Former Blackpool Left Back Gareth Evans speaks to us.
Biggest influence on career?
Probably my grandad when I was young and he would train me when I was a kid and would take me all over the country for games and training. He put a lot of effort into me becoming a pro footballer. At a pro level I`d say Eddie Gray and Paul Hart – they put me in the youth team (under18’s) at Leeds United when I was 15; we went on to win the FA youth cup and Northern intermediate league. They really pushed me on and made me believe I could make it professionally.
You can`t have any or you`ll never get over them and move on with your life. I`m just honoured that I had the chance to play for three big clubs, make a lot of friends in the game on and off the pitch and do something I loved doing – just a shame it got cut short.
Aspirations outside of football and do you plan to do anymore commentating?
Not too sure at the minute, I`m looking at a few ventures but nothing in concrete as yet, so plans are a bit up in the air. Yes I`d love to do some more commentating for BBC Lancashire next season – its a great opportunity to stay in touch with the club and the friends I have at Blackpool and a chance to watch pool week in week out, but we will wait and see. You never know I might be doing the playoff final at Wembley, fingers crossed!!
How far does he feel Larry can take this team?
I think Larry can take the current team as far he wants and as far as the board will allow him. The board has backed him this year with the money they have spent on signings and on wages, and to be fair to Larry he has delivered so far. He`s made some quality signings this season and has got a good blend of youth and experience in the team. Whatever happens now until the end off the season, it has to go on down as a great season and one which Blackpool can build on for next season.
Areas for improvement within the squad?
I`d like to see a left back who is signed on by the club: hopefully Robbie Williams if Larry can. He`s looked good from the games I`ve seen, and it would be much beneficial to have a player who`s not on loan and is signed and settled for the club. We all know about the problem area of the left back slot! Also we need a quality right sided player to complement Wes on the left. Forbes isn`t the answer for me; maybe Brandon could be if he could be signed permanent. Also a creative central midfielder who can unlock defences.
First Game Watched?
Chelsea vs Man United at Stamford bridge I think it was about 87/88 my dad took me. I remember the game ended 1-1
Most Memorable Game Played In?
For Blackpool it would have to be Sheffield Wednesday away in the LDV northern final. It was a great win and the pool fans were magnificent that night – I`ll never forget the celebrations after. When I played in goal also for 80 mins against Crystal Palace at home in the carling cup, great night for me and a game I`ll never forget!
Loudest Manager you’ve played under?
Steve McMahon or Lou Macari, both fiery characters who let you know if you`d had a bad game!
Worst Game Played In?
I`d say I`ve a couple: the LDV northern final for Huddersfield against Blackpool over the two legs – it was a nightmare – we got battered at Bloomfield Road 3-1 and Bully ran me ragged! At home it was us who were the better team and we were confident we would go on to win the game but Bully pounced on a mistake from me and scored the golden goal. Also Luton away for Blackpool when I broke my foot in the first half and was carried off; I missed the LDV final a week later – absolutely gutted.
Player For The Future?
John Obi Mikel at Chelsea: only 20 years old, he could turn out to be one of the world`s best holding midfielders.
Where Will Blackpool Be in 5 Years Time?
Hopefully still going from strength to strength and improving as a club on and off the field, I hope the club will be at least be in the top half of the championship and hopefully playing in a finished Bloomfield road playing in front of packed house week in week out!
Opinion on the fall of your old club, Leeds United?
It`s an absolute travesty for the club and the city. Seems like yesterday when I was making my debut for my home town club in the Champions League. Now if I was coming through the ranks I`d be making my debut at Hartlepool or Walsall. A lot of people need to take responsibility for what has happened and stand up and admit their mistakes and apologise to the people of Leeds. It will take the club a lot of effort to ever reach the heights of the glory years again.
How did your dad become a Blackpool fan?
He was a Chelsea fan all his life, followed them home and away, but stopped going when Abramovich took over the club plus the fact that I was playing Saturdays for Huddersfield, then Blackpool and he wanted to watch me. He met a few Blackpool fans at games and got friendly with them and started to go to our games with them. He enjoyed the club and the fans that much he still continues to watch pool home and away now. He refers to the ‘pool as ‘us’ and says watching ‘pool and being with true supporters is what football should be about – not what`s happening at Chelsea.
When you signed for the club, was there any rituals you had to perform in front of the players?
No, it was easy for me to fit in with a great set of lads at ‘pool at the time!
Former Blackpool Left Back Gareth Evans speaks to us.