Mickey Evans (footballer, born 1973)
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|Full name||Michael James Evans|
|Date of birth||1 January 1973|
|Place of birth||Plymouth, England|
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|1992||→ Blackburn Rovers (loan)||0||(0)|
|1997–2000||West Bromwich Albion||63||(6)|
|2000||→ Bristol Rovers (loan)||2||(1)|
|1997||Republic of Ireland||1||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Michael James "Mickey" Evans (born 1 January 1973) is a former footballer who played as a forward. He spent most of his career with Plymouth Argyle, for whom he scored 73 goals in 384 appearances in the Football League. He also played in the Premier League for Southampton and the Football League for West Bromwich Albion, Bristol Rovers and Torquay United. Evans earned one cap for the Republic of Ireland at full international level.
Evans originally joined Plymouth Argyle in December 1987 as an associate schoolboy. He made his first team debut in December 1990 at the age of 17, and signed his first professional contract in March 1991.
He was a member of Neil Warnock's Plymouth side which won promotion from the Third Division via the play-offs in 1996. Following that success, in March 1997 he was signed by Graeme Souness at Southampton for £650,000.
Souness signed Evans to add a bit of muscle to the forward line as Southampton entered the final lap of a desperate fight to avoid relegation from the Premier League in the 1996–97 season.
He was a big and brave striker and scored four crucial goals as Saints successfully beat the drop, finishing in 16th position. His greatest game in a Saints shirt came at Nottingham Forest's City Ground, where he scored a brace. For the second goal, he sprinted from the half-way line, taking a pass from Eyal Berkovic to beat goalkeeper Mark Crossley who could only half block the shot.
Evans became somewhat of a cult figure amongst Southampton fans which many of them making a tongue-in-cheek reference to his Westcountry roots by wearing straw hats and having straw hanging from their mouths as well as donning fake versions of Evans' then trademark bushy sideburns. Saints fans attributed their Premier League survival solely to Evans' goals and performances during that period.
The following season, Souness had been replaced as Saints' manager by Dave Jones and Evans lost his place to Kevin Davies. Although he was to make a handful of appearances in the 1997–98 season, his career at The Dell only lasted just over six months and in October 1997 he moved on to West Bromwich Albion for a fee of £750,000.
West Bromwich Albion and Bristol Rovers
Evans made his Albion debut on 29 November 1997, coming on as a late substitute in a 1–0 defeat away at Middlesbrough. Used mainly as a substitute during 1997–98, it took him 12 games to register his first goal for the club, scoring in a 2–0 win at Swindon Town on 7 February 1998. Evans' time at West Brom was frequently blighted by injury and illness. It wasn't until his later return to Plymouth when it was discovered that Evans had an asthmatic-related complaint which had contributed to his lack of form and fitness. He was loaned out to Bristol Rovers, a successful spell which led to a £250,000 permanent deal being struck in September 2000.
Back to Argyle
Although not a prolific goalscorer, after the diagnosis of his condition, the now healthier Evans played an important role in the Pilgrims' recent success; in particular his hold-up play and lay-offs created numerous goalscoring opportunities for his teammates. He scored the opening goal in Argyle's 4–1 Third Division Championship match sealing victory at Darlington in the 2001–02 season.
He was named Argyle's "Player of the Year" during their title-winning Division Two campaign in 2003–04. He scored the opening goal in the 2–0 home victory over Q.P.R which was decisive in confirming Plymouth Argyle as that season's Division Two champions.
The 33-year-old Plymothian announced his decision to leave Plymouth Argyle, saying "the time is right for me to move on", with effect from the Pilgrims' final Championship game of the season on 30 April 2006.
Evans scored the winning goal with a diving header in his last appearance for Plymouth Argyle against Ipswich Town, to secure the club a 14th-place finish in the Football League Championship (the highest finish for the club in two decades) and forever sealing his status as a Plymouth Argyle "legend" amongst the club's fans.
Final year and retirement
On 18 May 2006, Evans signed on a free transfer for local rivals Torquay United, where he scored once against Bury. On 24 November 2006, he decided to retire from professional football, a decision coinciding with a period of deep unrest among Torquay United's players.
He attended St Boniface's Catholic College and played Junior football for Prince Rock Youth during his schools days. He is nicknamed "Trigger" after a character from Only Fools and Horses. During his second spell with his hometown club he set up his building company MJ Evans. In 2007 and 2008, having retired from playing, Evans was involved in a series of testimonial events to raise money for five local charities. In July 2012, the company filed for administration.
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other||Total|
- Plymouth Argyle
- Football League Third Division play-off winner: 1996
- Football League Third Division winner: 2001–02
- Football League Second Division winner: 2003–04
- "Mickey Evans". Greens on Screen. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
- "Micky Evans". Mail Online. Associated Newspapers. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
- Duncan Holley & Gary Chalk (2003). In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. Hagiology Publishing. p. 510. ISBN 0-9534474-3-X.
- Smyth, Rob (29 August 2008). "The Joy of Six: inspired football transfers". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 23 November 2008.
- "Rovers complete Evans move". BBC Sport. 7 September 2000. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
- "Transfer deadline moves". BBC Sport. 22 March 2001. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
- "Gulls sign veteran striker Evans". BBC Sport. 18 May 2006. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
- "Bury 0–1 Torquay". BBC. 9 September 2006. Retrieved 10 March 2010.
- "Veteran target man Evans retires". BBC Sport. 29 November 2006. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
- "The Events". Mickey's Testimonial Year. Archived from the original on 8 January 2008. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
- "Ex-Plymouth Argyle striker Mickey Evans tackles city course for charity". The Herald. 28 May 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2013.