As the saying goes, all good things come to an end, and the picture emerging this week is that Charlie Adam’s days at Bloomfield Road look to be numbered. In addition to press reports linking the ‘Pool skipper with a move away, the news this week of complex contract wranglings only serve to reinforce the feeling that Adam might not be wearing the tangerine shirt for much longer.
Barring his unusually poor performance at Birmingham last week, superbly analysed by BFC Blog, Adam has made the step up the Premier League level with ease. As the talisman of the side, Adam has won numerous supporters in the media, none more so than Jamie Redknapp. Concluding the Sky coverage of the 3-2 home defeat to Man City, Redknapp heaped praise on the Scottish midfielder, signalling Adam is set for a long Premier League career, even if the Seasiders are not.
This is not necessarily anything new, and most Blackpool fans would accept that failure to stay up this season would inevitably result in the loss of the captain. It now appears however that his departure could be hastened, with a move in January becoming ever more likely. The story emerging this week of a reported unpaid bonus is a damaging one for the club, especially as Adam’s is supposedly a test case, with other players ready to take action should the ruling go in Charlie’s favour. Who is right and who is wrong is not for me to decide – only the parties involved know all the facts. Quite simply though, things should never have been allowed to get to this stage, and it is another embarrassing PR failure for the club.
That the issue could not be solved internally by the club is a worry – it cannot be doing the relationship between player and employer any good whatsoever. Regardless of the outcome of the arbitration hearing on Thursday, no good can come of it. A ruling in favour of the club will surely the sour feeling among the whole squad, not just Adam. If the Premier League rule in favour of Adam, then the ramifications could be dire, with some quarters suggesting Adam’s contract could be deemed null and void, effectively enabling him to move on for nothing in the transfer window. Such a scenario seems far-fetched, but the contractual issues are not likely to persuade Adam to see out the season at Blackpool with a big money move on the cards in January.
Should Adam leave in January, he will do so with the thanks of every single Blackpool fan, who surely recognise that he was the major key in the last season’s promotion. It should not however be assumed that everything will go to pot without him. In recent years many influential players have moved on, only to be replaced with new heroes. A like-for-like replacement for Charlie is hard to imagine, but there are several players waiting in the wings, such as Ludovic Sylvestre and Chris Basham, who will be looking to prove their worth.
If Adam stays, then it will be a massive boost for the rest of the campaign, but with the vultures circling, I rather suspect we might have to get used to playing without him. If injury keeps him out against West Brom tomorrow, it will be a good test of how the Seasiders will cope post-Adam.