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Interviews

First, Best, Worst: Terry Evans

From title triumph to broken teeth, former Bees captain Terry Evans discusses his first, best and worst moments in a Brentford shirt

15 May 2018

A tough-tackling centre-half, Terry began his career with Non-League side Hillingdon before arriving at Griffin Park in 1985. A fan favourite, he skippered The Bees to the 1991/92 Division Three title. In 2014, he was voted the Club’s greatest ever captain and inducted into Brentford’s Hall of Fame.

Since retiring, he has pursued a career in medicine and has spent time working in Rugby Union with Premiership side Wasps.

 

FIRST…

Game for Brentford

I came on as a substitute with about 15 minutes to go in the first game of the season against Wolverhampton Wanderers. I think we won 2-1. I then started on the Tuesday night in a League Cup game at Cambridge United. I made an assist for Bob Booker - the corner came in, I won the header from the corner and Bob headed it into the goal, which was a good start!

I settled in well, playing about 20 games before I got a serious knee injury that kept me out for 18 months. I ruptured my cruciate and had to have it reconstructed twice. Strangely, it was actually a good experience for me. I was out for a length of time, just sitting in the stands watching the games and listening to the fans give the players who weren’t performing some flak. I thought that if my family or my girlfriend ever came to watch me, I wouldn’t want them to endure that, so it gave me a good inspiration to perform and put a good shift in!

 

Room-mate

I started rooming with Bob Booker, and then when he left I roomed with Keith Millen. We were really close. We played together at the back and were best mates off the pitch. We had some good fun and did some wild stuff. We used to play cards on the bus for forfeits and Jamie Bates was always the whipping boy, bless him. Once we were playing cards in the room and he lost; he had to strip off naked and run to the bus stop across the road!

 

Pair of boots you owned

My first pair were called Beckenbauers. They were just black Adidas boots with a yellow stripe. I go for plain black boots and once I turned pro, I always wore Puma Kings. I wouldn’t wear the bright boots players wear today, they just make you a target.

 

BEST…

Moment as a Brentford player

It would definitely be winning the league. I was the captain, so it was a brilliant feeling to stand up in front of the fans and lift the trophy. It was a childhood dream to do something like that. It wasn’t quite the FA Cup but when playing in lower league football, winning the title is the next best thing and I was very privileged to do it as skipper. I played with some great players, and we had some fantastic lads in that team, so it was a privilege to be able to lead them.

 

Player you played alongside during your time at Brentford

That’s a really tough one. In the early days Terry Hurlock was a fantastic player - everyone thought he was just a hard man, and he would kick lumps out of you, but he could pass and play too. Keith Millen was great alongside me and our understudy at centre-half, Jamie Bates, was a hell of a player, too. I could go through the whole side, we had some great players.

 

Thing about being a footballer

Getting paid to do something that you really enjoy - it was a joy to come to work everyday. Even when we’d moan at being flogged during pre-season, we were still getting paid to keep fit! It was also a privilege to play in front of the fans. Brentford is a great club and I still enjoy going back there now. They’ve got some backing now and it’s a club that’s on the up. It’d be great to see them push for promotion into the Premier League.

 

WORST… 

Moment as a Brentford player

It was finding out that Dave Webb had been given the Manager’s job, which marked my card. We’d just been relegated and I was in hospital having some surgery on my knee when Phil Holder contacted me and said that he’d been sacked. Dave couldn’t handle the senior pros and I just knew my time was up. I played on for a couple of months and then, luckily enough, I got bought by Martin O’Neill, who was a real breath of fresh air.

 

Sledging from an opposition player

I’d normally react by kicking them in the air! It was a bit different in our day, you could mark somebody’s card and it was easier to get stuck into someone as a defender. We were pretty good as a back four, we could kick a few people and if you were on a booking, you could pass on that duty to somebody else! It was pretty well known that we could put ourselves about.

 

Tackle you’ve been on the end of

I got a few elbows, I’ve had a few broken teeth and my eyebrow split a few times but it was just part and parcel of the game. When I broke my cheekbone I didn’t even realise until I took myself to hospital after the game. I was presented with the choice of taking three months off or continuing to play with the risk of it shattering; I opted for the latter! 


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