Fun and flames as former Rotherham United boss Steve Evans goes to Leeds United

'Sombrero Steve' at Elland Road last season while manager of Rotherham United
'Sombrero Steve' at Elland Road last season while manager of Rotherham United

I worked with Steve Evans while he was manager at Rotherham United more closely than most journalists and he never stopped surprising me.

Sometimes he would react badly to a question I thought was innocuous. On other occasions, I’d throw him a toughie and he’d just lap it up.

After games which seemed free of real controversy, he’d emerge from the dressing room to lambast officials.

Once or twice - and only once or twice, mind - when a big call went againt his side, he’d even come out and agree the referee had called it right.

But never did I feel more shock than yesterday when I heard that his next destination after AESSEAL New York Stadium would be Leeds United.

I knew he wouldn’t be out of work for long after leaving the Millers late last month. Two promotions and Championship survival in three years present a fairly persuasive CV.

But I thought a League One club, with a bit of ambition and money to match, would be where he’d be working his peculiar brand of magic again.

Evans loved the stability a chairman like Tony Stewart afforded him.

He won’t get that with Massimo Cellino at Elland Road. Cellino has been disqualified from office once more but his influence will remain all-pervasive. Have two more combustible characters ever worked together in English football? For Evans and Cellino, read petrol and fire.

What he does get, however, is the chance to manage at a club he’s always regarded as a true giant of the world game.

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When Rotherham striker Kieran Agard turned down Leeds in favour of a move to Bristol City in the summer of 2014, I vividly remember Evans shaking his head with incredulity. “You can go to the deepest parts of Africa and people will have heard of Leeds United,” he said.

The 52-year-old has a sense of his own worth and isn’t without ego, so the job won’t appear too big to him. He’ll embrace the challenges and the expectations when others might shrink and run away.

How he’ll adapt to an owner who many see as “hands on” in the wrong way remains to be seen.

I wish this complicated, driven individual all the very best.

The only certain thing in a sea of uncertainty is that events over the next days and weeks in West Yorkshire will be utterly compelling.