ROTHERHAM United manager Steve Evans left everyone in the dark over whether he had been banned from the touchline at Tuesday’s home game with Exeter City.
Evans is a touchline presence and quite an animated and vociferous one as Millers fans - not to mention referees, fourth officials and players - have come to recognise.
It was one of his side’s biggest games of the season and when Rotherham scored inside the first 90 seconds it was expected Evans would be on the touchline celebrating the goal. He was nowhere to be seen.
He was up in the Directors Box sitting alongside club chairman Tony Stewart which, for someone so committed to a touchline berth, seemed a little perplexing.
Afterwards, in the post-match media conference, Evans was initially asked about it and replied: “I was in the Directors Box, alongside the chairman and Brendan Rodgers (Liverpool manager) - who was gobsmacked with the stadium, by the way - to look at different things and I’m glad I did.
“Somebody said to me I was going to do it at Morecambe but somebody said go up there tonight and have a look, so I did so on Tuesday and saw some delightful passages of play. I might be up there on Saturday; I might not,” he added.
I took up the questioning and this was the exchange that followed.
Les Payne: Steve, we wondered where you were when the first goal went in because you weren’t out celebrating on the touchline and there’s a rumour going around that you’d been asked by the FA to take a seat upstairs, ie you’re touchline banned. Any comment?
Evans (laughing): You can write that if you want Les, that’s up to you.
LP: But is that true or not?
SE: You write it if you want to write it.
LP: You’re not confirming it or denying it?
SE: I don’t talk about the FA; if I do, I get fined; I’m not even allowed to talk about them, they’ve told me that. I’m not here to talk about them.
LP: What I’m saying is ‘Were you up in Directors’ Box because of a touchline ban?’
SE: I would have been up in the Directors’ Box even if I didn’t have a touchline ban.
LP: So, you did have one then?
SE: You can say that.
LP: But you’re not?
SE: (laughing) It’s cryptic man, isn’t he?
LP: So, you’re not confirming you’ve had a touchline ban? Is it one game or two?
SE: Listen, I wanted to be up there tonight. If I want to be down there (on the touchline) on Saturday, I’ll be down there. You make of it what you want?
LP: (pretending to start writing and then speaking aloud what he’s ‘writing’)... “Steve Evans has an eight-match touchline ban...” as laughing engulfs the room.