Blog: Evans – The devil incarnate?
Blog: Evans – The devil incarnate?

So the Steve Evans reign is now well underway, the larger than life Scot having been officially in the Gillingham job for a fortnight.

In that short space of time we have already enjoyed (yes you read that right) the Q & A Evening in the Great Hall with him and his trusted assistant Paul Raynor, and perhaps more importantly seen the arrival of five new additions on permanent deals.

But to the Q & A session first, a night that I admit I attended with a mixture of trepidation and intrigue. After all, this was the man who – according to the media and many social platforms at least – was Public Enemy No.1, the Devil incarnate, and plenty more things besides that I cannot put into a written piece. 

And I will admit that I certainly did not for one minute champion his appointment when it became clear he was the favourite to replace another Steve, Mr Lovell. 

After all, this was the man who had been suspended from Boston United for all sorts of wrongdoings and who had, how shall I phrase this, fallen out with one of our favourite ever sons, a certain Andy Hessenthaler.

But what I, and plenty others I imagine, had forgotten to do was not believe everything you read in the national press.

From very early on it was clear to see that both Evans and Raynor are here to succeed, and the evening followed a very consistent theme; a mixture of humour, honesty, desire and a refreshing openness and ambition that has perhaps been missing from our club for too long.

Even when met with tricky questions regarding the situations I have already mentioned – you know, the ones tabloids write that simply have to be the gospel truth – Steve met them head on, and to myself and plenty more it swiftly became clear that he maybe – just maybe – isn’t quite the man or the monster we have created in our own minds based on years of encounters against him and his teams. 

On top of all this, phrases such as ‘the first aim is to reach 50 points’ – staples of previous campaigns and similar type events – were replaced with talk of aiming high and targeting the Play-Offs.

Now I’m not daft enough to think that this means we’ll automatically run away with the division and secure promotion with months to spare, but hearing loftier aims means I’ll approach the 2019-20 season a little more hope than in recent years.

Don’t get me wrong, it could all go horribly pear shaped and we may be sitting here in a few months talking about the need for yet another new manager, one who would be our eighth (if including the Gang of Four) in just six full seasons since returning to the third tier back in 2013.

However, despite still having a few reservations – I don’t want to see that passion and desire to win turning into confrontation and touchline bans – I am ultimately interested to see what the future holds, to see what it will be like having Mr Evans inside the castle shooting out rather than outside firing in at us. 

As I have said on plenty of occasions since his appointment, my love for Gillingham Football Club will always outweigh any ill feelings I have (or had) towards Steve Evans or any individual, but I am not too big to admit that in the two short weeks since he officially started work my stance has changed slightly. 

He has said all the right things (perhaps expected, granted) made all the right noises, and most importantly done all the right things. 

And those right things come in the form of new additions Connor Ogilvie, Jack Bonham, Lee Hodson, Stuart O’Keefe and Matty Willock, all of whom arrive from a slightly higher level than we’ve been accustomed to over the last few transfer windows. 

They are hopefully the first small blocks towards building Steve Evans’ castle, and I’ll be watching keenly to see how he continues to build it and shape it, but more importantly I’ll be hoping it’s built on strong enough foundations to be successful and sustainable.