Tony Adams strolls into the boardroom at his London publishers but there's a tinge of disappointment. It's nothing personal. His smile befits one of football's genuinely nice guys, his handshake as firm as you'd want from one of England's greatest defenders. No, it's nothing personal, it's just, well what he's wearing.
Dark jeans and a casual linen shirt are fine but where are the resplendent suits? You might have seen them recently. When he took his recent role as coach for Spanish club Granada, the blue/green three piece he wore at the press conference gained more attention than his appointment.
On BBC Breakfast a nation woke up recently to a wonderful deep green number and at Hay Literary Festival last week, he stood out in electric red - almost as varied as a set of football kits. Is this a man sub-consciously yearning for his playing days?
"I ain't got much buzzes in life anymore," he says, batting off attempts at A-Level psychology. "I can't go and get drunk, I don't shag around, I don't own Ferraris. I don't have much left mate. Give me a nice whistle, a nice pair of shoes, and that will do me. I work hard, I have a bit of money, I put myself through it, I stand on the touchline getting beat 4-0 by Real Madrid, but you know what I can go out and get myself a nice whistle. That does me. Simple little things. I'm not trying to fix myself."
Fix himself? Adams did that ages ago. His new book, Sober, a follow up to the 1999 autobiography Addicted in which he first went into detail about his alcoholism, looks at the last years of his career at Arsenal and life since he retired, going into frank and honest detail about just how dark things got away from the plaudits and acclaim of professional football.
"I was getting smashed. Really smashed. I can now look back and talk about shitting myself, wetting the bed, having sex with strippers. I thought very little of myself, never had done and drinking shut all that out," he says. "We sent 90,000 words to the publishers and they actually asked for a bit more football."
The book also reflects what Adams sees as the second half of his life and the balance he has found since those days. Having turned 50 late last year, Adams is clearly comfortable in his skin (during the interview he takes long thoughtful pauses and is practically horizontal in his chair), despite, or maybe because of the dark places he has been. "My alcoholism was an illness. It was in my DNA, my genes. Both my parents were addicts and I have an addictive personality."
"I was captain of Arsenal and England's centre-half. I walked down Oxford Street and not one person bothered me."
Now helping to develop football clubs (Granada were relegated but Adams will continue to work there), Adams is quick to look out for the pitfalls lying in wait for today's players. "To be a footballer you have to be a certain type, you have to walk that tightrope near the addictive gene to make it into the pro game. It is unhealthy the way you have to push yourself and your body.
"From game to game to game to game. Training, under pressure, scrutinised, go again, win again. It's hard. The physical and emotional pressure is immense and so if they have no outlet, if they aren't talking to people, then soon there will be problems."
For so long and certainly in Adams' day, football refused to acknowledge such problems, even encouraging players to go and get drunk together. That culture may no longer exist but Adams is under no illusions that players today face their own set of challenges.
"In 1987, I was captain of Arsenal and England's centre-half," he recalls. "I walked down Oxford Street and not one person bothered me. Not one. Today I would be mobbed and asked for selfies. That has brought a level of fear to today's player and with that fear he has become detached from reality and the public.
"Players have become more insular and that in itself brings demons. They can bet on their laptops or iPads. Gambling is a huge problem within the game. Online porn. Things like that. These are still drugs though and whilst players are no longer harming their bodies, they are addicted to things and their mental states are suffering. They are young men, with time on their hands, they can't drink to the levels that my lot did, but there are dangers out there that they face and to suggest otherwise would be foolish."
Adams is also quick to address mental health issues that have become less and less taboo within the masculine world of football. "Look at Aaron Lennon [who was sectioned under the mental health act in May this year]. A nice, dedicated young footballer but none of us know what is going on inside. We are all vulnerable and all insecure."
"Look across society. Actors, journalists, lawyers, everyone is susceptible to the problems these guys face. The difference is, the postman or the train driver doesn't end up on the front page of a national tabloid. People then think, oh football has a problem but it doesn't. It's just a reflection of society but by addressing it, the game can be a powerful tool for good."
Adams - through his charity and the 100 or so seminars they give to young sportsmen and women a year - is helping the cause and he's optimistic about a future where these issues are addressed. Is he as optimistic about his own future?
"I tend not to look back," he says. "My medals are locked away. I'm here now, I'm talking to you, even if it is crap, it doesn't matter, I'm enjoying it. If I do get the fear, it is about the future. The unknown. I guess I like to be in control."
No longer a UK resident (before Spain, Adams worked in Holland and Azerbaijan) Adams has seen first-hand how the country he proudly captained is viewed abroad. "I'm less optimistic about that. From a football coach's point of view, they don't think we're very good and that hurts but there are also other factors. Brexit. You sit and talk to people and whilst they recognise our strengths and weaknesses you sense the world is disappointed in us for that decision."
Our interview draws to an end and even the lack of those suits can't detract from talking to a fascinating and happy man who's faced life's highs and lows, but would he change any of them? "What you have to remember is I was very successful in my chosen career. I captained my club and my country and so no I wouldn't. Get on with it. My mistakes have made me who I am today. I met my first wife in black out, got married, it was a five year, very difficult relationship but you know what, I have two beautiful children with her. Am I going to change that, no of course I'm not. No regrets."
Sober, by Tony Adams with Ian Ridley (Simon and Schuster), is out now.