Steve Evans and the incredible turnaround at Peterborough United

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 26 September 2018, 12:08

HE IS Scottish, successful and everybody outside of his club can’t stand the bloke.

Yet Peterborough manager Steve Evans only draws comparisons between himself and Alex Ferguson in terms of his ability to wind people up.

For rival supporters there is only one thing worse than Evans - that’s Evans when he wins and that’s been happening a lot so far this season.

Seven times in nine League One games actually and only one defeat. That’s a lot of bitter pills for outsiders to swallow.

There have been times when the larger-than-life Glaswegian has not been everybody’s cup of tea and several cream cakes which unfairly only irks people more.

He was raised in the same city as Fergie; they played for two of the same clubs in Ayr United and St.Johnstone. By Jove they were both forwards too.

And they have both adopted similar strategies in coaching which is a no-nonsense approach forged on the streets of Scotland’s gritty capital city.

Evans will never get the chance to really see if he can follow directly in the footsteps of Ferguson because he will not get a job at a club big enough.

At 55, it is too late and he is tarred with the brush of ‘promotion expert’ : ie the lower divisions are considered his level. He is certainly not polished enough to get a job in the Premier League.

Never mind six promotions, a conviction for tax fraud sits on his CV like a carbuncle. Yet it seems that a run-in with the Revenue people is de rigueur for the glitterati in world football. Just ask Jose Mourinho. It’s an accessory as routine as a Louis Vitton washbag or a sponsored Jaguar car.

 

The really annoying thing about Evans is that he has also rewritten the managerial text book in the way he has transformed Posh in just seven months.

He stomped in (Evans doesn’t breeze) to London Road on February 28 this year and after missing out on the play-offs, set about a wholesale deconstruction of the squad during the summer.

At the last count 15 players have come in and 20 have gone.

But instead of chaos and calamity there have been goals galore and points on the board. Peterborough sit on top of the division. Nobody in their league has kept a clean sheet against them and there is no sign of it stopping either.

Four at Gillingham last Saturday, three at Southend, five at Plymouth. Peterborough sit a point clear at the top and confidence is sky high. And all since March.

It’s a quicker turnaround than anything Cristiano Ronaldo could manage on the field. It took Ferguson four or five years to get Manchester United back on track after he took over in 1986.

If the Romans had wanted Rome built in a day they should have called Steve Evans.

There’s a natural scepticism and cynicism that the whole thing could collapse like a house of cards in a sudden gust of wind and only time will tell on that.

But even though there is and will only ever be one Alex Ferguson, Steve Evans is the nearest thing there is to it right here, right now in the modern game.

And you can bet he secretly loves the comparisons between himself and Britain’s most successful manager and wind up merchant.

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