taken by Ian Holloway, defying those with deep pockets to return with more ‘realistic’ offers for their coveted possession. This was the exact and expected response from such a passionate and principled manager. Still, he gave the impression that money could talk – the right money anyway. However, the last-minute retreat by the owner into holding onto Adam now seems to suggest a train of thought that points to releasing him in the summer for an imagined higher price. The risk with this is that potential suitors have moved on in their own thinking by then, or will use the knowledge that they’re bidding for an unhappy player to drive the price down. It also indicates a disregard for Adam’s personal feelings. Not only that but the team is asked to carry a member who has made it clear he would be somewhere else and the sense of togetherness is eroded. Supporters, too, recognise when a player is no longer ‘with them’ and somehow the connection is lost.
And what about Charlie Adam himself? Is he able to return to the fold in the same way as before? As adults there must surely be a place of middle ground in accepting differences, but reports suggest he has clearly shown his disgust at the stubborn treatment he has allegedly received and the after-taste of this won’t be sweetened easily. What happens will be down to his own application in the situation, and perhaps in the summer window he will realise his wish to leave The Mansion for a Garden of Eden, but the family values will never be the same.