Stevenage boss Steve Evans has set his sights high this season and hopes of adding a ninth promotion to his CV have been boosted by Boro’s impressive start to the Sky Bet League Two campaign.
As it stands, the Club sit second in the standings, taking 13 points from a possible 15, level with table topping Leyton Orient.
In addition, Stevenage have also enjoyed success in the Carabao Cup, beating higher ranked sides in Reading and Peterborough United to advance to Round Three of the competition, but the aim this term is clear for Evans.
“There’s always a burning ambition to win promotions,” the Scotsman stated, on the Official EFL Podcast. “There’s certainly a burning ambition to win promotions and take good people – like your Chairman – and Football Clubs to the heights that perhaps they’ve not experienced. When that burning ambition goes, that will tell you it’s time to step away, but I think I’m a long way from that yet.”
The 59-year-old is something of a specialist at this level. Evans masterminded Crawley Town’s first-ever promotion to the EFL in 2010/11 and, with the Sussex team on track to make it back-to-back feats, he departed in April 2012 before the Reds ascended to League One.
And he worked his magic once again in South Yorkshire as Rotherham United achieved successive promotions, going from League Two to the Championship in the space of two terms.
“My promotions are all well documented,” he continued. “I’ve had two title wins at Stamford – albeit it’s non-league – then up to Boston where I had two title wins with Boston; two promotions with Crawley and two promotions with Rotherham so I think that speaks for itself.
"Do I care what people think of me? Everyone's got feelings."@StevenageFC manager Steve Evans has an in-depth chat with @MarkClemmit on this week's #OfficialEFLPodcast— Sky Bet League Two (@SkyBetLeagueTwo) August 25, 2022
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“When it comes to promotions, I don’t think it makes much difference to Stamford in terms of level. Winning promotion at Stamford, how you feel and how you wake up the next day, it’s no different to winning promotion at Wembley to the Championship.
And the Boro boss, who was appointed earlier in March to help the Club preserve their League Two status, draws comparisons with his previous employers.
“There are many factors,” he explained. “I sat down with Phillip Wallace and it was like sitting down with Tony Stewart. The resemblance and the chat was like turning back the clock. My relationship with him, I could see that continuing for a long, long time, like it is with Mr Stewart at Rotherham.
“When I was first approached, I was 95% certain I was going to be managing in the Scottish Premiership the following season. What was stopping me putting pen to paper was nothing other than grandchildren, location and being away five or six nights a week because my family is settled where they are.
“Mr Wallace had wanted me before and I went and met him, and he was another John Radford – he made me feel so wanted and so valued. His mission was a tough one to get EFL survival. That means a lot.”
Stevenage travel to Salford City this weekend in the hope of extending their impressive start to the season and Evans is keeping his squad grounded in the early throes of the campaign.
“People always talk about team spirit and what relationship the manager or head coach has with the dressing room, and it comes from winning games,” he said. “We’d like to say we’re all focused on an objective of trying to make sure that our Club can be in the top half of League Two at the end of the season in the minimum.
“For me now, it’s just about keeping all of the players and staff on a level. It’s going to be really tough to be in that top group this season but we can give 100% and we can make sure we do everything possible on and off the pitch to try and get into that top group.”