Roptherham United: Why Millers boss decided to stay

Millers manager Steve Evans and chairman Tony Stewart
Millers manager Steve Evans and chairman Tony Stewart
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There were a few reasons why Steve Evans decided not to swap the New York Stadium for Sheffield 6.

Chief among them was the relationship with, and support from, his chairman Tony Stewart.

In fact, the Millers manager has regularly banged on about how good a chairman he has; how Tony Stewart has backed him; how they have established an excellent working relationship.

Indeed, Evans was praising Stewart even before he landed the Rotherham job!

When the Millers played at Crawley in March 2012, there was Evans - in his programme notes as Crawley manager - extolling the virtues of the Rotherham United chairman. Just two weeks later, Evans was being installed as Millers manager!

“When you move, pick your chairman,” Evans, at the time, said was the tip from one experienced manager. The pair of them haven’t looked back since.

Stewart knew of the baggage Evans carried. But he’d identified him as a ‘winning’ manager. He desperately wanted promotion in the club’s first season in their superb new stadium and felt Evans could deliver. And he’d back him to the hilt.

He did so, a fact Evans regularly acknowledged last season. And promotion was delivered. So, to the next stage of what they have called a ‘project’.

Stewart’s ambition burns for the club to go higher. Evans wants that too. This season has been good so far. The success had been noted elsewhere. Not least by Milan Mandaric.

On Monday evening with Evans suddenly installed as bookies’ favourite for the Owls job, Stewart was fielding phone calls from the media. He wasn’t fibbing when he said he’d not had contact with Sheffield Wednesday. But what of others?

By accident or design, it was left until late for Stewart to be officially informed a club had requested permission to speak to Evans.

Chairman and manager, who meet or speak every day, arranged to meet early the next morning.

Stewart didn’t want to lose his man just like that. But, in offering Evans the chance to talk to the other club he was, in effect, offering him the chance to walk out.

Evans, with the unequivocal and generous support from his chairman and the ‘project’ they’d just started, decided the relationship counted for something.

Leave and his regular paeans would have seemed like hollow words. And who knows what he thought about any long term future at a club with its ownership up for grabs.

The pair shook hands. Evans went off and informed his staff and players he wasn’t leaving. Another bookies’ favourite had crashed. Somehow, it always seemed a non-starter!