Defender Reflects On His Time In TangerineAlthough his career was cut-short due to injury at the age of 24, Gareth Evans reflects on his stint as a player with Blackpool.
What can you remember about your debut?
It was against Bournemouth at home and I remember it being a really hot day. The stadium only had two sides and we lost 2-1. I was pleased to be back out playing after being out for so long at Huddersfield Town. I wasn’t expecting to make my debut so early because I had Kirk Hilton and Tommy Jaszczun in front of me. I was really pleased that Steve McMahon put me straight in the team.
If you could re-live one game from your career in tangerine, which one would you choose?
From a positive perspective it would have to be the one where I played in goal against Crystal Palace. It’s not often that a player gets to play in goal and experience that feeling of having to dive and save shots. It was a cup game and Crystal Palace were Premier League opposition then. I was in goal trying to save shots from Andy Johnson. We lost 3-1 but that wasn’t bad considering I was in goal and we only had 10 men.
From a negative perspective it would have to be Luton away when I unfortunately broke my foot, the week before the LDV final at the Millennium Stadium. It was heartbreaking because I’d played in every game leading up to it. To miss out on the final a week before was just devastating for me. If I could re-live that I wouldn’t have gone for the ball that McMahon junior gave me and I’d have run the other way.
In terms of dressing room banter, what was the best prank you witnessed?
It was more the banter that the lads had in the dressing room at that time rather than pranks. We had some really good characters like Phil Barnes, Tommy Jaszczun and Mike Flynn. We had a really good group. There was a lot of mickey taking because a lot of us travelled in from all over the north of England. The banter was superb and it’s something that I’ve missed since my career finished.
On reflection, what achievement are you most proud of?
I’d have to say keeping my place in the side after Colin Hendry came in as manager. He brought Rob Edwards with him from Preston and he felt that Rob was going to be his first choice left-back. Colin left me out of the side for the first couple of games and we got beat first game and struggled in the next couple of games. Colin was under a bit of pressure to put me back in the team and he put me back in at the same time Peter Clarke made his debut. I cemented my place in the team from then on.
Best player you played with…
We had a lot of good players, including experienced ones like Mike Sheron who had played in the Premier League. We also had Richie Wellens who I’d played with at England youth level all the way through. We also had Keith Southern and Scott Taylor so it was pretty frustrating that we didn’t do as well as we could have done. We certainly had the talent in the team. For ability and sharpness I’d go with Scotty Taylor as the best.
It would be Tommy Jaszczun because he was a laid back character and was always one to be messing about. He was still a good footballer.
Personally I’d have to say Leam Richardson because he was a really solid full-back. He never seemed to win the fans over for some reason.
Tommy Jaszczun again because he was always up to no good and a big part of the banter.
Most likely to become a successful manager in future…
I would have always said Larry (Simon Grayson) because he always had his head screwed on and was thinking about the game. I’d have also said Mike Flynn as well because he was the same type of character.