With all the drama that’s been going on over the past 10 days, everyone seems to have forgotten an important anniversary is upon us: it's four months on Friday that the large lad on our touchline has been in the job. For some, this day would come and go without notice, but I want to stop for a moment, look into those wide Glaswegian eyes, and see what he’s really made of.
Looking plainly at the stats, Steve Evans is doing a pretty good job so far at Leeds United: 15 games in charge, 6 wins, 6 draws, only 3 defeats, and a good cup run to boot. All in all, he has made Leeds a difficult team to beat and kept up at a 40% win rate. Ignoring Redders various caretaker spells, that’s the best overall percentage since Grayson back in 2012. He has only brought in a handful of his own players, and so far, I have to say they have improved the group. On the face of it, to the casual observer, it’s difficult to be overly harsh on Steve Evans, especially considering his predecessors Rosler, Milanic, and The Hock were considerably worse.
Results don’t tell the whole picture though. In his interviews and press conferences, Steve Evans is about as cocky as a fox who just got away from George Osbourne’s raging bulge. The pleasure he takes in getting the simplest things right, like playing 10 out-field players or remembering to name substitutes, is quite frankly disgusting to watch.
When things then seem to go wrong, Evans, as you would expect, looks for every excuse to avoid shouldering the blame. The tactical blunders at Blackburn, Bristol City and Brentford were covered up by referring to mistakes, player injuries, and poor playing conditions. At times, this can be mistaken for Evans being a plain-talking straight-shooter, but in reality he is just good at covering up his own shortfalls and distracting us from the obvious.
In the midst of Massimo Cellino drawing everyone’s attention to how badly our club is run and how far off a serious promotion challenge we are, Steve Evans has drawn a lot of criticism, and clearly some of it is warranted. I understand this: performances of late have been poor, results are not great, and he exudes about as much charisma as Wayne Rooney’s third nipple.
In my opinion though, taking everything into account, would I want him gone? No. When he took over I thought it was a very odd choice: he generally wound me up every time he spoke, I thought his management record was good (but at lower leagues you can never tell), and with his past legal indiscretions, he was not someone I wanted associated with Leeds United. And my opinion four months in hasn’t drastically changed. When he opens his mouth, I still want to shove a kilo of manky old salmon in there.
Our position in the league is dismal, but given our start to the season we are doing well not to be in a relegation scrap. Massimo has given up on us, and with no money being invested in January, I don’t see much changing for the rest of the season. With a lack of consistency from the top and lack of investment throughout, would any manager in the championship get Leeds into a top 6 position? I’ll leave that question open for you to answer, but my opinion is probably not.
Steve Evans may get a bad rep, and with his previous criminal shenanigans, general egocentric attitude, and lack of tactical awareness, I’m not surprised. In the game we call football though, points make prices, and with one third of the year gone, he has amassed more points than the majority of his recent predecessors. In short, do I like Steve Evans? No. Will I accept him as our manager as long as he improves the squad and keeps the points tally rising? Yes... for now.
This is a topic that I imagine will split Leeds fans down the middle. (Our editor loves the guy.) So what do you think? Is Steve doing a bang up job? Would you like to see him gone at the end of the season? If so, who would you replace him with? Vote in the poll, and let us know in the comments section below.