Tony Adams said he “feels sorry” for Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, but called his treatment by the Frenchman “a disgrace”, claiming he stopped him from returning to the club in a coaching capacity.
Adams made the claims in an interview with The Guardian, in which he also criticised Wenger’s salary and claimed the 67-year-old has no friends.
“I’d been at the club 23 years and they treated me like that? It was a disgrace,” Adams said. “I wanted to say: ‘Arsene, I understand I’ve got no right to go back to Arsenal just because I played here. Tell me if I’m not good enough’.
“But he would’ve been sacked after a year at Madrid. He would’ve had to go from club to club. But, at Arsenal, he’s got total dominance. The board do nothing. Arsene has a free rein.
“He’s also got a weird relationship with money. He’s on £8m a year but Arsenal’s junior coaches are on £30,000. Chelsea’s coaches are on £90,000.
“Take £7m, Arsene, and give them all a rise. It’s not like he’s using the money to throw lavish parties for his friends because he hasn’t got none. He’s only got a few guys in France. I feel a bit sorry for him.”
Two weeks ago, comments in Adams’ serialised new autobiography, Sober, claimed Wenger is “essentially not a coach” and prefers an assistant who will not “ruffle feathers”.
Wenger came back and labelled the criticism from his former skipper “sad”, insisting he has more important things to focus on, something Adams revealed he was also unhappy with.
“I’m disappointed in Arsene’s reaction,” he said. “I had a book signing at the Arsenal, and he’s cancelled it. The club said: ‘Can we rearrange for June?’
“I’m 50 – so almost half my life was at Arsenal. I’ve got a b***** statue outside [the Emirates Stadium]. What have they done to me?”
Wenger has faced criticism over the last five months after a season of struggle, as the Gunners missed out on Champions League qualification for the first time in his 21-year reign.
They did secure the FA Cup with a 2-1 victory over Chelsea on Saturday, but Adams added he hopes Wenger leaves the Gunners, reiterating his belief that any chance he had of coaching with the club was eroded under the Frenchman, who is out of contract and yet to confirm if he will remain at the Emirates.
“Arsenal are not in the Champions League next season,” he said. “I don’t think they’re going to be anywhere near the title. They’ve just had a fantastic FA Cup win after an amazing 20 years. I hope he calls it a day.
“But I don’t really care – because he stopped me from getting back into the club. That has been real. He’s a great coach, don’t get me wrong, but he’s not the best I’ve worked with.”