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Full Name: Michael James Evans (also known as Trigger)
Born: 01 January 1973
1. Came from: Trainee Went to: Southampton
1. First game: 01 December 1990 Last game: 25 February 1997
2. Came from: Bristol Rovers Went to: Torquay United
2. First game: 24 March 2001 Last game: 30 April 2006
Appearances: 432 (351/81) Goals: 81
When a player is as well-known by a nickname as he is by his actual name, he's probably either a legend or a cult hero among his club's fans. Mickey 'Trigger' Evans is both. A product of the club's youth setup and bona fide Janner, Evans made his first-team debut for the club as a 17-year-old substitute in a 5-1 thrashing at Port Vale in December 1990. The travelling Green Army could not possibly have known then that the youngster's final appearance in a green shirt would come almost 16 years later.
Evans scored his first goal against Millwall in the Zenith Data Systems Cup in October 1991, but had to wait until March 1993 for his first League goal – that coming against Preston at Home Park. It wasn't until the playoff season of 93-94 that he really came to prominence, scoring seven goals in nine games as the Pilgrims surged to the top of the table. Two sublime goals at Rotherham underlined the strength, awareness and finishing ability that would eventually lead to a big-money move away from Home Park.
Relegation to the fourth tier of English football for the first time ever saw Evans take his place as Argyle's No.1 striker, and he struck 13 goals as The Pilgrims bounced back at the first attempt via a playoff final at Wembley. The following season was a tough one for Argyle at a higher level, but Evans had bagged 12 goals by February and was on course to set a personal best before he was whisked off to the Premier League in a record-breaking deal for his club. Southampton were clinging onto their top-flight status for dear life, and manager Graeme Souness parted with £650,000 to take Evans to The Dell. The Plymouth boy had a dream start to his Saints career, scoring four goals in six games to be awarded the Premier League Player of the Month award. But Souness resigned despite saving Southampton from the drop, and Evans wasn't fancied by new boss Dave Jones. After making a handful of appearances in the early months of the 1997-98 season, he was allowed to join West Brom for £750,000. His days at The Hawthorns, however, were blighted by injury and he made just 63 appearances in three years, scoring only six goals. He joined Bristol Rovers in 2000 as his journey back down the divisions continued, but was labelled an expensive flop after just three goals in 19 games and his career was left stagnant after such promising beginnings. With the 28-year-old floundering in Rovers' reserves, Argyle boss Paul Sturrock paid a nominal fee to take him back to where it all began.
With Argyle themselves stagnating in the basement division, the move proved to be an inspired choice for both player and club. Sturrock was seeking a targetman to deploy the tactical masterplan that would propel Argyle out of the doldrums, and in Evans he had found his man. Deployed as a tireless workhorse for his team-mates to aim at when regrouping or launching attacks, Evans was lauded by many a lower-league manager for his peerless ability to shield the ball for the opposition before laying it off to team-mates such as David Friio or Marino Keith. Such personal sacrifice inevitably hindered his goal-scoring ability, and just 34 goals in six seasons are an unfair statistical representation of a player who perhaps worked harder than any other in Argyle's rise up the divisions under Sturrock. In fact, he was one of the few players to maintain his form when the Pilgrims finally returned to the second tier in 2004.
His eventual swansong in 2006 was the kind of fairytale ending that only true club legends are awarded: a winning goal against Ipswich evoking emotional scenes at Home Park and provided a fitting end to the Argyle career of a selfless and dedicated servant. Trigger attempted to prolong his career with Torquay United, but his appetite for the game was diminishing and he retired after just a handful of appearances to concentrate on his Plymouth-based building company.
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From John Lloyd in Yiewsley, Uxbridge on 15/10/2013 ...
The very definition of the hometown cult hero, Michael Evans found success at Argyle twice - twice more than a great many other players who have turned out for the Pilgrims.
Nicknamed "Mickey" and "Trigger", there was often a sense amongst opposition fans and even some Argyle supporters that he was just another lower league journeyman striker, a big lump who you could send the ball towards in the hope that he might do something useful with it. ... More
From Ian Newell in Plymouth on 24/10/2013 ...
One of my Top Ten ever players for Argyle and a true Janner to boot.
I remember when Argyle were in the Championship and the players were obviously getting paid very decent wages, his fellow players would turn up in X5s, A7s and the odd TT chucked in. Trigger? Light blue Ford Transit with ladder on the roof. Typical of the man.
Also, his last ever game for Argyle v Ipswich he attempted a back flick type dummy, he landed on his backside, he got up, laughed and the whole of the ground laughed ... More
From Chris Dennis in Perranporth on 24/10/2013 ...
You cannot underestimate the value of a player like Trigger to any team. He could turn any hasty lumped clearance into an attacking opportunity by getting the ball under control from anywhere whilst also fending off the attentions of uncompromising defenders. He could then bring his own team mates into the game and thus create goal scoring opportunities for them as well as getting his own fair share of goals. A great team and club man representing his home club. Will we ever see his likes again? I sincerely hope so.
From Tyler House in Saltash on 15/04/2014 ...
Mickey Evans is another of my all-time Argyle favourites. Plymouth born and bred, Mickey, or "Trigger", was a powerful number 9 who was a handful for defences week in, week out. Nearly every fan in the stadium would get excited as soon as Mickey was on the ball, often setting up his teammates, although I have very fond memories of him scoring goals too! His final Argyle game, against Ipswich, was a special one, grabbing the winner in a 2-1 win.
APPEARANCE DETAILS [reselect competitions]
The details below reflect appearances in all first-team competitions.
We're grateful to Andy Chapman, Paul Roberts, Steve Rhodes and Mark Lovell for their help in writing GoS-DB's player pen-pictures, and to the PAFC Media Team and Colin Parsons for their help with photos. Thanks also to staff at the National Football Museum, the Scottish Football Museum and ScotlandsPeople for their valuable assistance.
The following publications have been particularly valuable in the research of pen-pictures: Plymouth Argyle, A Complete Record 1903-1989 (Brian Knight, ISBN 0-907969-40-2); Plymouth Argyle, 101 Golden Greats (Andy Riddle, ISBN 1-874287-47-3); Football League Players' Records 1888-1939 (Michael Joyce, ISBN 1-899468-67-6); Football League Players' Records 1946-1988 (Barry Hugman, ISBN 1-85443-020-3) and Plymouth Argyle Football Club Handbooks.
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