Neil Adams broke into professional football at Stoke City, his
hometown team. 32 league appearances and 4 goals later, he was
snapped up by Everton where he won a league championship medal.
However he made only 20 league appearances for the Toffees and
moved on to Oldham. 138 league games were played with Oldham before
he was signed by Norwich for £250,000 in February 1994.
Neil had one of his most successful seasons in 1996/97 missing
just one senior game and scoring 16 goals, nine of which were
from the penalty spot. 1997/98 was less successful and injuries
took their toll. He was limited to 32 appearances. Neil was released
at the end of his contract in May 1999 after another injury plagued
season had failed to convince Bruce Rioch that he had a part to
play in Norwich's future.
Neil began talking to Oldham manager Andy Ritchie about a return
to Boundary Park although Team Talk suggested that this move may
fall through as Ritchie wants to spend his limited sums of cash
on a centre forward. Neil eventually signed for the Latics in
early July 1999. After suffering from injuries throughout 2000/01,
Neil was released by Oldham on 9th May 2001 with Oldham citing
their fears over future fitness as their explanation for not renewing
his contract. Rochdale were the first league club to express an
interest in offering a new home for Adams' skills. However his
knee injury saw Neil call a day to a 17year playing career in
Adams returned to Norfolk working with Radio Norfolk and the local
media (see The Pink Un).
Neil also teamed up with the Canaries to act as a coach for the
Academy Under 14s side. He holds a UEFA "A" license
In May 2008, Neil was dismissed from his coaching role with the
Canaries. Earlier in the season, there was a bit of a spat between
Adams and Norwich manager Glenn Roeder
Adams, when asked his views on Huckerby's omission from the team,
was quoted as saying he would play him. However, his clearly-stated
rider was that Roeder's record in leading City out of the relegation
zone could not be argued with. "It is not me saying that
he should have played - because results show that the manager has
got it right
," said Adams. "I am a big fan of Huckerby's,
but it's results that count and it's results that the manager has
Local reports suggestedthat Roeder took exception and, without
naming Adams, made it clear that he believed there were some people
trying to drive a wedge between him and Huckerby. Roeder said:
"What I don't like is the way people in and around the
club have tried to say there is a problem between the two of us.
He has gone out of his way to say there isn't. I have gone out
of my way - although I don't feel I have to go out of my way -
to say there isn't. And yet these nasty, irritating people that
try and cause confrontation between myself and a player, between
myself and supporters, are just bad people. They are people who
will never manage a football club, they have little idea of managing
a football club and yet they have a voice that reaches our supporters.
Me and Huckerby get on very well. I don't have favourites, I don't
do favourites. I pick the best team and at the end of the day
it is my call. It is easy being a manager when you are one of
25,000 sitting in the stand or if you are an ex-player who is
now working for the media who will never manage anything better
than an under-10 team, thinking he knows best - and you know what
I'm talking about, and I will deal with that, trust me. I'm a
nice bloke, but not always."
Adams returned to the Norwich City academy as coach in mid-September
2008 in his previous role as Under-14s coach. Adams said "Glenn
Roeder called me before the Plymouth game and asked me if I'd
consider returning to coach at the academy, and after a meeting
with him yesterday I'm happy to say that I have accepted his offer.
Roeder added I'm really pleased to have Neil Adams back
on board. He's an excellent coach and is well respected in the
game. It was unfortunate that due to restructuring of the academy,
we had to release Neil at the end of last season. However we have
now re-jigged the structure to give Neil the chance to come back
on board. I'm delighted that Neil has accepted our offer.
In July 2011, Neil quit his roles as BBC Radio Norfolk's matchday
summariser and a Norwich Evening News columnist to take on a full
time coaching role with Norwich's academy.
In the 2012/13 season, Neil's Under-18 squad won the FA
Youth Cup final beating Chelsea 1-0 at Carrow Road and 3-2
at Stamford Bridge.
On 6th April 2014, Neil was appointed Norwich's manager until
the end of the 2013/14 season following the sacking of Chris
Hughton. The Canaries board took the decision following the
1-0 home defeat to West Brom on 5th April 2014 which sucked the
club deeper into the relegation mix. The board said However
the recent run of four defeats in our last six Premier League
games and six consecutive away league defeats, left the club with
no choice but to act, with five games still to play in the current
Of Adams, they said "The Norwich City board has taken
the decision to give the club the maximum chance to secure the
points required between now and the end of the season to ensure
retention of our Premier League status. Neil Adams, 48, steps
up from his current role as our Under-18s coach with a wealth
of experience as a player, having won a league title with Everton
in 1987 and made 206 appearances in all competitions as a stalwart
wide player for Norwich City between 1993 and 1999. He moved into
the clubs youth coaching set-up and last year guided the
young Canaries to their first FA Youth Cup triumph in 30 years,
courtesy of a shock victory over Chelsea in the final, in which
his side won both legs. His long experience as a player, coach
and as a media analyst for BBC local radio means Neil understands
the club and its fans extremely well and the club is sure the
Canary supporters will unite behind Neil and the team for the
crucial games ahead.
Adams' first game for Norwich was a 1-0 defeat at Fulham which
Norwich had dominated. The Canaries then put up a spirited display
only to lose 3-2 at home to Liverpool. His third game saw City
lose 4-0 to Manchester United in Ryan Giggs' first game in charge
Adams got his first point as Norwich manager when they drew 0-0
at Chelsea. However other results went against the Canaries and
they were relegated into the Championship.
Despite (alleged) interest in the managerial vacancy from Malky
Mackay, Neil Lennon and Tim Sherwood,
Adams was appointed Norwich's permanent manager on 22nd May 2014,
signing a three year contract. He added Gary
Holt and Joe Royle to his backroom
team; and then later added Mike Phelan.
Adams resigned on 5th January 2015 following a 2-0 FA Cup Third
Round defeat at League One Preston and with the Canaries in seventh
place in the Championship table and 10 points off the automatic
promotion places. The club statement read: Norwich City
can confirm Neil Adams has resigned as manager with immediate
effect. After Saturdays FA Cup Third Round exit at the hands
of Preston North End, Adams met for discussions with the board
and agreed to resign. The process of appointing a new manager
to take the club forward is already underway. The club would like
to thank Neil for his hard work and dedication during his time
as manager and over many years as a player and coach. Everybody
at Norwich City looks forward to working with him again when he
returns in the summer. The club will not be commenting any further
at this time. Adams will take a break from the game
before returning to work for the club in July, in a role to be
confirmed at a later date.
Mike Phelan was placed in temporary charge and was believed to
be favourite for the job although Tim Sherwood,
Neil Warnock, Glenn Hoddle, Ian Culverhouse,
Paul Clement, Karl Robinson, Oscar Garcia and others were quickly
Neil spent some time working with England's Under-17s before
returning to Norwich at the end of July 2015 in the role of loans
manager. His role will be to ensure Norwich players maximise their
time away from the club on loan. Successful loan spells for players including the Murphy twins (Jacob and Josh, James Maddison, Ben Godfrey and Todd Cantwell, combined with Daniel Farke’s willingness to give youth a chance, made Adams an important cog in the Colney machine.
In June 2016, he was linked to the managerial vacancy at former club Oldham Athletic who had parted company with manager John Sheridan.
On 29th September 2021 it was announced that Adams had been promoted to the role of Assistant Sporting Director to Stuart Webber. Adams’ promotion is designed to free Webber up and help more with the recruitment process alongside Lee Dunn. Adams is expected to take on more of the day-to-day responsibilities and will be in charge at Colney if Webber is away on business, scouting for example. Adams' added responsibility is seen as a natural progression rather than a drastic change. Andy Hughes replaced Adams as Loans Manager.