Charlie Adam may not be worth £14 Million (although Liverpool got twice that amount for Xabi Alonso, and Adam is at least half as good as him), but he did single-handedly justify the €20 I spent on my ticket to Scotland v. Northern Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin last Wednesday evening. He is an absolutely brilliant passer of the ball who makes average players look, actually, pretty good. Juan Riquelme used to be referred to as a quarterback, but the analogy befits Blackpool’s Dundonian* maestro better. He drops deep behind a squabbling ruck before spinning passes over their heads and through them into space for his runners to collect. Adam didn’t just look relatively good, better than the other 30 odd players who turned out. He looked properly, objectively good. He makes a game exciting to watch. And he can score from corners.
The problem with Adam, of course, is that he’s quite fat and pretty lazy. But maybe that’s ok. Ian Holloway certainly doesn’t seem to mind and why would he? Blackpool’s upturn in fortune coincides exactly with their record signing.
He is a tangerine superman.
Superman is a famous philosophical figure thanks to Friedrich Nietzsche. Throughout his writings, the frankly mental German philosopher gives three examples of Ubermensch – which translates as Over Men or Higher Men not Super Men. These (Goethe, Beethoven and himself) are selected for their creativity. In The Will to Power, Nietzsche writes, ‘the men of great creativity’ are ‘the really great men according to my understanding. The Ubermensch are the cornerstone of Nietzsche’s moral philosophy. Morality, as conceived by Nietzsche is little more than the rules by which the Ubermensch right to flourish is protected. The rest of us, says Nietzsche, exist only to be used by the Ubermensch, we are the instruments of his creativity.
That must be, pretty much, how DJ Campbell, Gary Taylor-Fletcher and David Vaughan** feel. Every time Adam is shown jogging back into defence in a half-hearted attempt to win the ball back the shot is streaked with orange as his teammates fly backwards to try and help out. Likewise, when Adam looks up from his acres of space (his lack of pace doesn’t seem to be a problem when he’s looking for the ball) the same players streak wide looking for space, and he finds them.
That’s the thing, that’s what’s missing from most accounts of Nietzsche’s morality. He wasn’t a fascist. We weren’t supposed to bend over and let greatness have its way with us. It’s actually in our interests that we let the Ubermensch flourish. He makes us look good too. As DJ Campbell will probably find out next season, he makes us better than we can actually make ourselves.
*Note: This post originally claimed Charlie Adam for the city of Glasgow. Although a product of the Rangers youth system, Adam is actually from Dundee – see comment below. The post has been changed accordingly.
**Note: This post originally referred here to Michael Vaughan (who is of course the former captain of the England cricket team) thanks to the intervention of Blackpool expert OneDaveBamber – below – it has been corrected.