Rewind: Charlie Adam relives that freekick at Wembley

“Listen lads, we don’t need to worry about Peter Whittingham, the big man’s here, I’ll stick this in the top corner – the big man produces on the big stage.” – Charlie Adam recites his practice drill the day before the Wembley final.

Before we share the full interview between Charlie and Dean Wallace, we though it was worth sharing a short snip of the interview where Charlie talked about that freekick at Wembley, against Cardiff, and what went through his mind. Unbeknown to Pool fans at the time, it was all down to a training ground drill where Charlie was emulating the late Peter Whittingham.

“The day before the play-off final, we were training at Watford and Peter Whittingham – God rest his soul, what a player – we were worried about him. He’d scored 25 goals that season and it was between me and him for top goalscorer. He’d scored a load of free-kicks that season so we were worried about his set plays. We were saying we need to avoid giving away silly freekicks around the box. We set up the shape and he named his team, it was the same team as we’d had for the last ten weeks because we’d won so many games.”

Who better to emulate Whittingham in training than Charlie Adam?

“The wall’s set up, it was the exact same place. I said ‘Listen lads, we don’t need to worry about Peter Whittingham. The big man’s here. I’ll stick this in the top corner – the big man produces on the big stage.

“I’ve hit it right in the stanchion. I didn’t say anything to the lads and just walked straight off, onto the bus, with my boots on. All the lads came on clapping. I just said ‘It’s what the big man does isn’t it’.

“I tried to visualise things that were going to happen in the game beforehand to work out how I’m going to play a pass or find space. I just feel comfortable doing it.”

Then came the big moment at Wembley.

“Crains came up to me and asked if he could hit it, I said ‘No chance. You’ve got no chance.’ David Marshall’s in goal – Scottish goalie – and I’ve just hit it perfect, flush, in the top corner. What a feeling it was. My family was in the stands and it was just amazing.”

We all know how it went from there, Pool winning the game 3-2, securing promotion to the promised land.

“When the final whistle went, I just remember lying down and Rob Edwards coming onto me, talking about the £5m (bonus). It was just a brilliant experience. All I remember was being on the pitch and I was looking for my family. Walking up the stairs and lifting the trophy was surreal.”

As many fans will testament when recollecting their own memories from that day, it was less of a party that night than you’d expect. A full day in the blazing hot sun, the emotional rollercoaster of the game, and the whole occasion itself meaning it was a little surreal once everyone had left the stadium.

“We were sat having a beer afterwards and that was probably the quietest we’d been in the last 12 games. We were just so emotionally drained, enjoying a beer. I ended up in bed by midnight because I was so drained. I never enjoyed the night as much as I should have – some of the lads did! The lads enjoyed getting to the final more after the Forest game – out in the casino until 5-6am in the morning!

“Then when we got the bus back to Blackpool, there were 250k fans on the prom, a roasting hot day and it was just incredible.”

We’ll be releasing the full interview transcript with Charlie in the coming days, hearing about to see what he’s been up to during the coronavirus outbreak and what potentially could be next when his contract ends next month. We also heard a few tails from his time with the Pool, so stay tuned on our social media channels for its release.

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Published by Tom Johnson

Seaside exile living in Leeds. Been watching the Pool home and away since 2001

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