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Roy Quintin Echlin Evans CBE (born 4 October 1948 in Bootlemarker, Englandmarker) was a Liverpool football player who eventually rose through the coaching ranks to become team manager.

Career

An England schoolboy international, Evans was a defender who was a long way down the pecking order at Liverpool in the 1960s and 1970s—he also spent the summer of the 1973 in the North American Soccer League with the Philadelphia Atoms. Liverpool manager Bill Shankly saw something different in Evans, suggesting that he tried a career as a coach.

So began a long run through the rankings at Liverpool, starting as a coach under Bill Shankly, who retired in 1974 to be succeeded by assistant Bob Paisley. When Paisley retired in 1983, his own assistant Joe Fagan was promoted to the manager's seat. Fagan retired after two seasons to be succeeded by striker Kenny Dalglish (who was appointed player-manager), and Evans was now coaching under his fourth manager. When Dalglish quit in 1991, Evans found himself on the coaching staff of his fifth Liverpool manager in 18 years—Graeme Souness, a former Liverpool player who had previously been manager of Rangers.

With long-time first-team coach Ronnie Moran was also on board at the same time, this internal coaching system at Liverpool became known as The Boot Room. Evans is the most recent Liverpool manager to graduate from it, while Moran retired in 1999 without ever taking over as manager (although he was caretaker for a few weeks in 1991 between Dalglish's resignation and Souness's appointment).

Liverpool manager

On 28 January 1994, Souness quit as Liverpool manager in the wake of a shock FA Cup exit at the hands of Bristol City. Evans then took over as manager of a Liverpool side who were mid-table in the Premier League and out of contention for any major honours, although they were 8th by the end of the season.

For the 1994–95 season, Evans strengthened his side with the addition of defenders John Scales and Phil Babb as well as young striker Mark Kennedy. He also gave further first-team opportunities to youngsters Steve McManaman, Jamie Redknapp and Robbie Fowler, who at the time were among the hottest prospects in English football. Established players such as John Barnes, Mark Wright and Ian Rush blended well with these young stars as Liverpool finished fourth in the Premier League with 74 points and triumphed in the Football League Cup, beating Bolton Wanderers 2–1 with two McManaman goals, and winning the competition for a record fifth time.

Over the summer of 1995, Evans made the headlines by paying a British record fee for Nottingham Forest striker Stan Collymore. Many observers tipped Liverpool to win the Premier League title for that season, particularly as defending champions Blackburnmarker had promoted Kenny Dalglish to Director of Football and appointed the less successful Ray Harford as manager, and runners-up Manchester United had sold three key players and surprisingly relied on young players to fill their place. Although Liverpool looked like contenders during the first stages of the season, the title race had effectively become a Newcastle United-Manchester United contest by Christmas, with Manchester United finally clinching the title. Liverpool, meanwhile, had to settle for third place in the league; any lingering hopes of title glory were finished off towards the end of April with a shock defeat by Coventry City. They did reach the FA Cup final, but lost 1–0 to a late Eric Cantona goal for Manchester United. As United had done the double, Evans and his exciting young team would be competing in the 1996–97 European Cup Winners' Cup. Nonetheless, their League position had improved from 4th to 3rd on the previous attempt. This had happened despite collecting only 71 points; however, the league notably had been reduced by 4 games that season. The 71 points was equivalent to 78.5 points the season before.

Evans strengthened his side with the acquisition of Czechmarker midfielder Patrik Berger over the summer of 1996, but by the end of the 1996–97 season all the talk around Anfieldmarker was about a promising 17-year-old striker, Michael Owen, who had shown tremendous potential in a handful of games for the club. Liverpool had led the Premier League on several occasions before the end of January, but eventually finished fourth while Manchester United clinched the title by a seven-point margin. Their European Cup Winners' Cup adventure ended in the semi-finals when they lost to Paris St Germain. They had also collected 3 points fewer overall, finishing with 68. In the last game the season, Sheffield Wednesday, Owen hit the post late on. Had he scored Liverpool would have finished second and had the opportunity to play in the following season's European Cup.

With Stan Collymore moving to Aston Villa in the close season, Evans did not want to throw Owen into the first team, so he brought in legendary Germanmarker striker Karlheinz Riedle to partner the prolific Robbie Fowler. Liverpool appeared ready to mount a strong title challenge in 1997–98 season. However, an injury to Fowler, that lasted for the majority of the season, prevented the team from making the most of its potential. Owen burst onto the scene with 18 goals in 36 Premier League games. Nevertheless they again collected 3 points fewer than the previous season for the 3rd straight season (65 total) and had to settle for third place in the league and yet another UEFA Cup campaign.

In 1998 Liverpool's longstanding Boot Room coach Ronnie Moran retired and was set to be replaced by Gerrard Houllier for the 1998–99 season onwards. In fact it was decided that Houllier would become joint manager of Liverpool to work alongside Evans, but the arrangement was not a success and Evans resigned in November to leave Houllier in sole charge. Houllier would remain at the club until 2004, collecting one FA Cup, one UEFA Cup and two League Cups in that time.

Liverpool legacy

When Roy Evans took over from Graeme Souness in 1994 the team was in rapid freefall. In his first full season (1994–95) Liverpool finished 4th with 74 points. At this point it seemed that he had successfully reversed the decline that had set in under the Souness regime, and the 'glory days' would soon be returning. However, the team was to finish the next three seasons with three points fewer that the previous season (1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98), suggesting that after an initial 'honeymoon' things quickly stagnated. The period of joint management with Gerard Houllier was a radical effort by the board to reverse that stagnation. By 1998 Evans had successfully assembled a talented nucleus of players, that was particularly impressive going forward.

After Liverpool

Evans, meanwhile, was out of work for over a year. His name was linked with Nottingham Forest following their relegation from the Premier League at the end of the 1998–99 season, but the job went to David Platt instead. His comeback finally came in March 2000 when he became joint caretaker manager of Fulham alongside Karlheinz Riedle until Jean Tigana was given the job a month later.

In June 2001, Evans was named Director of Football at Swindon Town in Division Two, with 33-year-old former Liverpool defender Neil Ruddock as player-coach. But the pair failed to inspire a promotion challenge at the County Ground, and on 20 December 2001 they were succeeded by new manager Andy King.

In November 2004, when former Liverpool striker John Toshack was appointed as the new manager of Wales, Evans accepted an offer to be his assistant.

In February 2007, he accepted an offer to become part-time assistant manager to Brian Carey at League Two strugglers Wrexham, and left at the end of the season after helping Wrexham avoid relegation to the Conference National. After Wrexham escaped relegation from League Two at the end of the 2006–07 season, this agreement was extended.

In 2005 he was awarded with a CBE for services to British football in the Queen's New Years Honours List. As well as his coaching commitments, he also currently acts as a co-commentator for live audio broadcasts of Liverpool matches on the official web site, www.liverpoolfc.tv. Evans also co-operated on his authorised biography, called Ghost On The Wall, which was released at the end of 2004.

Managerial honours

(all with Liverpool)



References

External links




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