Managers Countdown: Roy Evans
No.9 | Roy Evans | Manager July to December 2001 | Score 326
I can hear you say What the f#@k! Roy Evans is number eight!
First off I would have never put Roy Evans as our eighth most successful manager. However, as his statistics will show, Roy’s short tenure of 21 League matches epitomised the ‘average’ Swindon manager, which then added to his record as Swindon’s only unbeaten FA Cup manager, shows why, even if you disagree, he’s 8th in this list. Perhaps it’s a case of lies, damn lies and statistics…
After the ousting of Andy King by incoming chairman Danny Donegan, he went for the big name, an obvious move befitting of his high opinion of himself, signing former Liverpool boss Roy Evans as Director of Football. With ‘Razor’ Ruddock at his side, Roy’s top level experience was hoped to ignite media and supporters interest in a club that had lost it’s way a long time ago.
The 2001/2002 season started slowly with a winless opening 3 games followed by 11 points from 15 to take Town to just outside the play-offs. Afterwards Town couldn’t get any sort of positive form going, regularly being beaten by some of the division’s better sides Cardiff 3-0, Stoke 3-0, QPR 4-0 and limping on in the League.
In the cups Evans led Town to some respectable results. Firstly, Town narrowly exited the League Cup in the 2nd Round after extra time at West Brom, then beat Hartlepool and Hereford in FA Cup home ties, leaving Evans as our only unbeaten FA Cup manager, even if it was just 2 matches and hardly against the best of opposition.
Soon Roy found out the many promises made would turn out to be false. With, it seems, all the budget spent by the club on his and Razor’s wages, Evans was unable to rebuild the squad. Including Ruddock, Roy was only able to make five signings – Berti Brayley, Paul Edwards plus loanees Jo Kuffour and Wayne Carlisle – hardly the quality of player perhaps initially expected would arrive, and not even a Liverpool player on loan!
It all fell apart when the previous board took the club to court. When the court agreed that Donegan’s rise to chairman was illegal, Donegan was sent packing and soon the awful financial situation unraveled. As Swindon become the first in history to enter administration for a second time Evans decides to walk away, unable to work in Division Two and clearly not willing to do so without substantial financial backing.
On leaving a penniless Swindon on the 20th December 2001 Evans had secured an FA Cup 3rd Round tie away to Manchester City, however in the League Town were 16th with 27 points and in real danger of being sucked into a long relegation battle. In steps the returning Andy King smoking a cigar…
Good, Bad or Ugly – Bad – I appreciate Roy Evans was brought to Swindon under false pretenses by Donegan, however by leaving after the finances unravelled, he proved he couldn’t work without a cheque book in hand in the lower leagues. Such lack of commitment doesn’t go down well with me. Stripping away cups from this countdown Evans would be sitting 18th.
- Leagues: 1 season in Division Two
- FA Cup: 2 ties & 2 tie wins | Best 2nd Round in 2001/2002
- League Cup: 2 ties & 1 tie wins | Best 2nd Round in 2001/2002
- Achievements: Finding Neil Ruddock large enough shorts so that he could make his debut against Colchester and Swindon’s only unbeaten FA Cup manager.
|League Pld||Won||Drn||Lst||For||Agg||League Pts||P/G||League Score||FAC Score||FLC Score|
|TOTAL SCORE: 326.0|
Click here for a full list of the managers in the countdown so far and their scores, including an explanation of how the scoring works.
Roy Evans decision to leave the club was based on protecting the club and the fans that follow us from further commercial meltdown. He was genuinely upset about the circumstances in which he left. I seem to recall he left without seeking any kind of pay-off or recompense. I could be wrong but I’m pretty certain that was the case.
I bumped into Roy at a sporting dinner a few years back and we talked at length about his time with Swindon Town. He really enthused about his time with us, about the ‘good people of Swindon’ and showed a genuine enthusiasm for discussing what the future was from my fans-eye perspective. Even if it was all blarney, the fact he was polite, interested and showed genuine remorse regarding the clubs fall from grace meant a great deal.
Defo not our 8th Best for the reasons you state but (IMO) certainly could have become a legend with the appropriate backing.
Sadly, Roy will also be a ‘what might have been’ figure.
Thanks for your comment, which certainly puts a different perspective on things. You are right about Evans leaving without a payoff, as of course, it was Razor who wouldn’t allow his contract to be nulled and took the club to court in an attempt to get his money.