Mansfield Town chairman John Radford and CEO Carolyn Radford have finally spoken of their shock at manager Steve Evans walking out on the club before the end of the season.
The couple spoke candidly on the matter for the first time in public last night during a special ‘Evening With’ event before supporters at the One Call Stadium.
John Radford even revealed that Evans told him he was resigning to work in China before he ended up joining League One hometown club Peterborough United while Carolyn said it was her first experience of the old adage of there being no loyalty in football.
She was cheered by the Stags fans when she said she believed ‘what goes around comes around’ while John Radford accused Evans of a ‘lack of etiquette’, though still wished him well.
Evans walked out on the Stags with just 12 games to go, having been financially backed to the hilt by the Radfords in building one of the most expensive squads in the division, which ultimately fell short of even a play-off place.
“We went up to see him after the Coventry game and chatted,” said John Radford.
“Everything was very positive but the body language was a bit wrong. He sat there with arms folded and he didn’t look us in the eye.
“But we didn’t see it coming. We thought he was here to stay.
“He then rang me and said, ‘chairman it’s getting a bit much for me, I am going to go and work out in China and I need to resign’.
“But when a manager resigns, you can’t resign to go to another club.
“There is a bit of etiquette and everything there. If they are having a bit of a life crisis and they are going to work in China or somewhere else, that’s fine.
“But you always want to wish people well and he’s gone.”
Carolyn Radford admitted Evans’ shock departure was a real eye-opener.
“When you come to football from a normal business, you realise football is such a unique business,” she said.
“And the loyalty factor – it’s a cliché there is no loyalty in football. Then when it actually happens to you, you don’t believe people are like that.
“We did everything we could do. Everybody at this football club went above and beyond the call of duty. We gave him everything he wanted as you can’t give managers any excuses.
“We knew Steve was a great manager and had delivered before. We respected that.
“But no manager is bigger than a football club and I believe what goes around comes around.”