Evans Bob Image 1 Blackburn Rovers 1905

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Description

Wrexham, Denbighshire born goalkeeper Bob Evans played local football for Olympic Juniors in 1896 and Stansty Villa in 1897 before joining hometown professional club Wrexham in 1898. With Evans in goal Wrexham were Champions of The Combination for three successive seasons, from 1900-01 to 1902-03, and Evans played in two Welsh Cup Finals for the club, on the losing side against Wellington Town in 1902 but victorious in 1903, keeping a clean sheet in their win over Aberaman Athletic. He was first capped for Wales against Ireland at Cardiff in February 1902, a match in which he dislocated his knee but played on with the “joint bound up with yards of linen”, and he won 3 more caps in the Home Championship in early 1903.

His performances for Wrexham and for his country earned him a move to the Football League when First Division club Blackburn Rovers paid a fee of £150 for his services in April 1903, and he made his Football League debut at Everton that September. He spent five seasons at Blackburn, playing 113 games and became club captain. While at Rovers he was described as “among the highest flight of goalkeepers. Cool, calm, collected, he is a master beneath the bar; high, low and wide shots came alike to him. Skilful to a degree, he is quickness personified and rarely indeed does he misjudge the flight of the ball; bold and daring he is one of the most fearless players that ever stepped out on the football field. A most reliable custodian, as agile as a cat and up to every trick on the board”.

His only Welsh cap while at Blackburn came against Ireland at Aberdare in April 1908. Evans’ international appearances were restricted by having to compete with Leigh Richmond Roose, who was an automatic first choice for his country for many years.

After losing his place to Willie McIver in October 1907 due to a knee injury, Evans made only 4 more appearances for Blackburn Rovers  to take his total to 113 matches, he then moved into the Southern League, joining Croydon Common in May 1908. He made 22 appearances for The Commoners in 1908-09, and then signed for Coventry City in May 1909, for whom he appeared 139 times over the next four seasons. He won half of his ten Welsh caps while at Coventry being capped twice in 1911 and 3 times in 1912, making his final appearance against Ireland at Ninian Park, Cardiff in April 1912. He returned to the Football League with Birmingham in June 1913, playing the first three games of the 1913-14 season, in which he conceded nine goals, and relinquished the starting place to Bert Crossthwaite. Evans finished off his playing career at non-league Nuneaton Town joining them in May 1914.

He then served in the First World War where he suffered from shell shock. He also played minor counties cricket for Denbighshire. He later became a referee and football administrator after retiring from the game.

His younger brother Caradog Evans played centre forward for Plymouth and appeared for Wales in amateur matches.

 

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