Nicky Adams has spoken about his ‘difficult decision’ to swap Northampton Town for Carlisle United.
The attacking midfielder’s free transfer to Brunton Park came as a surprise earlier this week, not only to the Cobblers fans, but also to the player himself.
The 29-year-old still had two years remaining on his contract at Sixfields, and says that just a few weeks ago all of his thoughts were on planning for life as a Cobbler in Sky Bet League One.
But a ‘whirlwind’ few days that saw Town manager Chris Wilder and assistant up sticks and head for Sheffield United, meant doubts started to creep into Adams’ head about his own future at Sixfields.
Once Wilder had left, agents started circulating and made it clear they were keen on signing Adams if he were to become available.
And Adams, who admits he never spoke with incoming boss Rob Page, started to consider a move away from Northampton due to the uncertainty over what lay in store for him, providing he could move to a club nearer his Bolton home.
Chris Wilder and Alan Knill were a massive part of me coming down to Northampton. They brought the best out of me last season, and them leaving was disappointing for me on a personal point of viewNicky Adams
The keenest of the clubs pursuing Adams was Carlisle United, whose manager Keith Curle had been tracking the player for 12 months.
Adams suddenly had a decision to make and, after a lot of consideration, came to the conclusion he would leave the Cobblers with a heavy heart, and start again at Brunton Park.
When asked how the move to Carlisle came about, Adams told the Chron: “It was strange because we finished the season on sich a high, and then it was a bit of a whirlwind because the gaffer went, and then things change.
“A few of the lads were in a bit of limbo and weren’t sure who was going to come in, and then we had a few calls from different agents and stuff.
“They wanted to know what the situation was, and I told them at the time that I wasn’t sure and that it wasn’t something I had really thought about because I was on such a high from being promoted.
“But an agent I have known for a long time had a chat with Kelvin (Thomas), and Kelvin was great to be fair.
“With the new manager coming in it is something different, and I didn’t speak to him.
“It is a difficult situation, but I knew other people really wanted me and that sort of made my mind up a little bit.
“I had a few options when people got wind that I might be leaving, I had a few teams’ representatives phone me, but if I was going anywhere I would rather it would be closer to home, because a few of the teams were further away, which I didn’t want.
“So it did come as a surprise to people, but there is nothing better than being wanted.
“The manager at Carlisle, Keith Curle, has been brilliant and has shown such interest in me, and it is similar to what Chris Wilder did to bring me to Northampton last summer.
“When that happens it makes the decision easier, but I can’t thank everyone at Northampton enough.”
Adams has signed a two-year deal at Carlisle, and his commute to work will be significantly shorter than it was to Northampton.
A move closer to home hadn’t really been on the agenda for Adams though, until the day it was confirmed Wilder and Knill were leaving.
The pair were key in bringing the player to Sixfields, with Adams having worked with them both previously at Bury.
Adams is quick to point out his decision to leave is not linked in any way to the appointment of new boss Page, but it was affected by Wilder’s decision to leave.
“Me leaving has nothing to do with the new manager, and I wish him all the best,” said Adams. “I have never met the man, but he has got an unbelievable group of players there.
“But Chris Wilder and Alan Knill were a massive part of me coming down to Northampton.
“They brought the best out of me last season, and them leaving was disappointing for me.
“Then there is the unknown factor of not knowing what is going to happen next season.
“When my agent spoke to Kelvin (Thomas), he said ‘if he wants to go nearer to home, then okay’ and that sort of made my mind up.
“Kelvin sent me a really nice message, and all the staff have texted me as well, and it shows you what an unbelievable club Northampton is.
“It will always hold a special place in my heart.”
It seems pretty clear taling to Adams, that if Wilder had stayed at Sixfields, then so would the player, and he continued: “Me and Chris had not spoken about me moving, I was preparing for league one.
“But when you get that many calls from different people, and Kelvin knew there were a few teams interested, I made it clear that if I was going to leave then it would be closer to home.
“I have a young family up north, and I didn’t want to travel any further down south.
“I am 29 now, I have a family, I still live in Bolton and my kids are still in Bolton, but travelling to Northampton wasn’t a problem.
“The gaffer looked after us, and the arrangement we had last year was superb.
“It was worked around not just me, but a few of the other boys and those who lived down south as well.
“Kelvin was also spot on and I can’t fault him.
“It is difficult because I can’t fault anything at Northampton and it is a sad day, but I am now looking forward to the new challenge at Carlisle.”
Although he is now looking forward to a new chapter in his career in Cumbria, Adams says he will never forget his 12-month stint as a Northampton Town player.
“It is gutting to leave because everyone knows how much I enjoyed last season, it was special,” said Adams.
“It would be hard to repeat what we did, in the circumstances we were in before Christmas, and that just shows you what a special group of players we had there.
“Marc Richards has messaged me and nearly had me in tears, and I’ve had messages from Ricky (Holmes) and Joel (Byrom) and Dave Buchanan, and I am so close to them all.
“I think that’s what took us a long way, because we had such a tight-knit group and I will never forget them.
“I even spoke to Adam (Moreton) the kitman on Tuesday night, and he is a great guy, he’s my hero.
“I just can’t speak highly enough of the place and I just wish everybody at Northampton all the best, because last season is something I will never forget.
“The support the fans gave me, and not just myself, everybody, they got right behind the lads all year, especially in difficult times.
“I have been overwhelmed by the messages I have received from them.
“They treated me unbelievably and when they sing your name every week it is something special. I will miss that.”