Evans’ Crawl£y take on pub team!
Albion getting the better of a Steve Evans side has always provided the Brewers faithful with a double dose of delight, ever since he labelled us as a “pub team” during his Boston United days.
Saturday marks a reunion of the notorious motor-mouth manager and the Brewers.
Admittedly, Evans isn’t the most popular figure in football and it hasn’t taken long for the Scot to plummet down in the estimation of League Two fans. But the fact is, Albion are one of a sparse few teams whose clashes with the now Crawley boss stem from deep into the depths of non-league.
When Evans opens his mouth, it is invariably with the intent to spout some ill-informed nonsense. His irrational words also have a canny tendency to backfire and leave him with egg on his face.
When Albion were Dr Martins League promotion hopefuls in the early Clough years, they drew Conference high-flyers Boston in the FA Cup. Boston manager at the time, Evans must’ve been expecting a landslide of goals and a cricket score victory for his side. After the Pilgrims stuttered to a one-apiece draw on home turf, he barked “It was like playing a pub team at times”.
Typical Evans. What an outrageous remark. In true poetical justice, it backfired massively. Clough’s braves toppled Evans’ flops 3-2 in the Eton Park replay. Sweet revenge. It was before my football obsession took off, but apparently the Burton Mail’s match report headline was “Pub Team 3 Boston 2”. Classic!
League clubs think they’ve had it tough with the Red Devils’ chief, but in reality, he’s barely scratched the surface in the professional game. Yes, we all recall the infamous Boston United “brown envelope” fraud debacle, but apart from the odd ridiculous sentence or ten, Evans has been moderately kind to those lucky enough to have lived a long-term Football League existence.
You’d think he’d learn from his countless mistakes, but he doesn’t. We all remember the feeble attempt of mind games with Paolo di Canio, where he described Swindon as “the di Canio circus”. Then there was Paolo’s hilarious, supposedly accidental insult. “Who?” asked a confused di Canio. “Steve Evans” said the reporter. “Who?” repeated di Canio. “STEVE EVANS” grunted the reporter. “I have not heard that name,” claimed the Swindon boss! He went on to say, in a nutshell, that Evans was simply one of millions of fans from around the world, only mentioning him for media attention. That was brilliant. I listened back to that a few hundred times!
Of course, as the whole football community can recollect vividly, Swindon destroyed Crawley 3-0 in their own back yard. Evans made to look the prize fool. He must surely be used to this demeaning emotion by now? Maybe his face will one day remain red after it reaches the limit of self-imposed embarrassment?!
Up until THE interview, di Canio had divided opinions within League Two. However, the minute his Evans outburst made its way onto the web, he soared to cult-hero status. Says a lot.
It’s a somewhat unfortunate situation for Crawley. They aren’t a bad club. But they’ve tried to buy success and, coupled with their controversial manager, they’re destined for total hatred from the footballing world.
It speaks volumes that most neutrals were keen to see a Manchester United hand out a truly convincing pasting to Crawley when the sides met in the FA Cup last campaign. After all, Man U are probably the most hated team in England. Well, they were up until the emergence of Crawley!
Surprisingly, incredibly, unthinkably, Evans has actually said a few nice things about Burton this week. “Albion are a team of excellent players with a top class manager in Paul Peschisolido.
“I am giving a warning to our players and supporters that we must respect fully our opposition on Saturday. Albion are in a great run of form and this will be a real test for all of us.
“Any team in League 2 that can beat the likes of Swindon, Rotherham, Bristol Rovers and Southend deserve to be challenging for promotion. They have some top quality players and the club is well run from top to bottom with an owner who backs his managers .
“We will need to be at our best to get the result we want. I need our top players to be at their best on the day for that to happen. I look at Albion and I see quality players in every position. This is another big match for us but we are in great form ourselves.” (courtesy of crawleytownfc.com)
Flattering indeed, Mr Evans!
Whether the above was spoken with 100% sincerity, I don’t know. Is it mind games? Not a bad assessment for a pub team, it must be said.
Our nice easy game at Crawley should be a decent encounter. It looks like we’ll have to do it without the goal machine Billy Kee. Blow. But I’d like to see the Lionel Messi-alternative Andres Gurrieri given a starting role to rip into the Red Devils’ backline with his South American flair.
A win would be fantastic, but I think we’d all be content with a point. So a draw, followed by the customary “They celebrated like they’d won the World Cup” observation from gob-almighty, would do nicely.