Five gems from the colourful new Leeds United boss

Steve Evans
Steve Evans
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Steve Evans has had plenty of things to say about Leeds United over the last year. Here’s five gems from the Glaswegian from his time in charge at Yorkshire neighbours Rotherham United.

1. People in Africa know about LUFC

Evans was shocked to see Kieron Agard sign for Bristol City in August 2014 when there had been been a bid accepted by Leeds.

Evans said: “I’m surprised. Wow. In terms of Leeds United, when you drop a division and go to Bristol City instead, and this is no disrespect to Bristol City, I’m surprised.

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“I just find it surprising you would turn down a household, worldwide name like Leeds United and go to Bristol City.

“I’m surprised he would turn down a club like Leeds with their profile and fan base and historical values.

“You could go to Africa and say ‘Leeds’ and people would know Leeds United.”

2. The ‘stand out giants’

Ahead of their Friday night clash in the Championship of October 2014, Evans expressed his desire to leapfrog the Whites in the table, saying: “If we all take our biased heads off, Leeds United are the stand-out giants in the Championship.

“You look at the clubs who have just come down from the Premier League, but they are not Leeds United.

“But they are in the Championship because in football you are where you deserve to be.

“As a lad growing up I became aware of the likes of Billy Bremner and Peter Lorimer and you never forget that.”

3. Massimo rules

Also before their league meeting last October, Evans spoke out about the head coach’s role at Leeds, admitting it was Cellino’s way or the highway, not that the Glaswegian actually saw anything wrong with that.

Evans said: “If you are a Dave Hockaday, Darko Milanic or whoever you are – if you take the job under Massimo, you know the rules; he picks the players, you coach the players. My interest is the Millers and I pick the players, whether they come, whether they go and our chairman supports that. The minute he doesn’t support it, I go.

“If you work for Massimo Cellino, you coach the players and get the results from the players he brings in or you pay with your job, that is the way it is.”

“It is the foreign way of doing things and it does not make it right or wrong. If you look at Leeds United and Massimo Cellino, where would they be if he had not have stepped in with his millions of pounds?

“He has had to put millions of investment into that football club and they do it in that way.I have nothing but respect for the guy. If you put the money he has put into a football club, if that is your model, you are entitled to do it.”

4. Absolute icons

Again speaking before last October’s league meeting, Evans admitted that watching the famous Leeds United sides of the 1970s were a huge part of his upbringing. Evans recounted his experiences of seeing Leeds play as a youngster at Hampden Park in 1970 against Jock Stein’s Celtic and said: “If you’re a Scotsman and you are of my age, how can you not know about Billy Bremner and Peter Lorimer? They are absolute icons and legends of Scotland and that is where their (Leeds) history and tradition comes from.

“Who can forget 136,000 watching Celtic against Leeds? I was a little boy and I was one of them.

“I have never hidden my views. If everyone in football took off their biased heads, Leeds United – by history, tradition and worldwide support – is the biggest club in the Championship.

“If you go to deepest Africa, people have heard of Manchester United. But they have also heard of Leeds United, that’s how big Leeds are.

“I remember when I was on holiday with my wife and children in Cyprus and the fixtures came through to me in the early morning and I looked and went: ‘What a run of games’ We had Blackburn at home and then Leeds United and Fulham and then Brighton.

“But Leeds was always the big game that stuck out for obvious reasons.

“I do not need to tell the Leeds United followers about the great times that the club has had and the great times it will have again in the future.

“It is about football coming in cycles and when you are a massive club like Leeds, they will have their great days again.

“I watch with interest from a distance and see people up and down the country knock Massimo Cellino.

“I have never met him or spoke to him and don’t have any desire to do so, but if he hadn’t have stepped in, you fear what might have happened to Leeds.”

5. Still in trouble

Evans stirred up a hornet’s nest last March by suggesting Leeds were still in a relegation dogfight, despite sitting in twelfth position.

Evans’ men were embroiled firmly in the relegation mire but Evans said of the Whites: “You worry about everyone. That same question could be asked of Neil Redfearn. I keep hearing that they’re mid-table but if we win tomorrow’s there’s two points difference.

“It goes all the way up to inside the top half that’s involved in this. I don’t think anyone on 38 points or below is not part of the battle.”

Evans promised to turn up in beach wear and a sombrero if Rotherham were safe on the final day of the season at Elland Road, and fulfiled his end of the bargain.