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Back to basics for Evans

Roy Evans has stepped out of the Liverpool shadows in an attempt to banish the dark days at Anfield.

Evans, 45, became the Premiership's least known manager when he was appointed to succeed Graeme Souness, who quit after failing to restore Liverpool glory.

Bootle-born Evans shared in those earlier glory days as a largely anonymous member of Liverpool's backroom staff.

He is hardly known outside Merseyside yet represents a shining example of that increasingly old-fashioned football virtue, loyalty.

Promotion to manager will mean Evans completing a 28-year Anfield cycle from humble beginnings as youth team player through reserve team manager, first team trainer and assistant manager.

Evans, along with Ronnie Moran, was a regular in the Anfield boot-room think-tank as Liverpool established themselves as one of Europe's leading clubs.

His playing career was short and undistinguished. Evans joined Liverpool from School in 1965 as a full-back, making only nine first-team League appearances and a couple more in knock-out competitions before a series of injuries ended his career in 1973.

Evans won England schoolboy honours, playing in the same team as Trevor Brooking, but his major achievement came after he turned to coaching.

Bill Shankly, the legendary manager who rebuilt Liverpool, persuaded Evans to join his coaching team, it was one of the wisest decisions the wily Scot made.

In 11 years as reserve team coach he guided Liverpool to nine Central League titles and groomed countless youngsters for first-team and international stardom.

Souness belatedly recognised his contribution to the club by appointing silver-haired Evans assistant manager last summer.

Evans had watched and learned from a succession of managers as Liverpool piled up the honours: Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Kenny Dalglish all found Evans invaluable.

He is the third member of Shankly's boot-room to become manager. Paisley, Fagan and caretaker Moran all made the short journey to the manger's office before him.

Paisley and Fagan were hardly better known when they accepted extra responsibility yet maintained the flow of honours.

Now Liverpool hope Evans can do the same. He was the natural successor and if he had not got the job the question on the lips of Liverpool fans would have been: "Why didn't they ask Evans?"

Evans said: "It's with a great sense of pride that I say I've been lucky enough to be put in charge of this great club. Liverpool is simply the best in the world and the fans look to the manager to provide the best for it. My aim is to restore the club to its rightful place. We are in a reasonable state - certainly not as bad as some people are saying. I will be my own man, my own personality and although I've learned from people like Shanks and Paisley, it will not be simple to try to emulate people like that. I've been privileged to work with some great people, though, and I can't help but to have learned from all of them."

Liverpool chairman David Moores said: "Roy is a relatively young man but he has given 30 years' loyal service as player and coach. He will do well for us and at the end of the season he will appoint a top class coach to work under him and help him. The choice of that coach will be down to Roy."

Moores confirmed that Phil Boersma, who arrived with Souness nearly three years ago and took on physiotherapist duties as well as a coaching role, has now left the club.

He will be replaced, at least temporarily, by Max Thompson, another former Liverpool player, but Moores added: "No further staff changes are anticipated at this time."

Liverpool's roll of honour
Roy Evans is the 14th full-time Liverpool manager since 1892, but the Anfield success story really accelerated after the arrival of Bill Shankly from Huddersfield Town in 1959. The trophy list is 34-strong: 18 League championships, six FA Cups, four League Cups and six European honours.

Previous managers and successes:
NAME (YEARS) HONOURS
John McKenna (1892-96) -
Tom Watson (1989-1915) League Championships (2)
Dave Ashworth (1920-23) League Championships (2)
Matt McQueen (1923-28) -
George Patterson (1928-36) -
George Kay (1936-51) League Championship
Don Welsh (1951-56) -
Phil Taylor (1956-59) -
Bill Shankly (1959-74) League Championships (3), FA Cups (2), UEFA Cup
Bob Paisley (1974-83) League Championships (6), FA Cup, League Cups (3), European Cups (3), UEFA Cup
Joe Fagan (1983-85) League Championship, League Cup, European Cup
Kenny Dalglish (1985-91) League Championships (3), FA Cups (2)
Graeme Souness (1991-94) FA Cup

Liverpool did not enter the League Cup between 1962-67 and were banned from European competition for six seasons after the 1985 Heysel riots.

Copyright - British Soccer Week

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