Gareth Evans: I was close to walking away from Portsmouth before I signed - but I'm so glad I didn't

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Gareth Evans almost walked away from Pompey before signing his first contract.

Despite being primed to make his 200th Blues appearance at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday, the fans’ favourite admitted he was close to taking up an offer elsewhere.

After departing Fleetwood, Evans arrived on the south coast as a free agent in the summer of 2015.

The midfielder spent six weeks proving his worth before he was eventually rewarded with a two-year deal. 

Evans has subsequently scored 34 goals in 199 outings, playing a key role when Paul Cook’s side clinched the League Two title in 2017, and has endeared himself to the Fratton faithful. 

He’s cherished his time at PO4 and is set to become the first player since Matt Taylor to bring up a double century. of appearances.

Gareth Evans, centre, celebrates Pompey's League Two title triumph with Conor Chaplin, left, and Gary Roberts. Picture: Joe Pepler

Gareth Evans, centre, celebrates Pompey's League Two title triumph with Conor Chaplin, left, and Gary Roberts. Picture: Joe Pepler

But he revealed his Pompey career almost ended before it even began. 

Evans revealed: ‘Cooky said “come down and we’ll have a look at your fitness”, but I ended up being here for about six weeks without a deal.

‘But it all worked out in the end and I’d like to think I’ve proven my worth.

‘I was getting permanent contract offers from League One clubs. I don’t really want to name them but they were clubs that didn’t really interest me much. They didn’t have the ambitions this club had.

Gareth Evans celebrates scoring at Bradford last season. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

Gareth Evans celebrates scoring at Bradford last season. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

‘I wanted to go somewhere to win things and be part of a big club. Coming on trial was a tough decision but I’m pleased I made it.

‘I was in the Royal Beach Hotel in Southsea, sat in there for six weeks. Cooky was a man of his word and eventually coughed up a contract.

‘The club put me in the hotel but I had to pay afterwards – my first month’s wages went on that! 

‘It did get to a point (of nearly leaving).

‘Ben Davies was on trial as well and we were both promised contracts would come along, although we were getting to a point where we were going to have to take up our other options.

‘I was that close to leaving that the manager turned around eventually and it made it happen.

‘I’m glad that I did sign that contract because I’ve had the experience and the joy of playing for a club like this.

‘Everything worked out in the end and everything worked out for a reason.’