Belfast Telegraph

Play-offs leave us in a bit of a flap but Steve Evans shows he's no chicken

By Billy Weir

No part of any ultimate weekend would be complete without a visit to Wembley. Or three in the case of the Play-off finals.

Whereas in the past the Championship decider to see who the third best team is in the division was on Bank Holiday Monday, the main event is now on a Saturday, and featured a return to his soggy stomping ground for old England boss Steve McClaren.

His Derby County side took on QPR, managed by Harry Redknapp, and in the Sky studio there was plenty more managerial experience with Sean Dyche, manager of the second best team in the division joined by Uwe Rossler, manager of the fifth best team in the division.

There were always going to be a few language issues with the bosses, Steve liable to break into elementary Dutch at any second, and so it proved as in the studio we were told it was about the 'coo doss of getting to the Premier League.'

I wondered what a lazy pigeon had to do with it but then realised Sean Dyche meant 'kudos' but our feathered friend returned moments later, via Leipzig, as German Rossler started talking about 'Coo PR'.

Again I wondered why would our winged chums need public relations help, but we were soon distracted as Peter Beakrie, sorry, Beagrie, Sky's resident expert, distracted everyone by doing a few somersaults, killing several pigeons in the process.

To make sure 'Arry wouldn't get the right bird with an interviewer, presenter Simon Thomas explained that 'ahead of one of the biggest games of his managerial career, we sent his son, Jamie, along to see how he's doing.'

"Well dad, we'll start with the important things, how's the suit?," asked Jamie, and to his credit Redknapp Snr. resisted the temptation to say 'at least my whistle's not Barry White.'

He did though have much wisdom to impart.

"It's a game at the end of the day, it's an important game and we want to win, but at the end of it, it's a game," said the wise old owl, or pigeon, who caused quite a flap as Bobby Zamora's late goal got 10-men QPR back into the Premier League.

On Sunday, Rotherham left it even later to beat Leyton Orient, the Yorkshiremen winning on penalties meaning that we got a chance to hear more from their fabulous manager, Steve Evans, a proud Glaswegian who has been no stranger to a battered haggis supper and a tumbler of Irn Bru in his time.

His speedy waddle down the line like an expectant duck may have lacked the artistic impression of Jose Mourinho but afterwards he changed tack.

"I said after the play-off semi if there was a better goal I'd wake up a chicken, so between tonight and tomorrow I need to find a chicken outfit," was his summation of Alex Revell's wonder-strike that got The Millers, handy when you need a lot of bird feed, back to 2-2.

And finally on Monday it was Fleetwood's turn to celebrate, the Cod Army sailing past Burton to win the League Two play-off and no birds were spotted except a seagull or two following the bus, probably expecting sardine sandwiches, and a confused albatross looking for someone called Mac.

Belfast Telegraph


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