Michael Richard Adams (born 8 November 1961) is an English former professional footballer turned football manager. As a player he was a full back, and made a total of 438 league appearances in a nineteen-year professional career in the Football League, including five years with Southampton at the highest level. He began his managerial career as player-manager for Fulham in 1994 and has led several teams at varying levels with mixed success, being named Manager of the Season twice, sacked a number of times and earning four promotions for the teams he has managed.
Born in Sheffield, Adams was part of the youth team at Sheffield United from the age of twelve until released in 1977. He turned professional at the Third Division team Gillingham in 1979, where he established himself in the first team, winning a move in 1983 to Coventry City who were in the First Division. He spent four years at Coventry before being sold on to Leeds United in 1987. He was bought by Southampton for £250,000 in 1989, where he enjoyed five years of top-flight football. He was loaned out to Stoke City in 1994, before he signed with Fulham later in the year. Appointed as Fulham's player-manager in March 1996, he led the club out of the Third Division in 1996–97, and was named as the Third Division Manager of the Season. Sacked by Fulham despite his success, he walked out on Swansea City after less than two weeks in charge, and instead took charge at Brentford in November 1997. He was sacked after the club were relegated at the end of the season. At this point he ended his playing career.
He joined Nottingham Forest as assistant manager, taking charge for one Premier League game in a caretaker capacity. He returned to management with Brighton & Hove Albion in April 1999. He led the club to the Third Division title in 2000–01, winning the division's Manager of the Season award for a second time. He then moved to Leicester City as an assistant, before finally being named as the club's manager in April 2002. He took the club to the Premier League as First Division runners-up in 2002–03, though he tendered his resignation in October 2004, having failed to keep the club in the top-flight. He took charge at former club Coventry City in January 2005, though lost his job in January 2007. He returned to Brighton in May 2008, though his second spell in charge would only last nine months. He was appointed as manager of Port Vale in June 2009, before he departed for Sheffield United in December 2010. He failed to prevent United being relegated into League One, and was sacked in May 2011; this enabled him to return to Port Vale as manager. Despite starting the season in administration, he led Vale to promotion into League One in 2012–13. He resigned as Vale manager in September 2014, and took charge at Tranmere Rovers the following month. He left Tranmere with the club bottom of the Football League in April 2015. He was appointed manager of Irish side Sligo Rovers for a three-month spell starting in August 2015.
He has been married twice and has four daughters and one son.Close