Manager profile

Roy Evans

Birthdate: 4 October 1948
Birthplace: Bootle, Merseyside, England
Other clubs as manager: Fulham (joint-caretaker manager 2000), Crystal Palace (Director of Football 2000-01)
Arrived from: LFC coach
Signed for LFC: 31 January 1994
First game in charge: 05.02.1994
Contract Expiry: 16.07.1998 (sole manager)
LFC league games as manager: 172
Total LFC games as manager: 226
Honours: League cup winners 1995

Manager profile

Roy had signed professional forms for Liverpool as a 17-year-old but made only 11 appearances for the first team before being asked to take over the club’s reserve side, a task he carried out with great success for a number of years. When Roy was appointed reserve team trainer in August 1974, chairman John Smith predicted: "We have not made an appointment for today but for the future. One day, Roy Evans will be our manager." Evans was finally chosen as the 14th full-time Liverpool manager after he had been at the club for 28 years. Because of the club’s unwritten policy of promoting from within, it was not a surprising appointment. Many had seen him as a Liverpool manager of the future for a long time. What was probably difficult was having to distance himself from players he knew very well, in much the same way Kenny Dalglish had to do. Some said Roy was too nice to be a manager but he proved himself capable of making difficult decisions and there is no doubt he had enormous pride in being offered the top job at a club he had played for briefly and served so long and so well in other capacities.

Roy inherited a decent squad of players. Fowler and McManaman were exciting young players who were establishing themselves in the first team and there seemed to be a good blend of youth and experience to carry the club forward. His first full season in charge promised that brighter times were ahead. At the turn of the year his team was in 3rd place with 45 points from 23 games, only one point behind 2nd placed Manchester United. Liverpool’s first trophy in 3 years came in the form of the Coca Cola (League) cup. With Stan Collymore signed before the start of the 1995-96 season to join Fowler in a scintillating partnership up front, it heralded two years of at times quite breathtaking football, including the two memorable 4-3 victories over Newcastle at Anfield in successive seasons. Evans was being celebrated at the heart of Liverpool’s revival. His man-management had replaced Souness's autocratic style and Liverpool were playing entertaining football. Supporters were concerned that at times the Liverpool side played great football but in between was well below average. This inconsistency proved to be Roy Evans’ downfall. His side looked promising for the first few months of a season but then it always seemed to fall apart and end in disappointment.

In the end the only tangible success came in that 1995 League cup final at Wembley, where Bolton were beaten 2-1 to record the club’s 5th success in the competition. It could have been so different. Roy wasn’t as far from bringing the championship back to Anfield as some think. Their best chance came in the 1996-97 season. They were in a very strong position after winning at Southampton in the final match of the calendar year but were gradually overhauled by Manchester United, Even then, Liverpool had a chance to regain top spot the day after United surprisingly lost to Derby County at Old Trafford early in April. After taking the lead against Coventry, they lost it and then the game in the final few minutes in front of a stunned home crowd. The next home match was also lost, more crucially against United. Football is full of “ifs” and “buts” yet it’s a fact that if Liverpool had won those two home games they and not United would have been crowned champions that season.

Roy’s time in charge coincided with the rise of “The Spice Boys”, a term given to a group of the club’s players indicating that Evans was maybe too nice to be manager of such a high-profile club and didn’t have full control of some of his players. The cliché suggested that some of his players were not behaving as professionally off the pitch as they were on it. In some cases behaviour on the pitch wasn’t what was expected either. Some of it didn’t emerge until after Roy had left but Neil Ruddock’s infamous “passing the pound coin around the back four” tale gives some idea of the lack of respect some of the players showed towards their manager and indeed the club that was paying their wages.

United were the thorn in Liverpool’s side during Roy’s time as manager, just as they were for practically every club in the 1990’s. Apart from the near-miss in the championship in 1996-97, the players reserved one of their worst performances under his management for one of the most important matches, the 1996 F.A. cup final, remembered as much for the “men in white suits” who didn’t perform once they had changed out of them as it was for Cantona’s late goal.

There is a very thin line between success and failure sometimes. Because of everything that had gone on before in the previous three decades, Liverpool were expected to win trophies. When they dried up in the 1990s, there was more pressure on the manager than there would have been at other clubs, clubs who would have been overjoyed to finish in the top 4 or 5 at the end of a season and win the occasional cup competition. Roy was probably unlucky that he didn’t win more than just that 1995 League cup. It certainly wasn’t for the lack of trying on his part. He was never afraid to face the Press when things weren’t going to plan and his pride in the job and his enthusiasm and love for the football club he had played for and been associated with for so long were never in doubt. But however hard he had tried, real success by the club’s high standards hadn’t been achieved.

During the summer of 1998, it was announced that Roy’s responsibility would be shared by Frenchman Gérard Houllier. It would not be a happy partnership nor one that would last long.

Statistics

CompetitionTotalWonDrawLostGoals forGoals against
Grand totals2261175653375216
League172834643280173
FA Cup179442913
League Cup2117134214
Europe168532416
Other000000

Matches that are won or lost in a penalty shoot-out are counted as a win/loss not as a draw.

Related Articles

Back to basics for Evans

Roy Evans has stepped out of the Liverpool shadows in an attempt to banish the dark days at Anfield. An article from 10th February 1994 from British Soccer Week.More

Roy Evans quits as Liverpool boss

Roy Evans today parted company with Liverpool, the club he has served for 35 years. Joint manager Gerard Houllier will take sole control of the club. More

Sixth defeat in a row

Match report from 19.03.1994 on Liverpool - Chelsea from British soccer week.More

On second thoughts ... Roy Evans

An article by Rob Smyth in the Guardian on 15th of February 15, 2007. More

Scales and Babb join Roy Evans

Roy Evans bought Liverpool a pair of central defenders in 1994.More

Stan Collymore was a strange one

Liverpool and Roy Evans took an enormous chance by paying a record fee for Stan Collymore.More

Evans: Why I quit Liverpool

Report by Garry Doolan, Daily Post in 1999.More

Gunn had to go says City boss

Match report from 05.02.1994 on Norwich City - Liverpool from British Soccer Week.More

Related Quotes

"Attitude, simple as that. The ability in the team was phenomenal. The discipline was lacking and I'll hold my hands up at the time. It's certainly very difficult when you lose the discipline in a club."

Scales on his time at LFC

"The Spice Boys thing was a load of nonsense really. The label came about because at that time a lot of the lads were becoming known for non-footballing things and were doing modelling and shampoo adverts and the like but to be fair it was happening throughout the game at other clubs too. It's wrong to say it affected their approach because they were quite a dedicated bunch of lads who worked hard. They were no angels but they were good pros."

Roy Evans on royevans.net

"Players have moods, a bit like wives, You don't quite know what they are going to do. It's very frustrating. We know the talent he's got. It's a matter of producing that all the time."

Roy Evans on Stan The Man March 1997

"It is important to start out with great aspirations, but you cannot go on not fulfilling them and expect to remain in the job."

Roy Evans' last words of the 1996-97 season were prophetic

"This is the highest we have finished for quite a long period and to get into Europe and come third is no mean achievement. The only difference is the history of Liverpool Football Club."

Roy Evans on LFC's 3rd place in 1997/1998

"I've been on this planet for 45 years, and have supported Liverpool for 42 of them. Today´s game against Coventry City is my first at Anfield as manager and the pride I feel is almost indescribable. I'm a Liverpool lad. I stood on The Kop as a youngster and understand the football expectations of all our supporters. It was almost 30 years ago when I was presented to manager Bill Shankly as a 15-year-old prospect and the respect I had for that man was ultimate. 'You are joining the greatest club in the world' he told me in his office. I believed him then, and I believe it now. I came from a similar background to a lot of our supporters and we have a common bond – success for the Club."

Roy Evans in his programme notes on 26th of February 1994 which was his 1st game at Anfield as boss.

When we trained on Friday afternoon, on my birthday, I was running past Roy at one point and he said to me: ‘I don’t know how to tell you this, but..’ and that was it, I was out of the final. What a birthday present that was. I was so upset I told him to fuck off and stormed off. I was in tears and I just couldn’t believe I was being denied the chance to fulfil another childhood dream. I had never felt so gutted or let down. I might be a big bloke and have the reputation of being a hard man, but I cried like a baby when he dropped that bombshell. From that day on I lost a little respect for him and I’m sure the way I reacted caused him to lose a little respect for me too. But that’s the way I am. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I tell people exactly the way it is. From then on my Liverpool career went even further downhill because the following season, I had problems to contend with off the field as well as on. I almost wrecked everything I’d worked for in crazy six month spell during which I made Gazza look like a saint.

Ruddock on his FA cup final heartache delivered by Roy Evans

Players bought

PlayerClubFeeDate
Mark Gayle Crewe On Loan * 25 February 1994
Michael Stensgaard Hvidovre £400,000 1 June 1994
Phil Babb Coventry City £3,600,000 1 September 1994
John Scales Wimbledon £3,500,000 2 September 1994
Mark Kennedy Millwall £1,500,000 21 March 1995
Stan Collymore Nottingham Forest £8,500,000 1 July 1995
Stephen Pears Middlesbrough Free 14 August 1995
Jason McAteer Bolton Wanderers £4,500,000 7 September 1995
Patrik Berger Borussia Dortmund £3,250,000 1 August 1996
Nicky Rizzo Sidney Olympic Free 1 September 1996
Bjørn Tore Kvarme Free Transfer Free * 10 January 1997
Øyvind Leonhardsen Wimbledon £3,500,000 2 June 1997
Paul Ince Inter Milan £4,200,000 10 July 1997
Danny Murphy Crewe £1,500,000 15 July 1997
Karl-Heinz Riedle Borussia Dortmund £1,800,000 30 July 1997
Jørgen Nielsen Hvidovre £400,000 1 August 1997
Haukur I. Gudnason Keflavik £150,000 1 December 1997
Brad Friedel Columbus Crew £1,000,000 19 December 1997
Sean Dundee Karlsruhe £1,800,000 5 June 1998
Steve Staunton Free Transfer Free * 3 July 1998
Vegard Heggem Rosenborg £3,500,000 21 July 1998

Players sold

PlayerClubFeeDate
Julian Dicks West Ham United £300,000 20 May 1994
Torben Piechnik AGF Free 1 June 1994
Bruce Grobbelaar Southampton Free 11 August 1994
Don Hutchison West Ham United £1,500,000 30 August 1994
Ronnie Whelan Southend Free * 15 September 1994
Steve Nicol Notts County Free 20 January 1995
Mark Walters Southampton Free 17 January 1996
Nigel Clough Manchester City £1,500,000 24 January 1996
Jan Mølby Swansea City Free 21 February 1996
Paul Stewart Sunderland Free 5 March 1996
Ian Rush Leeds United Free 20 May 1996
Stephen Pears Hartlepool United Free 1 June 1996
Phil Charnock Crewe Free 6 December 1996
John Scales Tottenham £2,600,000 11 December 1996
Stan Collymore Aston Villa £7,000,000 13 May 1997
Lee Jones Tranmere Rovers £100,000 30 May 1997
Michael Stensgaard FC Copenhagen Free 1 June 1997
John Barnes Newcastle United Free 11 August 1997
Mark Kennedy Wimbledon £1,750,000 26 March 1998
Nicky Rizzo Crystal Palace £300,000 25 July 1998
Neil Ruddock West Ham United £400,000 30 July 1998
Michael Thomas Benfica Free 1 August 1998

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