An Extract from Michael Henson's Interview with Nicky Adams for the Bury FC Programme...
When the club’s official Twitter account started a countdown to a new signing on the 16th May this year there was plenty of guesses as to who it would be. Not many would have guessed that Nicky Adams had re-signed for the Shakers on a three year deal after only joining Rotherham United at the end of the January transfer window.
“It was a quick and easy move. Obviously I went to Rotherham in January and I enjoyed it there, I was playing a lot. However myself and the Club both decided it would be better if I moved on due to some differences. “
“They made me available and a few clubs came in and wanted to speak to me. I spoke to three or four clubs but as soon as I spoke to the gaffer and Chairman here, I knew what they’ve got planned for this place and it was an easy decision. I came here and spoke to them then I had a chat with my Dad for 15 minutes in the car and phoned the gaffer up saying ‘Let’s get it done, I don’t want to go and speak to anyone else. I want to come here.’”
With Nicky mentioning that he had spoken to other clubs I was intrigued to see if they were higher up the pyramid than League Two.
I did speak to a few clubs in a higher division. Some people were saying that they were surprised that I wanted to come back here and go back to League Two when I had done quite well in League One in previous years. I went to two or three clubs in League One and another club in League Two but as soon as I came here, it felt right. I’ve got a good affiliation with the club, I started my career here and everyone knows the type of relationship I’ve got with the gaffer and he knows how to get the best out of me. It’s not about levels or me playing in League One, you’ve got to go and play somewhere where you believe in and I think this is the right place for me.”
Nicky was one of eleven summer additions alongside Ryan Lowe and others and he says that the talk of potential signings was another factor in re-joining the Shakers.
“When I came here and spoke to the gaffer and the Chairman they told me who they wanted to bring in as well as the lads that were already here. Lowey is a legend at this club and I’d played against him in the last few seasons in League One and he’s such a prolific goalscorer and a top player. When I knew that they were trying to sign Ryan Lowe and Kelvin Etuhu plus the likes of Jim McNulty and Danny Mayor who were already here and all the other lads, it was a no-brainer for me.”
Rewind nine years and Nicky was making the transition from youth team to first team at the club, making his debut against Darlington in October 2005 scoring the only goal of the game.
“The transition is a big step and the first thing you want to know is, are you good enough? We had a good youth team at the time with some of them going on to play in the Premier League and Championship. I was in and around the first team squad quite quickly and I just developed from there really and I think it’s stood me in good stead.”
As he previously mentioned, Nicky’s dad is a big part of his career and follows him wherever he goes. He’s a big Bury fan so I asked the question about how proud he was when he signed his first deal with Bury.
“It was a tricky one at the time as I was 18 and had played around 20 or so games for Bury and a few teams were sniffing around. When I got offered my first deal, the person to sort it out for me was the gaffer as he was the captain at the time. He came in with me and helped me sort it out. I spoke to him and spoke to other people and they said play here and play games and if you do that, you’ll develop as a player. I did that and then me and my Dad had a chat and decided it was the right thing for me. My dad was over the moon.”
Looking back at the game against Darlington and Nicky made his debut the day before his 19th birthday, scoring in the 35th minute and it’s a game that he will never forget.
“I remember the Friday before the game. We trained that day and I’d been on the bench a couple of times but I’d never come on. Brian Barry-Murphy got injured and the manager at the time, Chris Casper, came in and said ‘you’re starting tomorrow’. The feeling when you get told you’re going to play is great, it was something I’d worked hard for since I was a kid. I finally realised my dream that I was going to play a professional game for Bury. The day of the game came round and it went so fast, I remember scoring but I’ll never forget that day. I’ve still got a recording of the game and I still watch it, it was a proud moment for me and my family.”
Nicky’s first spell at the club ended in July 2008 when he moved to Leicester City on a three year deal and it was the Bury manager at the time that helped him out with the move.
“It was a funny season really as I’d had interest from them all year. I’d done really well as I was a young lad playing in the Bury side, I’d scored a few goals and it was probably my best season I’d had up to that point. At the end of the season I went away and there was a few clubs that wanted to take me and I’d spoke to a few people. I spoke to Alan Knill, who was the manager at the time, and was ready to come back in and sign for Bury as I wasn’t sure about the other places. As soon as Leicester came in Alan phoned me and he said ‘Go’. He said go as it’s a massive club and it would be good for my development. Obviously it was hard moving on as I’d been at Bury since I was 15 but you want to go and test yourself at the best places possible and going there really helped me, I learnt a lot going there.”
Unfortunately for Nicky the move to Leicester didn’t really work out and, after a few loan spells and a short stay at Brentford, he arrived at Rochdale in the summer of 2010. The following season he scored two goals in a 4-2 win but was also sent off in the game. He was quick to admit he may have not handled it well but also explained the reasons behind the celebration of his second goal.
“You know what, at the time I probably didn’t handle it well as I was still a young lad. Prior to the game I did an interview on the Friday for the paper and they asked me if I would celebrate, I told them ‘no as I love Bury, everyone knows it. Obviously I’m at Rochdale but that’s my job.’ Flickers signed me and he was the Assistant Manager at Rochdale and I went there because of him really. When you’re playing and you’ve got a young family, you’ve got to support them. To be fair, Bury tried to take me at the same time but they couldn’t agree the deal. Like I say, I probably didn’t handle it well but leading up to the game there was a couple of things that happened. I felt like a few people disrespected my Dad which is why I ran towards my Dad in the celebration but I shouldn’t have took my top off. You live and learn, I’m older now and more wiser. If I could go back I would change it but I was young, a bit stupid but it doesn’t change the fact of how much this club means to me. Hopefully I can show that this season and we can get what we all want, promotion.”
Early on this season Nicky faced his hometown club in the Capital One Cup and put in an impressive performance, only to see the Shakers denied by a last minute penalty.
“When we went into the Bolton game we had no fear as we’d done really well pre-season, we’d took on some big clubs and we played them off the park so we knew going into the Bolton game if we got it right we’d give them a good game. I think everyone saw what it meant to us and we were heartbroken at the end, it was an injustice. We had worked so hard and deserved to win but sometimes football is cruel. We took a lot of positives from the game and I think that’ll stand us in good stead for the rest of the season.”
As well as playing against his hometown club, the Bolton game was a special moment for Nicky as he walked out at the Macron Stadium accompanied by his two children; Kiera and Archie.
“It was a special moment for me as my kids are my inspiration. Like the Darlington game, I’ll never forget the Bolton game. You have proud moments in your career but to walk my kids out at Bolton, where I’m from, with all my family there and in front of 2,500 Bury fans was a proud moment for me.”
“We were 20 seconds away from being heroes and I think the fans knew we gave everything. All I can say is hats off to them, they sang all night and they were all there at the end. Me and the gaffer are from Bolton, everyone was upset but it hurt us a lot being from Bolton.
In his first spell with the club Nicky featured a number of times in the Wales U21 setup, making his debut in a game against France U21s in 2007, and he hopes that one day he may be able to force himself back into the squad if Bury move up the leagues.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to get back in the squad at some point, you never say never. I played quite a few times for the U21s, I had some great experiences and played with some top players. If you look at the squad now they’ve got a really established squad with a lot of Premier League players. If I can do well here and if we can get up the leagues, hopefully the manager will take notice and I can get back in the setup as that’ll be another big achievement for me in my career. I’ll just take it one game at a time and if I concentrate on what I can do, I know what I can do, then hopefully I might be able to get back in.”
One thing that is certain is that Nicky is more than happy to be home...