Evans wins backing of Leeds United fans

Leeds United's head coach Steve Evans with assistant Paul Raynor at the end of the last home game of the season.

Leeds United's head coach Steve Evans with assistant Paul Raynor at the end of the last home game of the season.

1
Have your say

He said he would win the fans over and it seems he has now as they gave him an ovation and sang his name at the end of Leeds United’s last home game of the season – but now comes the big question: Has Steve Evans persuaded Massimo Cellino that he is the man to take the club forward?

Evans expects to hear this week whether he is being retained as head coach and United supporters made it clear last Saturday that they think he should be given a second year in charge.

After an unlucky 2-1 defeat to Charlton in what could be Evans’ last game in charge of the Whites at Elland Road he gave an emotional speech on the pitch in which he appeared to choke back a few tears.

He said: “If I’m not here, I’ll remember this for the rest of my life. Thank you very much.”

To many they sounded like the words of a man saying goodbye, but in the press conference that followed Evans sounded a more positive note and revealed that he had been in talks about his future with owner Cellino last Friday.

Although no answer came out of the talks, more are now planned with a decision anticipated before this Saturday’s final game at Preston.

Bizarrely Evans, whose contract ends in June, said the initial talks had been cut short because he had to travel to the team hotel to continue his preparations for the Charlton match.

Evans said: “I had a very good meeting with the president. There were a lot of constructive things said about myself and Paul Raynor.

“I gave the president my views and he gave me his about individual players and collectively what we need.

“Quite genuinely, we just ran out of time. We didn’t get round to finishing the meeting because I had to leave for the team hotel in preparation for the match.

“We’ll probably reconvene sometime this week and then I’ll be getting the decision.

“We were a long way through it, but when I went in, I was fairly clear about when I had to leave. It was just the clock that beat us.

“But I’ve made it absolutely clear that I want to be head coach next season.

“Despite other opportunities, I’ve never opened my ears and said I want to listen to them because I’ve made it clear I want to be here. I can only listen to other things if the board at Leeds decide I’m not the person.”

There are similarities with this time last year when then head coach Neil Redfearn was not given any public endorsement by Cellino and there was uncertainty about who would be in charge until negotiations began with Uwe Rosler.

The German did not last long in the job whereas Evans is now Cellino’s longest serving team boss at Leeds, but that is no guarantee that he will remain in his post with the owner changing his head coaches at the end of both of his previous seasons in charge.

Evans does not think he will put in the same position as Redfearn.

He added: “I think the president is ready to make his decision. I think I would have got that decision but time beat us.

“It was a positive meeting – not all great but we shared thoughts about where the club want to go. It was very thorough and I look forward to the second part. Then I would think Mr Cellino would be ready to make his decision.”