Next Aberdeen Manager? Why Morecambe boss Derek Adams should be a serious contender for The Dons hot seat

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 10 March 2021, 12:04

After the initial flurry of movement which is custom following a managerial change, the next Aberdeen manager market has settled a little bit.

That’s not to say that there won’t be a shake-up in the subsequent days and weeks as managers burst in-and-out of contention, but for the moment the betting has former Dons player Stephen Glass, head coach of Atlanta United 2, leading the way as the favourite.

Former Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson and ex-Celtic boss Neil Lennon also feature high up in the market, while bookmakers have now ejected the mysterious ‘Ross Nicholson’! - more on that one here.

Further afield, you’ll find the likes of Danny Cowley, David Wagner and Paul Lambert at 25/1; the same price as Derek Adams.

Perhaps surprisingly Adams has gone under-the-radar since Aberdeen split ways with Derek McInnes on Sunday night, which seems strange when you consider that he not only grew up in the area and played for the club, but he’s gone on to enjoy success in management with Ross County and Plymouth, while he’s currently working his magic at Morecambe.

Below we take a look at his bid to conjure up a miracle promotion at Morecambe, the link with Aberdeen, what he’s previously said about a return to Scotland, and if we could become the next Dons boss…

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Derek Adams grew up in Aberdeen and played for his hometown club

Adams at Aberdeen

“I saw Fergie and Archie Knox having fights over snooker or head tennis,” Adams told the Daily Record as he reminisced on his time growing up around Aberdeen, where his father George was a chief scout. “They had that fierce winning mentality. They would bring in all the young YTS kids and the likes of myself to watch them going full at it in the snooker room.”

Adams may have been born in Glasgow but he spent his childhood in Aberdeen and aged 16 was on the books at his home town club in the early 1990s. He was unable to break into the first team at the Pittodrie club, but returned for a spell for the 2004/05 season. 

When Derek McInnes was hotly linked with the Sunderland job in 2017, the then Plymouth boss Adams was reportedly one of the main contenders to replace him. However, in the end McInnes stayed put.

Magic at Morecambe

Following spells at Ross County and Plymouth, Adams was named the new Morecambe manager in November 2019 following the departure of long-serving boss Jim Bentley.

At the time, Morecambe were rock-bottom of League Two but Adams managed to steer his troops away from danger, with the Shrimps 10 points clear of the relegation zone when the season was curtailed.

This season has been pretty stunning to be honest. Back in the summer Morecambe, with one of the smallest budgets in the Football League, were out at 150/1 to go on and win the title this term, 30/1 to get promotion, and just 3/1 to suffer relegation. 

After all, this was a club more accustomed to battling away the clutches of non-league, their last five League Two finishes have read: 21st, 18th, 22nd, 18th, and then 22nd last year.

Fast-forward to March and Adams’ troops are up in 5th, just three points off top spot. Only two clubs boast a superior Goals For tally than theirs (49), while 16 of their 34 games have been victories - they even topped the table at one point.

They’ve won four of their last six games and showcased a fighting spirit on Tuesday night when they twice came from behind to snatch a last-gasp point at 3rd-place Forest Green Rovers.

Derek has constructed a tight, determined and attacking unit who have an eye for goal and now a hunger and belief that they can achieve what previously seemed impossible. 

Make no mistake about it, a Morecambe promotion would be one of the great managerial moments of recent times.

Adams is used to defying the odds, having previously taken Scottish First Division Ross County to a Scottish Cup final; while he also won promotion from the third-tier to the top-tier across two spells, and at one point enjoyed a 40 game unbeaten league run.

As for his history in England, Adams won automatic promotion to League One with Plymouth, then narrowly missed out on the play-offs the following season.

What’s he previously said about a return to Scotland?

A year ago, Adams was asked by the Press and Journal if he sees himself returning to his homeland, to which he replied:

“Yes, I definitely see myself working back in Scotland someday. That is where I was given the opportunity at Ross County and one day I will be back in Scotland.”

Would he go?

Timing could be key here. Aberdeen have revealed that Paul Sheerin will lead an interim team until the end of the season, so a new full-time appointment is unlikely to take place until the summer.

This could suit Adams, who is currently attempting to achieve the seemingly impossible: propel Morecambe up to League One. Simply put, it’s difficult to see him leaving his post until May. That’s if he wants to at all.

Should he or should he not achieve this goal, the lure of returning to his homeland at a club he has a close connection with in a city he knows extremely well would surely be tempting.

The chance to challenge for domestic cups, potentially experience European football, and launch an attack on the Old Firm duopoly could swing Adams’ decision.

But for now, Morecambe fans will desperately be hoping he stays and orchestrates what would be a staggering and historic promotion to League One.

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