Sporting legend visits Downe House
Downe House welcomed a sporting legend to give a talk in the Performing Arts Centre this week. Girls and staff were enthralled by former England and Arsenal FC Captain, Tony Adams MBE, who talked candidly about his challenges with addiction and recovery and what led him to become involved with the Sporting Chance Charity.
It was thanks to Jemima Landale (UV)that Tony Adams came to speak, and she gave him a welcoming introduction which included many of the highlights of his remarkable playing career. Tony spent 22 years as a defender at Arsenal where he played consistently during three decades under both George Graham and Arsene Wenger. He won four top flight division titles, three FA Cups, two Football League Cups, a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, and three FA Community Shields. In total, Tony appeared 66 times for England, and scored five times.
Tony spoke of his professional career which masked his personal demons and feelings of low self-esteem. He was so honest when talking about his illness and what he described as hell both on and off the field. He told the audience, “I knew how to play football and how to get drunk but I really didn’t know myself.”
It is because of his own experiences that Tony became involved with the Sporting Chance Clinic – a place for professional athletes across all sports to find support and to help them address mental health, emotional welfare and addictive disorders.
Tony answered several probing questions posed by the audience and was extremely generous with his time, staying long after his talk to sign autographs and chat to a number of fans.