Steve Evans is now one of the longest-serving managers in the Championship, and it’s all because he listened to some fatherly advice.
The Rotherham United boss has enjoyed a rapid rise up the footballing pyaramid, culminating in the last three years with the Millers, where he has engineered two promotions and then kept them in the second tier.
And he revealed that the words of his father fired the ambition which has helped him become such a success since he started out at Stamford in the United Counties Football League Premier Division in the 1990s.
“My dad’s dead many years now, but I was always brought up with a very positive mum and dad,” Evans said.
“My dad used to say to me, ‘If you aim for the sun, Son, and you hit the clouds, you’ve done all right’.
“If you don’t aim very high, you won’t get very high.”
Of all the managers who will start out in the Championship on August 8, only MK Dons’ Karl Robinson will have been at his club for longer than Evans has served the Millers.
Evans hopes one day to manage in the Premier League, but he will never forget his humble origins as a boss.
“I’m proud to have come from non-league,” said Evans, who led Crawley Town into the Football League before being hired by Rotherham chairman Tony Stewart.
“I’m now one of the longest-serving managers in the Championship. I think that’s more by default than anything else! I’m immensely proud. I said it on my Pro Licence course recently, I think it gives any manager at any level an aim for starters.
The Millers begin the next second-tier campaign at home to Robinson’s Dons, with the Rotherham manager, who has spent some of his summer on his Pro Licence qualification, appreciating the challenge of the division perhaps more than the man who will be in the opposition dugout at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
“We’ve learned lots and lots. We learned more last year than in any other year,” Evans said.
“The journey in recent times, coming from League Two to League One to the Championship, has taught me that you come to the Championship and realise it really is the biggest jump of all, bar the one which I hope to make in my career, from the Championship to the Premier League.”