Former Leeds United, Rotherham and Crawley Town boss Evans backs Drummy and looks forwards

Steve Evans
Steve Evans

Former Crawley Town manager Steve Evans looks back fondly on his days as Reds’ manager.

During five years at Broadfield Stadium he oversaw two great promotions in successive years from the Conference to League One, and then went on to two more in a row at his next club Rotherham, getting them into the Championship.

He kept them up before eventually becoming manager of one-time Champions League semi-finalists Leeds United.

He was only to stay there for seven months, lifting them up from struggling near the bottom to 13th, before becoming the latest in a series of managers to be sacked by their ambitious owner Massimo Cellino, in May, 2016.

Having just been appointed boss of League Two club Mansfield Town, it was strange his first game in charge was against one of the clubs he did so well with, Crawley Town, last Saturday week.

His arrival has sparked an immediate improvement at the One Call Stadium.

Under previous manager Adam Murray they had won just once in their last 11 games.

However Evans inspired them to a 3-1 win against his former employer Crawley, followed by another win last Tuesday, 1-0 against Blackpool.

He said: “I’ve come up against Crawley on a few occasions now.

“We enjoyed wonderful success there and had as good a time as it is possible to experience.

“All the people change as happens at all football clubs, only the supporters remain.

“It’s a game I always want to do well in. I reflected afterwards that I had just beaten my old team.”

Evans plans to add more promotions to his CV at his new club.

He said: “I have been asked by the chairman (John Radford) to make a difference to the results.

“It is similar to what we had at Rotherham United. It is not going to happen in six weeks and there is no pressure on time to achieve it.

“But as a manager I want to do it earlier rather than later.

“I am still weighing up the players we have here, it’s still early days.

“One or two players are in the side now who weren’t in it and they’re doing OK. I am giving all the players every opportunity to see what they can do. It’s a sad reality of football that if they aren’t good enough, some will go.”

Evans was impressed with his latest successor at Crawley, Dermot Drummy, when they met for a chat after their clash and believes he can do well, given backing.

He said: “Crawley have got a quality manager in Dermot Drummy, who has got a good pedigree, coming from Chelsea.

“When you have got injuries, there’s not much you can do, you just have to try to get through and do your best.

“I had a glass of wine with Dermot afterwards and he is very focussed on what he wants to achieve.

“I just hope he gets the support of the owner in the January transfer window, like myself.

“Crawley have some good players but the club will have to help Dermot strengthen the squad if they want to win promotion, very much like myself.”

Life was not easy in the spotlight for Evans while at Elland Road.

He revealed: “Managing Leeds was like living in a goldfish bowl. The supporters put in their hard-earned money and expect you to win all the time.

“Leeds United is a football club which by tradition is one of the top-six clubs in Britain and top 15 in the world, so it is brilliant to manage at a club like that. The team was struggling when we took over and we improved while we were there but it was tough there.”

Since leaving Leeds, Evans bided his time until the right opportunity came up.

He said: “I could have gone back to the Championship but it would have been firefighing to stay up and I wanted a break.

“Mansfield have given me an opportunity to achieve something special, working for a wealthy man who will support you (John Radford).”

Finally, where does he think both Mansfield and Crawley will finish this season?

He said: “That’s a difficult one - I hope Mansfield will finish in the top-seven. It will take time to assess what we have and what we need to take us up. Hopefully Crawley can finish midtable and enable Dermot to bring in more players next summer. Appointing him as manager was a good decision.”

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