Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans has managed to rile Lincoln City fans once again, this time without saying a word.
The controversial Scot seems to have become something of a celebrity since we’ve been out of the league. Play-off success at Rotherham and a predictably short spell at Leeds United have turned him into Sky Sports ‘go to’ guy, and yesterday as the fixtures were announced he’d been squeezed into a suit and rolled out for the cameras.
When asked who he thought might give Mansfield some trouble he didn’t have to say Lincoln, there’s no law saying we will be battling in the top ten. However, his decision to pick out Forest Green as having come up and ‘having resources’ irked many Imps fans on social media. Why would he pick the play-off winners out, a side well adrift of the title race? Surely if anyone from the National League was likely to do well, it would be the FA Cup quarter finalists and 99 point champions wouldn’t it?
It isn’t surprising that Evans picked out the teams with money, as that has been his only real route to success over the years. He got Boston promoted to the Football League in 2002, but it wasn’t via good, honest endeavour as we have just witnessed at the Bank. Evans was suspended by Boston as manager on 4 July 2002 prior to his first season as a Football League manager due to irregularities springing from the title win. He was found guilty by The FA in December 2002 of impeding an FA inquiry and he was then suspended from the game for 20 months in January 2003 for his involvement in the contract scandal at Boston. Evans was also accused of impeding the inquiry and fined £8,000. As we took to the field in the play-off final against Bournemouth, he was unsuccessfully appealing his conviction.
If we thought that was the end of him, we were wrong. Just like a comedy Bond villain he rocked back up at Boston as soon as his ban was over, and entered into another financial storm. In 2006 he pleaded guilty to tax evasion and was fined £1000 with a one-year suspended sentence. After their 2007 relegation from the Football League he pledged his future to Boston, only to resign three weeks later.
During his spell at York Street he was never kind about Lincoln, Keith Alexander nor John Schofield. He always received a barrage of abuse from Imps fans, and in January 2007 he accused John Schofield of being a ‘soap opera scout’, going on to claim whilst he put the miles in looking for players, Schoey just sat back and monitored who Boston signed. His anger came from us signing Dany N’Guessan from Rangers after a loan spell at Boston.
The war of words quietened somewhat as he went to Crawley and we went to the dogs. He managed to get them promoted with a disproportionate budget to their status, replacing us in the league in 2011. Once the money stopped flowing at Crawley he went to Rotherham, where (in fairness) he had a good spell taking them to the Championship, although ironically his best player was Lee Frecklington, a player he’d first seen in a Lincoln shirt playing for John Schofield.
Since May our attention has turned once again to the toad-like Scot and his brash statements. He threatened Mansfield Town ahead of pre-season, essentially saying if he didn’t have the biggest budget in League Two he would leave. John Radford came up with a war-chest not out of place in League One, and once again Evans started to try and buy his way to success. He caused a great amount of anger amongst Imps support by grabbing Lee Angol from under our noses, and neither he nor Caroline Radford mentioned Lincoln City in their statements. Our role in bringing Angl to the fore should not be under estimated, six goals in twelve games was a good return. I wonder if he first noticed Angol at Peterborough, or if he picked him up after seeing his name pop up on his iPad as he watched Eastenders, or Take the High Road.
Since then Evans has steadfastly declined to mention Lincoln at all, nor Danny and Nicky. Whilst the rest of the football world have gushed about our achievements, Evans seems unable to acknowledge two people could get promotion from the National League by means other than spending, and he is loathe to give credit where it is due.
On September 16th be sure to give him a warm welcome won’t you? I hear Monopoly money isn’t too expensive on eBay.