Sky Bet League One play-off final: Steve Evans hopes to help Rotherham go up
Steve Evans hopes to continue his rebirth as a manager by writing himself into Rotherham folklore on Sunday.
Last Updated: 24/05/14 1:59pm
The 51-year-old Scot will lead the Millers out at Wembley in the Sky Bet League One play-off final on Sunday where Leyton Orient stand in the way of Championship football next season.
Regardless of whether his side win or lose the showpiece in London, Evans has done an impressive job in South Yorkshire and is rebuilding a reputation that was almost irreparably damaged by scandal at Boston and further controversy at Crawley.
At Boston he was heavily sanctioned by the Football Association for "contract irregularities" before being handed a one-year suspended prison sentence for tax avoidance in 2006.
And despite unprecedented success at Crawley, who he led into the Football League for the first time in their history, he was forced to serve a 10-match touchline ban and then handed a six-match stadium ban for an alleged incident in the tunnel following a game at Bradford in 2012 as bad news seemed to follow him.
But at Rotherham, he has largely managed to keep himself out of trouble and his touchline antics have mellowed significantly as the Millers have flourished during his tenure.
Following their return to the town to play in the brand-new New York Stadium, the Millers won promotion from League Two last season and followed it up with a year which has put them on the verge of a return to the Championship for the first time in 10 years.
And if they can get past Orient on Sunday, Evans will join esteemed company in the club's history, with Reg Freeman, Ian Porterfield and Ronnie Moore the only other men to take the club to the second tier, with Moore doing it in similar back-to-back circumstances.
"This would be the best promotion I have won," said Evans, who would claim a fourth successive rise, despite leaving Crawley to join the Millers before the job was finished in 2011/12.
"It would take the club back into the Championship and the last person who delivered back-to-back promotions was Ronnie Moore, who is a club legend.
"He's recently told me that football has moved on significantly since it was last achieved so it would be an even bigger achievement than last time.
"So to equal or even improve on what he did would be fantastic.
"I haven't delivered it yet though, Ronnie and the others did.
"Many people would say they did it in harder circumstances at Millmoor, but there is perhaps bigger clubs in League One now."
While Moore is considered footballing royalty at Rotherham, Evans admits to taking his inspiration from some of the biggest names in the game, with a friendship with Sir Alex Ferguson his main driving force.
"One inspiration who has been there for all of my life is Sir Alex, another one who I have always been close to and has been there for me is Neil Warnock and the one who has been there in the last couple of seasons that I have spoken to and tried to learn from is Brendan Rodgers," the Scot added.
"You're employed to win football matches and that is what these guys have done and that is what I am trying to emulate.
"You just try and learn from all of these people to get success.
"I have similar characteristics to Sir Alex and the times I have spoken to him he's probably got me to think outside the box on a number of ways to deal with things and to be successful you have to have a ruthless element.
"There is some good people in football who have said to me that I remind them of Sir Alex Ferguson but I would be frightened to say that."
The Millers are at full strength for the clash which Evans reckons could go either way.
"We need our very best performance of the season on Sunday if we are going to beat Leyton Orient," he said.
"Both teams are so evenly matched, we achieved a points total that would have seen us promoted automatically in seven of the last nine years in this division.