ROTHERHAM UNITED: They’ve got passion! says Steve Evans

Colourful character: Rotherham United manager Steve Evans
Colourful character: Rotherham United manager Steve Evans
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something familiar struck Steve Evans the more he has met and talked with Millers followers during these early days of his management at Rotherham United.

“It reminded me of being back in Glasgow, they’re the same type of people,” said the 49-year-old Glaswegian.

“I’m finding these are down-to-earth people from an area with steelworks and heavy industry with a real passion for their football club and it very much reminds me of Glasgow and what you’d find there.”

Evans comes from Cambuslang on the outskirts of Glasgow and was born into a Celtic-supporting family hence his own support for the green and white hoops.

His father was a shipyard welder, a big trade union man, indeed a shop steward... “I can recall him sitting in the house talking union matters with blokes from work,” remembers Steve.

His own footballing career blossomed as a kid and he played in the same Glasgow Schools team as Ally McCoist and Mo Johnston who he was later to share a house with.

Spotted by scouts from Bolton Wanderers, he headed south (ex-Millers ‘keeper Jim McDonagh was there at the time) but failed to breakthrough and went back across the border and was signed at Clyde by Craig Brown, later to be Scotland manager.

He had four further moves (including joining Ayr United for £40,000) before a cruciate knee ligament injury ended his playing days at the tender age of 24.

“I then went into the real world and got a job,” he chuckled.

He went to London to work for American brewery giants Anheuser-Busch (who produce Budweiser) but lived in Peterborough and commuted to the capital daily!

His football-managing career began at Lincolnshire club Stamford who he took to promotion in the second season and got the call to go to Boston United who he took from second bottom to a promotion near-miss and then the title the following season.

After a mid-table finish in the Conference, the chairman decided they’d go full-time and they instantly gained promotion into the Football League although the underhand way it was achieved has been well-documented and Evans, among others, took their punishment.

“To this day I will question my sanity over that,” he says admitting he was guilty of being party to something rather than initiating it. “It was a big mistake and I vowed I would never do anything like it again.”

The financial problems at Boston saw neither him nor players get paid from November onwards: “I was using my own money for petrol for the lads but there was only so long I could do that without telling the wife,” he laughed.

Managing through administration at Boston enabled him to learn more about himself, man-management and staff loyalty.

Come the relegation crunch match on the final day at Wrexham, with the losers going out of the league, Evans was told on the way to the match that the club was going out of business regardless.

He decided it would be best not to tell the players! But they lost 2-1 and went down anyway.

A few days later, he was doing the housework when he got a call out of the blue from Crawley and the rest, as they say, is history!

“I now want success for the Millers,” he says.