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Evans On Famous Move North
With recent Wolves-Liverpool duels still very much in our minds, we hark back once more to the career of Alun Evans – and to some memories he has stirred in an interview we helped set up.
Our readers may recall that we were approached in the autumn by the editor of the excellent www.lfchistory.net website, who was seeking to speak at length to the former forward.
And the conversation they subsequently had has entertainingly filled in some gaps on the player’s eventful post-Molineux stay on Merseyside.
We are informed by the article, for example, that the Molineux board approved his sale at 5.30pm on the Monday after Wolves’ early-season home draw with Sunderland.
Some three hours later, after a dash up the M6 in the Jaguar belonging to the man who was to become his father-in-law, handshakes were being carried out in the Anfield boardroom.
“Before I knew where I was, I was in the cauldron of Liverpool,” Evans says in the article. “Peter Robinson was there, Liverpool’s secretary, and also the chairman Sidney Reakes.
“Bill Shankly said I must be hungry as it had been a long day, so he got me chicken and chips. That was my signing-on fee! We didn’t have agents in those days. Actually, I did have a 5 per cent cut of the fee Liverpool paid for me, so that was nice.”
A photographer was present to capture English football’s first £100,000 teenager tucking in and, a few days later on his Anfield debut, he feasted on the carcass that was Leicester’s exposed defence.
Only ten minutes had passed before The Kop, having given him a warm ovation before kick-off, were saluting the conquest of Peter Shilton and the first of his 33 goals for the club.
A week later came his two-goal contribution to Liverpool’s infamous 6-0 win at Molineux and the man predictably dubbed The Fifth Beetle after growing his hair long after his crew-cut Wolves years was hitting another musical note.
“Our fans were stirring up the Wolverhampton crowd, singing: “Thank-you very much for Alun Evans, thank-you very much, thank-you very, very, very much…”
Whether The Aintree Iron, as immortalised by The Scaffold in that song, referred to Evans’s Liverpool team-mate Tommy Smith, we can only guess.
The newcomer scored five times in his first nine Liverpool games but got on the score-sheet only twice from then on in his debut campaign and was sent off against Coventry along with Maurice Setters after a confrontation between the two.
Having been signed as part of a youthful overhaul of the ageing Anfield machine of the mid-1960s, Evans witnessed the sale of World Cup winner Roger Hunt and flickered as a possible long-term successor.
A hat-trick at home to Bayern Munich – Franz Beckenbauer, Sepp Maier, Gerd Muller and all – was special. And his strike in the away leg was voted Goal of the Month on a German TV show.
Evans included a goal in an FA Cup semi-final win over Everton and an appearance in a losing final against Arsenal among his other Liverpool highlights.
But he didn’t play for them again after the turgid 0-0 draw at Wolves 48 years ago this week. A certain future England captain and manager saw to that.
“When Kevin Keegan came, it was blatantly obvious that he was a very good player so I wasn’t surprised to be moving on,” Evans added.
“He was full-on for 90 minutes and never stopped. Kevin is a very nice man. We got on very well but he got along with everybody.”
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