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Virtual National Game Awards 2019-20: FotMob Manager of the Year – Ian Evatt

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TOP BOSS: Ian Evatt’s Barrow overcame the odds to land the Natiional League title

By Matt Badcock

Ian Evatt thanked his Barrow management team for their hard work that puts his name as boss of the National League champions in lights – but says he isn’t silly enough to think he’s cracked the job just yet!

Evatt, 38, saw his Bluebirds promoted to the EFL in midweek and has now been crowned as FotMob Manager of the Year in The NLP’s National Game Awards.

It’s been a fine season for Evatt and his charges as his swashbuckling side recovered from a tricky start to finish top of the tree and end their 48-year wait for a famous Football League return.

Perhaps it’s easy to forget Evatt – who won two promotions with Blackpool and one with Chesterfield as a player – has just completed his second season in the dug-out.

But he’s now following in the footsteps of previous NGA winners like Danny Cowley, John Askey and the late Justin Edinburgh.

“To be in that type of company is great,” Evatt said. “I’m new to all this, I’m not naive enough to think I’ve cracked it. I’ve still got a lot to learn, I’m still a rookie but it’s been a great start.

“It’s has been a huge team effort. I’m lucky enough to be the leader of the pack, so to speak, but we are very much a team of staff.

“My assistant Peter Atherton and the rest of the backroom staff have really supported me and helped me to provide the platform for the team to go out there and express themselves.”

While Barrow were made to wait for confirmation of their title on unweighted points-per-game, the hard work the club put in has now been rewarded. And Evatt says that universal commitment has been the cornerstone of their success.

“I live for football,” Evatt said. “For me it is 24 hours a day, seven days a week – you get out of it what you put in. I like to think we are meticulous with our planning and we have brought a whole new professionalism to the National League and Barrow in terms of our data analysis.

“I think if you ask people at the club who’ve worked under different management and then seen what we do, it’s completely new and a different level. That’s stood us in good stead.

“But for that to happen, for us to be use that and get the benefits, takes time, it takes effort and it takes people sacrificing. It’s not just about me and my sacrifice, the whole backroom team have sacrificed for the greater good and it’s shown what you can achieve with a lot of hard work.”

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