Controversial ex-Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans back in the game as new Gillingham boss, but starts with ban

Steve Evans
Steve Evans

Controversial former Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans returns to management next week when he takes over the reins at League One club Gillingham.

But he will have to watch the first four games from the stands as he serves another touchline ban for clashing with officials.

Evans, who walked out on Stags with just 12 games to go to become manager at Peterborough in March 2018, had been linked with a move to the Gills in October 2027, but Stags chairman John Radford blocked the approach.

However, Evans, 56, did move on to Peterborough United but has been out of work since he was sacked by Posh in January, with whom he won 21 of 52 games in charge.

Now Gillingham chairman Paul Scally has confirmed he has finally got his man and Evans will be the club’s new manager from 1st June.

Scally sacked Steve Lovell two games before the end of the season, eventually finishing 13th under caretaker boss Mark Patterson.

Evans is no stranger to the Gills, having been a regular at games during the latter part of the season.

His long-term assistant Paul Raynor has also watched the Gills at first-hand and is expected to join as his assistant.

But the pair may not get an easy ride from the Gillingham supporters.

“Steve is no fool, and neither am I to be fair,” said Scally.

“He is aware of comments against him from some supporters, about his reputation, about what people are saying about his past, but I would never entertain the prospect of bringing in a manager whom I thought was wrong for the club.

“Although no manager comes with guarantees, I can categorically say that Steve is by far the best candidate for the role I have seen.

“Steve has had good success as a manager in the past and I fully expect him to bring us success both on and off the field, working within our budgets.

“He also had a successful career in commercial business before his time in football, so he is well balanced in how business works and the needs to increase revenue from non-football related activities.”

In his end-of-season report, Scally also said he is considering his own role with the club after what he described as “disgusting and disgraceful abuse” from “so-called fans” at times during the past season.

he Scot was found guilty of two breaches of the FA’s Rule E3 in respect of his conduct in a game at Luton Town in January, which his side lost 4-0.

Evans was accused of improper conduct in the tunnel area at half-time, having been angered about the sending-off of former Mansfield defender Ryan Tafazolli by referee David Coote.

Evans was also accused of ‘using language in the match official’s changing room after the game amounting to improper conduct and/or questioning the integrity of the match referee.’

The official said that in 300 professional games he had officiated it was ‘the most aggressive in nature behaviour I have experienced from a club official.’

Officials at Luton Town felt it necessary to place a police officer in the tunnel outside the referee’s changing room at the full-time whistle.

Evans had already served a one-match touchline ban earlier in the season after collecting four yellow cards under the FA’s disciplinary code for the conduct of management. One of those bookings came at Gillingham.