Thursday, 11 September 2014

Football needs characters like Steve Evans

I have never met Steve Evans even though he used to manage Crawley Town just five minutes down the road from where I now live. Still, from his many interviews and comments from players and managers in the game you can't help but be impressed by Rotherham Utd's chief. Football is a game of the people and characters and Steve has the kind of personality that you'll find hard to ignore.

Why is that? Well, it's the joy that you can see that he clearly gets out of seeing his players do well and I actually believe he loves to be the underdog. We've seen it in Crawley's great FA Cup run when they came up against Man Utd a few years back, and we saw it last season when he almost lost his trousers in celebrating the play-off win against Leyton Orient! While he is now becoming one of those managers who has moved up the leagues by winning promotion, he is still that firey Scot that learned how to manage players in the hard-school of non-league. Just like Eddie Howe, he seems to like a challenge - having dropped down a league when he left Crawley to pick up Rotherham Utd in April 2012 and what a brilliant success he has made of that! 

Evans is not short of ever having a word to say and while that has landed him in trouble in the past he seems to be very content at the Millers and is more usually seen with a smile on his face these days. He has plenty to smile about as his record just gets better having won 60 of the 120 matches he has been in charge at Rotherham. His teams also play attractive football and he simply has the knack of winning games or perhaps we do him a disservice, because he is tactically more astute than most as his record shows.

What makes me feel that good managers succeed though is stories like Steve Evans. He knows what makes a good player and when he sees one, like Matt Tubbs or Steve Fletcher, or any number of players that are on his books today he gets them to play well for him. Players even want to go back to play for him as he is an endearing character. 

Now that he has reached the Championship there will be more pressure on him, but I reckon Steve will laugh it off on camera, even though behind the scenes he is working as hard as any manager you care to think of. Rotherham fans should be pleased that they have a winner and a man who does it with a great big smile on his face. He may not be everyone's cup of tea, but he gets results, and let's face it that is what most chairman want isn't it?

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