Former Arsenal and England star Paul Merson has backed his former teammate Tony Adams to succeed as President of the Rugby Football League.
Speaking at Featherstone’s Christmas Dinner, Merson insisted that Adams was a man who “knows his rugby league” and backed him to do a “fantastic job.”
Adams will become the RFL’s 29th President, and will take up the role in July 2019.
“Tony’s a top bloke,” said Merson.
“He knows his rugby league and he’ll do a fantastic job for you.
“I played under the best captain, centre-half and motivator you could play under in Tony Adams.
“Tony Adams was a phenomenal centre-half. Tony was the kind of centre-half that would run through a brick wall for you.”
On his appointment, Adams said: “It will be an honour to become the next President of the RFL. I am passionate about working with everyone in the sport to raise the profile of mental health for players.”
Merson revealed that he himself is a rugby league fan and was a London Broncos supporter during their time at Twickenham Stoop Stadium.
He also credited the way that rugby league pays tribute to it’s former legends and was particularly impressed by the ‘Wembley Way’ display at the LD Nutrition stadium, which celebrates Featherstone’s three Challenge Cup victories.
During his talk for the guests at the festive dinner, Merson spoke about his battle with alcoholism, a battle which Adams also faced.
This is a large part of the reason why the former Gunners captain founded the charity Sporting Chance, which has helped more than 400 rugby league players since entering into an official partnership with the RFL in 2011.
Adams said: “It will be an honour to become the next President of the RFL. I am passionate about working with everyone in the sport to raise the profile of mental health, wellness and resilience, for players and for everyone in Rugby League.
“I’d like to play my part in championing this brilliant sport on the national stage.”