Roy 'Leslie Nielson' Evans CBE, born 4 October 1948 in Bootle, England was a Liverpool football player who eventually rose through the coaching ranks to become team manager.
On 28 January 1994, Souness quit as Liverpool manager in the wake of a shock FA Cup exit at the hands of Bristol City. Evans then took over as manager of a Liverpool side who were mid-table in the Premier League and out of contention for any major honours, although they were 8th by the end of the season.
For the 1994–95 season, Evans strengthened his side with the addition of defenders John Scales and Phil Babb as well as young striker Mark Kennedy. He also gave further first-team opportunities to youngsters Steve McManaman, Jamie Redknapp and Robbie Fowler, who at the time were among the hottest prospects in English football. Established players such as John Barnes, Mark Wright and Ian Rush blended well with these young stars as Liverpool finished fourth in the Premier League with 74 points and triumphed in the Football League Cup, beating Bolton Wanderers 2–1 with two McManaman goals, and winning the competition for a record fifth time.
Over the summer of 1995, Evans made the headlines by paying a British record fee for Nottingham Forest striker Stan Collymore. Many observers tipped Liverpool to win the Premier League title for that season, particularly as defending champions Blackburn had promoted Kenny Dalglish to Director of Football and appointed the less successful Ray Harford as manager, and runners-up Manchester United had sold three key players and surprisingly relied on young players to fill their place. Although Liverpool looked like contenders during the first stages of the season, the title race had effectively become a Newcastle United-Manchester United contest by Christmas, with Manchester United finally clinching the title. Liverpool, meanwhile, had to settle for third place in the league; any lingering hopes of title glory were finished off towards the end of April with a shock defeat by Coventry City. They did reach the FA Cup final, but lost 1–0 to a late Eric Cantona goal for Manchester United. As United had done the double, Evans and his exciting young team would be competing in the 1996–97 European Cup Winners' Cup. Nonetheless, their League position had improved from 4th to 3rd on the previous attempt. This had happened despite collecting only 71 points; however, the league notably had been reduced by 4 games that season. The 71 points was equivalent to 78.5 points the season before.
Evans strengthened his side with the acquisition of Czech midfielder Patrik Berger over the summer of 1996, but by the end of the 1996–97 season all the talk around Anfield was about a promising 17-year-old striker, Michael Owen, who had shown tremendous potential in a handful of games for the club. Liverpool had led the Premier League on several occasions before the end of January, but eventually finished fourth while Manchester United clinched the title by a seven-point margin. Their European Cup Winners' Cup adventure ended in the semi-finals when they lost to Paris St Germain. They had also collected 3 points fewer overall, finishing with 68. In the last game the season, Sheffield Wednesday, Owen hit the post late on. Had he scored Liverpool would have finished second and had the opportunity to play in the following season's European Cup.
With Stan Collymore moving to Aston Villa in the close season, Evans did not want to throw Owen into the first team, so he brought in legendary German striker Karlheinz Riedle to partner the prolific Robbie Fowler. Liverpool appeared ready to mount a strong title challenge in 1997–98 season. However, an injury to Fowler, that lasted for the majority of the season, prevented the team from making the most of its potential. Owen burst onto the scene with 18 goals in 36 Premier League games. Nevertheless they again collected 3 points fewer than the previous season for the 3rd straight season (65 total) and had to settle for third place in the league and yet another UEFA Cup campaign.
In 1998 Liverpool's longstanding Boot Room coach Ronnie Moran retired and was set to be replaced by Gerrard Houllier for the 1998–99 season onwards. In fact it was decided that Houllier would become joint manager of Liverpool to work alongside Evans, but the arrangement was not a success and Evans resigned in November to leave Houllier in sole charge. Houllier would remain at the club until 2004, collecting one FA Cup, one UEFA Cup and two League Cups in that time.
|Birthplace: Bootle, Merseyside, England|
|Other clubs as manager: Fulham (assistant manager), Crystal Palace (asst. manager)|
|Arrived from: LFC coach|
|Signed for LFC: 31.01.1994|
|First game in charge: 05.02.1994|
|Contract expiry: 12.11.1998|
|LFC league games as manager: 172|
|Total LFC games as manager: 226|
|Honours: League cup winners 1995|