SWANNY’S WORLD OF SPORT: Why I’m glad Steve Evans is the Peterborough United manager

Steve Evans (right) watching Posh beat Walsall. Photo: David Lowndes.
Steve Evans (right) watching Posh beat Walsall. Photo: David Lowndes.
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First an admission in the interests of full disclosure.

I’ve known Steve Evans for over 20 years. I like him as a person. He’s fun and he’s passionate about football at all levels. He’s never forgotten his local managerial roots. He’s never even moved very far away from them.

Steve Evans managing Mansfield earlier this season.

Steve Evans managing Mansfield earlier this season.

I was there on the night Stamford won the United Counties Premier Division title at St Neots two decades ago. He was a noisy presence on the touchline that night, a fact that didn’t endear him to the referee.

Little has changed since. His touchline antics irritate many Football League fans. His conviction for dodgy dealings when at Boston United (12 years ago now) are brought up every time he moves jobs.

But do I care? Not really. He was punished. He served his time away from football and he’s back.

It’s sheer hypocrisy from some Posh fans to treat Evans with a far greater degree of suspiscion than others who have offended when in the same role.

Newsflash. There are few saints in football. It’s a ruthless, cut-throat business which is bound to attract its fair share of charlatans, bounders, bullies and obnoxious characters. Some are even violent.

But most of them are allowed to carry on without the constant abuse. Evans should be given that luxury at the ABAX Stadium.

Mansfield haven’t taken his departure well.

I saw one commentator write about a lack of ‘common, professional decency’ from Evans because he had the temerity to leave ‘the Stags’ within three points of an automatic promotion place in League Two.

They were struggling near the foot of the table when he arrived the previous season.

Loyalty is a rare thing in football. Managers are fired on a whim so why shouldn’t they leave if a bigger and better job arrives?

I’m glad he’s at Posh. He’s worth a shot. He’s won eight promotions if you count his Stamford success including one from League One with a similar-sized club to Posh.

He’s a winner who will discard anyone giving less than 100 per cent effort. He’s no fan of ‘fancy dan’ football or that frustrating modern tactic of passing the ball slowly and backwards.

I want to see some passionate, aggressive performances at the ABAX (on the field, Steve, rather than on the touchline). I want to see some high tempo football rather than the slow-witted stuff I’ve witnessed far too often this season and Evans will provide it.

He’ll have my backing and not just because he is a local reporter’s dream, an old-fashioned boss who will speak freely and offer opinions rather than hide away as soon as you write something he doesn’t agree with.

Evans is thick-skinned enough not to need my support against the naysayers (who will slink off into the shadows when Posh start winning regularly), but he’s getting it anyway.

He should also have yours