Radford ambition for Championship football lured new boss Evans

New Mansfield Town manager, Steve Evans at a press conference at the One Call Stadium on Wednesday, flanked by Caroline Radford, assistant manager Paul Raynor and Chairman John Radford.
New Mansfield Town manager, Steve Evans at a press conference at the One Call Stadium on Wednesday, flanked by Caroline Radford, assistant manager Paul Raynor and Chairman John Radford.
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New Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans said it was the ambition of chairman John Radford that convinced him to join the club.

Despite being chased by clubs at higher levels, Evans was unveiled at a press conference this afternoon and said he believed fully in the vision that the Stags could reach the Championship, having achieved the same feat at Rotherham among his nine career promotions.

New Mansfield Town manager, Steve Evans at a press conference at the One Call Stadium on Wednesday, flanked by Caroline Radford.

New Mansfield Town manager, Steve Evans at a press conference at the One Call Stadium on Wednesday, flanked by Caroline Radford.

“I first got the call on Monday evening from the chairman,” said Evans, who has brought regular No.2 Paul Raynor in with him.

“I was given the opportunity to go and meet him and Carolyn and it reminded me so much of my first meeting with Tony Stewart at Rotherham.

“He was a very ambitious chairman – someone who described it as ‘time doesn’t go quick enough for the success he wants’, and I went away with the same feeling. That was the main reason I came here.

“I have not joined Mansfield Town to be in League Two very long; that’s the first thing we’ll say.

New Mansfield Town manager, Steve Evans at a press conference at the One Call Stadium on Wednesday with his assistant manager, Paul Raynor.

New Mansfield Town manager, Steve Evans at a press conference at the One Call Stadium on Wednesday with his assistant manager, Paul Raynor.

“I went into Rotherham United with a remit in League Two and we delivered that remit two years ahead of schedule. “The chairman is being more realistic with his time scales, but he has brought us here to deliver some results.”

He added: “We left Crawley to go to Rotherham because Tony Stewart sold me a vision.

“He told us what we could achieve and how he was going to back us. That’s what I was reminded of when I met the chairman and his good lady.

“They are very ambitious people but I think in our brief time together on Monday evening they realised they have got a very ambitious manager in front of them.

“It is very early doors. I’ve only been here a couple of hours. But we have a chairman who could substantiate being in the Championship without a doubt, and so could the chief executive. But we need to get the playing staff. They have to go and deliver the results.

“We can achieve Championship status. I said it when I went to Rotherham and people thought I needed a straitjacket, they were probably right. But we got a couple of promotions and we can deliver that here.

“We are going to need the support of everyone, local businesses, the supporters, the players, the staff old and new, and none more than the chairman and chief executive.”

Evans continued: “This is a project. We’ve not come here to do something in six weeks. That’s not what it’s about.

“We didn’t leave Crawley Town to go to Rotherham on a basis of six weeks either.

“We have all seen clubs that have appointed head coaches or managers in the summer and moved them on in September and October and it’s nonsense.

“All the conversation here has been how we are going to be successful together and I think we all knew it was right. There was never a conversation about terms until the very last seconds of our conversation.

“I do believe with the Radford family the time will be given to build something here.”

Evans believes it is time for Mansfield Town to shine after so long in the doldrums.

“As a football club it is over-ripe for success,” he said. “If you look around this part of the world and you look at the clubs that have had success, Stags fans have had to suffer for too long in my opinion.

“The chairman has come in and stabilised the club, probably spending a fortune in doing so and he is ready to take it to the next level - and that is what excited us.

“I knew from when I met them, all bar speaking to Paul and my wife, it just felt ever so much right. That’s been the constant thing at home with the family. If it feels right dad then do it.

“Yes, there have been opportunities to open up my mind to other things, but I genuinely never did because it felt right.”

The Radfords were lucky to get hold of Evans on Monday, following the departure of Adam Murray.

“I don’t normally answer my mobile when a number comes up I don’t recognise,” smiled Evans.

“I was on my way to Waitrose to do some shopping with Paul in the car and it was the chairman on the other end of the phone on Monday afternoon asking if we could get together that evening. I have always believed in having a chat.

“The One Call Stadium has always been a ground that I have brought teams to and taken plenty of stick.

“From that point of view, it is a difficult place to come and we need to get that back where teams look at coming to Mansfield Town as a real tough afternoon.”

On the Stags fans, he added: “They can be massive.

“We said it at Rotherham we needed them to get behind it, to believe in it and to want it as bad as we did.

“We had some special times there. I can remember the chairman once telling his son at Rotherham that eventually he had found a manager who wants to win more than he did and I reminded John Radford of that conversation on Monday when we met and he said he would find it difficult to find someone who wanted to win as much as he does.

“Between the four of us here we have got real passion to win football matches, but ultimately there will be no more passion than who sits in the seats and watches their team, so we need everyone to buy into that passion.”

Evans has been out of the game since leaving Leeds United in the summer but said: “I think it was time to come back into the game.

“It was great to have a break. I’ve not had a break in 17/18 years and the last six or seven years have been incredibly successful.

“We had opportunities to go in (to new clubs) within days and weeks of leaving Elland Road, but we never felt right. “So we have used the time to go and study clubs in the Premier League, Germany and France, and Italy as well as cutting the grass and playing golf and all the nonsense stuff that you do.

“It’s been good to have a break, but now it’s time to go to work.”

By co-incidence, Stags face Evans’ former club Crawley Town at home on Saturday.