"I first came on the Kop as an eight year old, then I played, coached and now I'm the figurehead. It is special because this is the team I've supported and loved all my life. But it isn't Roy Evans' team. I'm just shaping its destiny for a while." Wise words from a Liverpool legend who gave 33 years of loyal service to the club.
Roy Evans' playing career was a short one. Bootle-born Roy was an apprentice at Anfield before signing professional forms when he was 17-years-old in October 1965. He had to serve a different kind of apprenticeship in Liverpool's reserve-team and didn't see a hint of first-team action until nearly the end of the 1969-70 season, when he figured in three of the last eight matches. In fact Roy would only make a further six appearances in the league plus one each in the League Cup and European Fairs Cup before surprisingly being offered the chance to take control of the club's reserve side. It was a task he relished and for a long period Liverpool won the Central League trophy more often than not.
Bob Paisley who had just taken over from Bill Shankly offered the 25-year-old, a great chance of joining the famous Boot room in 1974. John Smith Liverpool's chairman made a prediction of Nostradamus' proportions: "We have not made an appointment for the present but for the future. One day Roy Evans will be our manager."
Evans proved to be very successful in charge of the reserve team, leading them to victory seven times in nine years. When Paisley retired in 1983, Evans was promoted to first team coach, proving to be of invaluable assistance to Fagan and then Dalglish. Souness arrived in 1991 with Phil Boersma as his right hand man and Evans was moved one step down in the pecking order. The writing was on the wall for Souness and Evans replaced the Scot as manager on January 31, 1994.
Fans were quite optimistic that he would turn Liverpool's fortunes around. Evans seemed to restore some order to the squad and Liverpool won the Coca Cola cup in 1995. However, that turned out to be Evans' only trophy at the club. He came close to winning the FA cup in 1996 but Eric Cantona's winner destroyed his dream.
Evans' Liverpool played wonderful flowing football and challenged for the title, but inconsistency plagued the team at times. Fourth-third-fourth and third place read Evans' league record in his four years in charge. Liverpool had shown genuine promise of being able to win the title in 1995-96 and 1996-97 but in the end everything fell apart.
In the summer of 1998 Gerard Houllier was brought to the club with Liverpool's board making the bold move to install the Frenchman as joint-manager.
Both Evans and Houllier had different ideas of how the team was supposed to play and on November 12, 1998, Evans left the club, leaving Houllier in sole charge.
Roy Evans didn't deliver the title but he will always remain one of Liverpool's greatest servants and a Bootroom legend.
Other clubs: Philadelphia Atoms (USA - summer of 1973)