The Force is with Adamson

Friday 12th August 2011

Dumbarton manager Alan Adamson never made his name in the senior game, although he certainly did in the ranks of football players in the Police Force throughout Great Britain, and whilst he may not be a well-established name in Scottish Football he is certainly grabbing attention in an arresting way.

Dumbarton Manager, Alan AdamsonAdamson talked through his football history saying, “I started out as a 17-year-old at Airdrie under the great Iain McMillan. He had played with Rangers and was nicknamed ‘The Wee Prime Minister’. Sandy Clark was there as a youngster as well and Airdrie had a right good side then.”

“Paul Jonquin, Derek Whiteford and Kevin McCann were all there we were a mid-table side in the Old style First Division and made it to the Scottish Cup Final in 1975 against Celtic. I think the entire town went to that game.”

The Strathclyde Homes Stadium boss never got to establish himself as a Diamond as he said, “I was released aged 19 and took the decision to join the Police. I ended being involved in football probably more than I would have if I had been kept on at Broomfield. The Police were big into their sport at the time and I went straight into a side and ended up playing sometimes up to 3 times a week.”

“I also played Junior and picked up two international caps for Scotland in the early 1980’s which was a great honour. I was an attacking midfielder and played for a few clubs and I probably went to the highest bidder every season, having started off at Shotts and ended aged 35 at Lanark.”

Whilst the playing trips around the Junior grounds of the West of Scotland may not have seen too many postcards sent home, the trips for the Police Force team certainly did, especially when he got involved in playing and then managing the national side.

Adamson said, “Clubs like to have a good relationship with the Police and that would see us playing at some top grounds. I played at Manchester City’s old ground of Maine Road, Old Trafford and also Upton Park as well as most of the grounds in Scotland. There was never many people there but you could close your eyes and easily imagine how great it would have been to have tens of thousands there watching you.”

“I played and managed at a European level as well and that would be set up the same way as the professional’s competition with the teams in groups of four. That took me to Utrecht’s stadium in Holland and Nantes in France so you could see being a footballing policeman was a great job.”

The police also invested in Adamson as he explained, “When I was given up playing they paid for me to go through my coaching badges at Largs with a view to taking the Scotland and Great Britain managerial jobs. That is how things turned out and I used to run both teams out of a wee office in Lanarkshire and I even kept on doing it after I had retired from duty as a Police Officer.”

“Managing the British side was great as it was full of players who could have been professionals had they not made the decision to have a career in the Police. In England most of them were players at a Conference Level and the Metropolitan Police had a team in the Ryman League and that shows you the standard of players we had available.”

Things have changed for Police football now with Adamson saying, “When I was involved the standard of the National Police Team was as good as Second Division football but things have changed since then.”

“Roland Fabiani, who played for St. Mirren and Dumbarton, was my captain for the Scottish side and manages them now but the Police team is not as strong. When I played it was a perk as you did it in police time and now players have to give up their own time to do so. Tournaments down south now involve using days off, so you cannot get the same level of playing commitment as a result. That is the way of things nowadays I suppose.”

One other change has seen the likes of Paul Stewart able to return to playing with Queen’s Park after spending a year out establishing a career in the Police with Adamson saying, “When I was in the police and still playing I think it was 6 seasons in a row I asked if I could play for Queen’s Park. There was a ban in place about playing professionally however, with Queen’s being amateurs I thought it would be okay but it was never allowed. I am glad to see Paul getting a chance to do both.”

After leaving the police Adamson began working with South Lanarkshire Council and that move opened the door for him to begin a new career in the SFL as he explained, “Jim Chapman was also there at the time and when he became the manager of Albion Rovers he asked me to come in with him there. We had a couple of good seasons there however there was a parting of the ways in 2007.”

“I was asked to take over the side at that time but I thought I should leave with Jim as I knew he would get another job. He got the job at Dumbarton and within 18 months we were promoted.”

The duo were split up last Autumn when Chapman was moved into a Youth and Community role and this time Adamson felt it was right to step in this time.

Adamson said, “Things went a wee bit awry last season. Jim and I had different opinions on players and these things happen. I was asked to take over the running of the First Team and this time I said I would.”

“I was also asked to keep us in the Second Division which looked like a tough ask as we had 4 points from our first 10 games come October.”

Jimmy BoyleBy this time Adamson had become a better known face in the SFL despite never having played a senior game as he explained, “I had got to know most of the managers when they popped in for a chat with Jim after a game. I had got to know John Coughlin well as we were in the same divisions for so long and assistant managers tend to speak to assistant managers so Jimmy Boyle was another manager that I knew well and he had a similar route to his job.”

The new Sons boss won his first game in charge as East Fife were defeated 4-1 however, they stayed in bottom spot with Adamson saying, “I made some subtle changes to the team and brought in some youngsters to challenge the more established players. That worked as guys like Nicky Devlin excelled and the Senior players responded positively and everything clicked at the beginning of February.”

A 2-1 win at the Diamonds stared off a run of five wins and a draw that lifted them to sixth place with Adamson saying, “I brought in Pat Walker from Annan where he was not getting a game and he formed a great partnership with Jon McShane. Jim had brought Jon in from St. Mirren on loan and he picked up an injury early but our away trip to Airdrie saw things click together.”

Jon McShane (Young Player of the Month Feb 2011) and Alan Adamson (Manager of the Month Feb 2011)“I knew Pat would score goals alongside Jon but what I did not fully realise is how well Jon would respond and he was great for us during that spell. Jon scored fives that month and was awarded the IRN-BRU Young Player of the Month and I got the Second Division Manager’s award so it was a really good period.”

The Sons eventually settled for seventh place and the relegation Adamson was asked to avoid was seen off with a 1-1 draw at Champions Livingston on the second last day of the season.

“It was a good feeling and when you see the results Livingston achieve at home it was a right good result.”

It was a summer of comings and goings at Strathclyde Homes Stadium with Devlin stepping up to the SPL with Motherwell and other players like Ben Gordon, Iain Chisholm, Derek Carcary and Ryan McStay all leaving with McShane moving back to Paisley.

The arrival of Alan Lithgow, Adam Monaghan, Kevin Nicol, Jamie Ewings, Scott Agnew, Ryan Borris, Martin McBride, Bryan Prunty and Graeme Ramage saw Adamson recast his squad and the season started with a 3-2 win over East Stirlingshire in the Ramsdens Cup and a spirited display before losing last goals and going down 4-0 to Dundee in the Scottish Communities League Cup.

Airdrie was not so kind last Saturday as Dumbarton opened their League campaign with a 3-0 defeat with Adamson saying, “We had 3 players suspended and 5 out injured but we still should have started the game better. We lost 2 goals in the first 10 minutes which gave us a mountain to climb.”

David Winters“David Winters’ clearance from Vietnam did not come through on time which was disappointing as his arrival has given everyone at the club a real lift as he is a very good player and hopefully we will have him on board before we face Stirling Albion on Saturday.”

Is avoiding relegation the aim for this season as well Adamson was asked and he said, “Eighth place is the minimum I have been asked to achieve but I would like to be a bit more ambitious than that. I will be looking for us to make our way into the play-offs.”

Away from the game of football that has dominated his life Adamson picked up another award as he saw off the challenge of his first team squad to lift the 2011 Dumbarton FC Golf Championship at Glencorse Golf Club last week.

Recent signing Nicol was beaten into second place with fellow new recruit Agnew earning third place and Adamson said afterwards, “It was a fantastic day and thoroughly enjoyable and of course good to win. The lads who took part had great fun and I sure they are delighted that I won.”

“I took up golf when I retired from the Police but I do not play that often only on a Monday, Wednesday and a Friday.”

view all articles »