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Strictly bosses line-up ex-England player after Liverpool legend turns down approach

Strictly Come Dancing bosses line-up ex-England player Tony Adams for the much anticipated 2022 series as the rumour mill begins.

The BBC ballroom show is reportedly in talks with Kym Marsh and Tony ‘Donkey’ Adams for the new series with the first new contestants expected to be announced in August.

The ex-Arsenal player, 55, who also captained his country and has managed the likes of Portsmouth and Wycombe, was known for his no-nonsense approach to defending — though not so much for his elegance.

Many may recall how he dropped Arsenal teammate Steve Morrow after hoisting him up to celebrate his winning goal in the 1993 League Cup final — only to badly break his arm. Here’s hoping his Strictly pro dance partner will hope he has improved on his lifts since then if he does end up on the dancefloor.


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One source said: “This is shaping up to be a fantastic year for Strictly. They are thrilled to have brought a footballing legend of Tony’s stature to the table.

“And they are pulling out all the stops to sign Kym as well. She has been a target for them for years, and while it is not a done deal, they are very hopeful.

“She has her offer and is considering her options.”

In 2017, after moving into football management in Spain, Adams became an unlikely social media star when a clip of him during a training drill went viral.

He was seen enthusiastically demonstrating an exercise to his Granada players — who did not speak English.

And after Sky Sports’ Soccer AM jokingly set the clip to Michael Jackson’s Beat It, the internet hits flooded in.

Years later, the football icon proved he can laugh at himself when he recreated the video with members of his family during lockdown.

A source said: “Tony is a really good sport and has a great sense of humour, which people will get to see for themselves on the Strictly dance floor.

“He is also not afraid of a challenge and will get really stuck in.

“Tony is really excited about Strictly. He’s a better mover than people think. He really looks after himself, far more than most 50-somethings.

“So he might well spring a few surprises.

“His future dance partners might want to be a bit wary when it comes to lifts though — he does have a bit of form for letting go when it counts.”

During his Arsenal career, Tony helped steer the club to four league titles, three FA Cups and the European Cup Winner’s Cup.

He is the only player in the history of English football to have skippered a title-winning team in three decades, and also the only footballer to have played for England over three decades.

But his career was often blighted by his 12-year battle with alcohol addiction, which even saw him jailed for drink driving in 1990 after smashing into a wall.

He finally quit booze in 1996 and celebrated 25 years sober last August.

After retiring as a player, he had managed Wycombe Wanderers, Portsmouth, Azerbaijani side Gabala and Spanish club Granada.


Youth career
1980–1983 – Arsenal

Senior career
1983–2002 – Arsenal – 504 games (32 goals)

National team
1987–2000 – England – 66 games (5 goals)


Wycombe Wanderers – 5 November 2003 until 9 November 2004 – 53 games, 12 wins, 21 draws, 20 defeats, 22.6 win %
Portsmouth – 28 October 2008 until 9 February 2009 – 22 games, 4 wins, 7 draws, 11 defeats, 18.2 win %
Granada – 10 April 2017 until 3 June 2017 – 7 games, 0 wins, 0 draws, 7 defeats, 0.0 win %


Football League First Division/Premier League: 1988–89, 1990–91, 1997–98, 2001–02
FA Cup: 1992–93, 1997–98, 2001–02
Football League Cup: 1986–87, 1992–93
FA Charity Shield: 1991 (shared), 1998
European Cup Winners’ Cup: 1993–94; runner-up: 1994–95
UEFA Cup: runner-up: 1999−2000

Arsenal Player of the Season: 1986−87, 1989−90, 1993−94
PFA Young Player of the Year: 1986–87
PFA First Division/Premier League Team of the Year: 1986–87, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1996–97
PFA Team of the Century (1907–2007):
Team of the Century 1997–2007
Overall Team of the Century
Premier League 10 Seasons Awards: (1992–93 – 2001–02)
Domestic Team of the Decade
Overall Team of the Decade
Premier League 20 Seasons Awards: (1992–93 – 2011–12)
Public choice Fantasy Teams of the 20 Seasons
Panel choice Fantasy Teams of the 20 Seasons
English Football Hall of Fame: 2004
Football League 100 Legends

Member in The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE): (1999 Birthday Honours)


More of those linked to the upcoming series of Strictly are TV presenter Steph McGovern, chef Gino D’Acampo, presenter Helen Skelton, Olympic diver Tom Daley, rugby star Mike Tindall, TV presenter George Webster and radio personality Richie Anderson.

Meanwhile, Liverpool legend Bruce Grobbelaar has turned down an approach from Strictly Come Dancing – because it means working on Premier League match days!

The Daily Mail report: “Strictly bosses are gutted because he was at the top of their list. But when Bruce looked at what would happen to his weekends he was worried about not being able to watch his beloved Liverpool FC.

“He also has a job at the stadium on match days hosting fans which he would have to give up to take part in the show.’

“It might be something he’d look at doing in the future but for the moment he’s not going to be signing up.

“The only thing that might change his mind is a big money package. But there is a limit to how much the BBC can go to.

“Each year Strictly producers have a certain type of person in mind for the programme. This year they want a footy legend who older viewers can relate to and get behind.

“Bruce ticked all the boxes but so does Tony Adams which is why they are keen to speak to him and try to sign him up.

“Tony is good fun and viewers might be surprised at the different side they see to him if he appears on the programme.”

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