Crawley Town have announced the departure of manager Steve Evans to fellow League Two club Rotherham United. Evans leaves the Broadfield Stadium after five years at the club, overseeing Crawley’s promotion from the Conference last season. However, the controversial character has his dissenters – and it’s easy to see why.
As manager of Boston United, Evans was prosecuted for tax evasion and suspended from the game for 20 months. In February 2006 he was escorted from Grimsby Town’s Blundell Park at half-time after abusing the fourth official. Evans has received numerous touchline fans and his aggressive tactics have earned him a fair few enemies. Although his managerial ability and past promotions impress some fans, there are bound to be a section of Rotherham supporters who feel that their club has chosen the wrong man to succeed Andy Scott, sacked in March.
Crawley’s 2-1 win over Barnet today suggests that the club will not miss Evans, but whether the Red Devils can continue to push for promotion remains to be seen. The club is well-placed to jump into the automatic promotion places – Crawley’s superior goal difference means that a win in their game in hand on Torquay would move them above the Devon club with just four games left to play.
Evans’ decision to leave a club apparently on the up has been seen by some to be a strange one. Rotherham trail Crawley by 14 points and sit in tenth place, with slim hopes of making the play-offs. Crawley’s benefactors also ensure that they are among the richest clubs in the league, making Evans’ decision to swap clubs harder to understand.
Some have suggested that his move may have something to do with Rotherham’s new stadium, which they are due to move into next season, but the Scot’s relationship with the Crawley board may have played a bigger role. Evans and his assistant manager Paul Raynor were said to be unhappy at their board’s decision to sell leading scorers Matt Tubbs and Tyrone Barnett in recent months, leaving their side devoid of firepower. Evans’ departure also comes amid rumours that Crawley are to be hit with a points deduction related to their finances, and some have questioned the club’s ability to stay in business should their benefactors pull out unexpectedly.
Evans has attracted controversy throughout his managerial career and is one of English football’s biggest villains, but his departure could cost Crawley dear as they aim for a second consecutive promotion.