This site’s love affair with Steve Evans has been turbulent, with plenty to keep me angry and agitated throughout the season.
Ultimately, the outspoken boss probably helped us to a play off place, ensuring both Mansfield and Swindon lost form at the crucial moment and we snuck in under the radar. The harsh truth is we were perhaps a season too early for the top seven, a work in progress that deserved eighth or ninth. Evans at least gave us a day out in Exeter.
Now, the Radfords have been giving their verdict on Steve’s departure from Mansfield for China, sorry Peterborough, and how they were shocked at the lack of loyalty in football.
Speaking to The Chad, John explained exactly how Steve came to leave the club.
“We went up to see him after the Coventry game and chatted. Everything was very positive but the body language was a bit wrong. He sat there with arms folded and he didn’t look us in the eye.”
Even with Steve’s history, there was no alarm bells.
“But we didn’t see it coming. We thought he was here to stay. He then rang me and said, ‘chairman it’s getting a bit much for me, I am going to go and work out in China and I need to resign’.”
Hang on, China? Surely he doesn’t think Peterborough is in China, does he? That’s a bit out of the blue isn’t it? Well, because you know what I’m like, I decided to have a look at China’s top flight to see which clubs didn’t have managers on the date Steve was handing in his notice. Even if it wasn’t the top division, I’ve even scoured their first division too, just in case.
Only three managers have been appointed in the Chinese Super League since Steve resigned on February 27th. On March 20th, Dalian Yifang brought in former Real Madrid boss Bernd Schuster, but his predecessor was sacked on the same day so it wasn’t them. Jiangsu Suning swapped Fabio Capello for Cosma Olaruio but again, that was well after Steve resignation.
Henan Jianye sacked their manager on April 26th, by which time Evans had already cost both Peterborough and Mansfield their play off places, meaning if he was on the move it would be to the Chinese League One, or their second division. We’ll look at that in a moment, but first of all, let’s listen to poor John Radford, the man whose money was ultimately wasted this season on a futile promotion attempt.
“When a manager resigns, you can’t resign to go to another club. There is a bit of etiquette and everything there. If they are having a bit of a life crisis and they are going to work in China or somewhere else, that’s fine.”
In the Chinese League One I can only imagine Dalian Transcendence might have been in touch. They still had Li Guoxu in charge when Evans resigned his post, but maybe they’d lined him up as a replacement? Instead they settled for Dželaludin Muharemović on April 11th, the same day they dismissed their manager, again a while after Steve’s offer to work in China.
I also feel a bit for Steve, because he must have done an awful lot of work to set up his China move. After all, getting a permit to work in China is not easy. You can only work in China if you have a Z visa – tourist and business visit visas don’t allow you to do so. You must also hold a valid work permit. Violation of Chinese immigration laws can result in severe penalties, including imprisonment, fines, deportation, a travel ban preventing you from leaving China, and an exclusion order, which prevents you from returning. Phew. Good job Peterborough saved him then.
Caroline Radford picks up the story; “When you come to football from a normal business, you realise football is such a unique business. The loyalty factor – it’s a cliché there is no loyalty in football. Then when it actually happens to you, you don’t believe people are like that. We did everything we could do. Everybody at this football club went above and beyond the call of duty. We gave him everything he wanted as you can’t give managers any excuses.“
“But no manager is bigger than a football club and I believe what goes around comes around.”
Read the full story, minus the interesting insight into China’s managerial vacancies, here.
Thus ends our season of love with Steve Evans. From his early claims of grandeur, his less than gracious attitude after the EFL Trophy defeat and of course his victory over us in the league, it’s been a long-running feud that, ultimately, only we have been truly aware of. We wish Peterborough United fans all the best over the coming season of course and the same to Darragh MacAnthony, a chairman I actually have a bit of respect for. They’re going to need it.