You’ve probably clicked on this hoping for some retained news, but I’m not talking about Lincoln players at all. Luckily, you can breathe easily though knowing our old enemy Steve Evans isn’t leaving Mansfield.
After publically kicking off this week like a petulant child, he has been promised more money to spend on sweets than all the other kids. He was quite forthright, hoping next season not to rely on his managerial prowess, but his chairman’s money to ensure a promotion bid.
He told BBC Radio Nottingham:
“I need to be sure I get supported to build a promotion squad. The first meeting I have to have is to sit down with the chairman and chief executive and make sure their ambition levels are where mine are. They have never ever flinched with anything I have asked, but I need to understand their ambitions. If they are at my level then we go forward together, if they aren’t then it’s a separate conversation.”
Now you have to understand, it is not the chairman looking after the manager here. Steve is (apparently) a sought after man, and he’s adamant he shouldn’t even be managing in League Two, and in failing to get promoted this season he was only reaping what his predecessor (Boston manager Adam Murray) sowed.
“The football club stayed in League Two this season because the recruitment last summer was pretty horrendous. We have the opportunity to keep everyone, so I will sit down with the staff and chairman but I will make the final decisions on who stays and who goes.”
Crucially he added:
“I am not a League Two manager and I am not here to be in League Two.”
This all comes amidst rumour of a move by Swindon for the non-League Two manager (also in League Two). I suspect as a bigger club they are more of a fit for his ambitions. Luckily (?) for Stags fans, the chairman John Radford isn’t in the mood to lose his superstar manager anytime soon.
“We are targeting automatic promotion. Steve will have my full backing to do what is required to give us the best possible chance of delivering promotion to League One.”
That’s a relief. For one awful minute I didn’t think we were going to get the chance to watch him humiliated as League Two gobbles him up and confirms that, in fact, he is a League Two manager. Unfortunately we won’t get to see that without money, he isn’t even a good League Two manager. Radford continued:
“Our meeting went very well as expected. Steve was in buoyant mood, great spirits and typically passionate and determined as we spoke about our plans to make the Stags bigger, better and stronger. He has a series of meetings tomorrow (Wednesday) with current players and our retained list will be announced soon after those meetings have been conducted.”
Phew, crisis averted eh? I mean, where would Lincoln City (and me) be without a few axes to grind with current managers? I’ll find it hard enough with Hill, Cooper and of course Kinnear to lay into every week or so, but I’m delighted that the League One manager will be remaining in League Two.
Interestingly Steve Evans has spent a majority of his managerial career in League Two, so he isn’t actually correct. Firstly I’d say by managing a team in League Two, and failing to get promoted, you’re probably a League Two manager. Also if you’ve managed Crawley in League Two, Boston in League Two, Rotherham in League Two and now Mansfield in League Two, you’re probably a League Two manager.
He has only ever truly won things because he has had grotesque budgets. At Crawley he signed Matt Tubbs for £70k, Sergio Torres for a then-record £100k (in the Conference), and Richard Brodie for an undisclosed fee estimated to be £275,000. Think about that, he boasts a Conference title having spent almost half a million pounds on three players. He had a League One budget in the Conference, and when they came up he continued to spend.
In fact when Crawley got promoted in 2012 he jumped ship before they wrapped up promotion, oddly saying “In my opinion, how far can I take Crawley Town? League One certainly, but beyond that I was not so sure”. So before he’d ever managed outside of League Two, he was resigning through a lack of ambition. It’s a bit like working at McDonalds all your life, then resigning because they’re never going to get a Michelin star. The truth was millionaire owner Bruce Winfield passed away, and instead of buying Crawley began selling, specifically Matt Tubbs (£800,000) and Tyrone Barnett (£1.1m). Anarchy descended as the manager failed to control his players, with three of them involved in a post-match brawl against Bradford City. He didn’t even wait to get the trophy, he went to Rotherham in April 2012. This is a Rotherham that had just been relegated, and here was Crawley, just promoted. Not a League Two manager? He was doing a good job of trying to stay as one, at least for a year.
Let’s face it, nobody expected him to get the Leeds job, least of all him. I’ll acknowledge a couple of decent years with Rotherham, but up until winning the title with them (on a big budget) in 2013 Steve Evans hadn’t spent one of his 16 years of management anywhere other than League Two or the non-league.
I suppose it begs the question now; When is a League Two manager, not a League Two manager?
I’ll leave that one for the philosophers amongst you to work out.