Adams opens up on drinking after Wembley humiliation at Euro 1988

Tony Adams opens up on heavy night drinking session after Wembley humiliation at Euro 1988 as England legend admits that he ‘wet the bed’ from boozing as he did not have the ‘tools to cope’ following a poor game against Marco van Basten’s Holland

  • Tony Adams has opened up on a heavy night drinking session after England loss 
  • The former defender was given the run around by Marco van Basten at Euro 88 
  • Adams, 54, reflects that he did not have tools to cope with mental health issues
  • Arsenal icon says ‘humiliation’ of wetting the bed from drinking ‘really killed me’

Tony Adams has revealed how he turned to drink following England’s loss to the Netherlands at Euro 1988, as the Arsenal legend he had no tools to cope after a bad day at the office against Marco van Basten.

Adams, 54, has previously opened up on his alcoholism as a professional and has gone onto open a clinic – Sporting Chance – to help other athletes with a wide variety of emotional and mental problems.

It is the sort of help that Adams admits he needed as a young footballer, and the former Arsenal defender has told of how he wet the bed after a heavy night drinking after defeat against Holland 33 years ago. 

Tony Adams has opened up on a heavy drinking session after Wembley humiliation at Euro 88

Having lost their opening game to the Republic of Ireland, Sir Bobby Robson’s side needed a response against the Dutch, and Adams was tasked with keeping close tabs on Van Basten – who went onto win the Ballon d’Or that year.

Van Basten bagged a hat trick as Holland ran out 3-1 winners. The defeat devastated Adams and he was unable to cope with the scrutiny that England’s Wembley performance attracted. 

‘I had a horrific tournament,’ he told The Sun. ‘On and off the pitch, it was damaging. 

England were eliminated from the competition at the group stage after a poor showing 

Adams, then 22, was given the run around by Marco van Basten in a 3-1 defeat at Wembley

‘I was so young, you know, 22 years of age, playing against the Dutch and probably the greatest player on the planet at the time.

‘I got turned inside out for a couple of the goals and it was like all the blame was coming towards me. 

‘I had no tools to cope. I had a good drink after we went out of the tournament and ended up weeing the bed. The chambermaid found it.

‘When I went down for breakfast with the squad, all the lads stood up and they were going, “Pee, pee, pee, pee”. 

Adams says he drank heavily that night as he had no other method to cope with the defeat

The Arsenal legend (L) says he wet the bed and was mocked by his England team-mates

‘The humiliation and the shame — I laughed it off and put the front up but inside that really did hurt. That really killed me.’

Adams went onto win 66 caps for his country and led the Three Lions for Euro 96, as moment he reflects on as ‘redemption’.  

The availability of mental health support for athletes has come on leaps and bounds since Adams hung up his boots, although the issue was cast under the spotlight last week following Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from the French Open for mental health reasons. 

‘The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that,’ she said.

‘I’m gonna take some time away from the court now, but when the time is right I really want to work with the tour to discuss ways we can make things better for the players, press and fans.’ 

Mental health in sport has reared its head after Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open

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