Evans above contrition, but not the law
“It won’t change the passion and the drive and commitment that I have“. Rotherham manager Steve Evans there, speaking of the result of his latest brush with the FA, the small matter of a six-match stadium ban and £3000 fine (not a six-month ban, as the Independent seem to be reporting – nothing like a good sub-editor, is there?). The loveable rogue was found guilty of using “abusive and insulting words and behaviour towards a participant in or around the dressing room area at the end of the fixture which did include a reference to gender” following an ill-tempered meeting between his former side Crawley and Bradford City last season. If the Daily Heil‘s to be believed (very questionable, that), then his main offence was to expose himself to a female employee of the home side.
I use the phrase “latest brush with the FA” advisedly, as Evans is indisputably British football’s most regular recidivist (yes, even worse than Joey Barton), the bete noire of the lower leagues and someone whom even Mark Clemmit seems wary of getting pally with. His Wikipedia page reads more like a rap sheet: fines for abusive language and expulsions from the dug-out here, ten-game bans and being escorted off the premises by the police there. And that’s not to mention his suspended prison sentence and 20-month ban from all football for helping Boston to cheat their way to promotion to the Football League through contract irregularities. You have to concede that Evans is probably right – if the punishments meted out for previous misdemeanours haven’t led to contrition and him changing his ways by this point, then it’s hardly likely that this most recent slap on the wrist will have much impact either. Perhaps someone should point out to him, though, that he seems to be confusing showing passion, drive and commitment with being a nasty, bullying scumbag.
Given that Evans is no stranger to spells on the sidelines, he’s probably well versed in finding ways to keep himself occupied by now. But just in case he does find himself at a loose end, here are a few suggestions for things to do:
1. The stadium ban only refers specifically to those at which Rotherham’s first team are playing – he’s still at liberty to take in matches elsewhere. So how’s about paying a visit to former club Crawley, who are very much enjoying life up in League One without him, while Rotherham face an uphill struggle even to escape League Two?
2. Since their Live and Loud tour promising top-quality banter was cancelled due to poor ticket sales (clearly those “dark forces“ at work again), Richard Keys and Andy Gray – aka Keysy and Grayey – have no doubt been desperately looking for a leg up back into the limelight. A footballing man with a nice line in Neanderthal sexist abuse and plenty of time on his hands, Evans could be just the likeminded individual to join forces with the duo (who single-handedly made Sky Sports what it is today, you know) and help them back into a position of national media prominence (talkSPORT doesn’t count). Together, the threesome would absolutely smash it. Roy Chubby Brown, Jim Davidson and Bernard Manning to be confirmed as support acts.
3. Aggressive, abusive, boorish, opinionated, not in attendance at matches – why, it would seem a career as a messageboard troll awaits.
4. Given the harsh reality of the current economic climate, there’s surely a call for someone who can dispense sage advice about the art of tax avoidance. Perhaps he could team up with Jimmy Carr.
5. With Rotherham being home to Jamie Oliver’s original Ministry of Food, Evans could toddle off down there and take up cooking. His nosh might not be up to scratch, but his history of potty-mouthed rants would have Gordon Ramsay running scared, at least. He could also get one over on Ramsay by being able to boast genuinely of having had a proper professional playing career.
6. Above all, Evans should just relax and enjoy himself, safe in the knowledge that he doesn’t have to witness first-hand any more “wholly unacceptable” 6-2 thrashings for at least the next few weeks. Though perhaps when even your chairman is confidently declaring that your absence from the dug-out will be no great loss, you should be a bit worried…
(If you want a properly considered piece on Steve Evans’ appointment as manager of Rotherham, David Rawson’s eloquent and elegiac post from April is essential reading.)