Former colleagues pay tribute to Hammers man Dave Evans
- Credit: Archant
Former colleagues paid tribute to the Recorder’s long-serving West Ham United correspondent Dave Evans who sadly passed away on Christmas Day.
I myself Jacob Ranson and former Archant sports reporters Ned Keating and George Sessions have a lot to thank the experienced award-winning journalist for as he was always keen to share his time with all of us as we were learning to ply our trade in the industry.
I’m sure we were not the only three that have learnt from his knowledge and years of wisdom especially his proof reading where you’d never live down a mistake.
But that was all because he wanted to make sure you didn’t make the mistake anymore plus he enjoyed the office banter and had a good sense of humour.
More than that he was a good friend and we always enjoyed talking about Brentford when he wasn’t enjoying winding me up about how bad Leyton Orient were of course or my love for covering non-league football.
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I could go on for hours about his brilliant work or the help he gave me along the way or how well he shared his views on the Hammers or how much he loved cricket or covering the bowls but I thought I'd also let Ned and George share their fond views of Dave.
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I was shocked and saddened to hear the news of Dave’s passing.
It was only a few days ago when I thought Brentford must have put a smile on his face by reaching the League Cup semi-finals.
He loved the Bees and although he may not have admitted it, he had a soft spot for West Ham and rightly so given the years he covered the club for Archant’s London titles.
He was a Recorder Stalwart and despite the constant changes with a switch of focus from print to web, the rise of social media and the increasingly popularity of podcasts and videos, Dave always stayed relevant and was a fantastic voice for the West Ham fans to follow.
The Bye Bye Boleyn supplement to mark the club leaving Upton Park in 2016 rightly received rave reviews with Dave almost singlehandedly producing all of the content.
It was testament to him that a local newspaper covering a Premier League club remained one of the first places for accurate news and strong opinions despite the competition of Nationals.
It also says a lot for Dave’s personality that he was a popular figure amongst his fellow journalists and was hugely respected by hundreds of players, managers and staff members who have worked at West Ham during the last 15 years.
Aside from being a brilliant writer with a perchant for fantastic intros and a superb interview style, he was a mentor for so many people at Archant like myself.
From his tongue in cheek comments about inaccurate phrases (like Leyton Orient being title challengers!) to his meticulous proofreading and his backing when us young writers would receive criticism for a story we had written or a view we had shared.
Small pointers from him made me a much better journalist and I know I am just one of many.
He had a wicked sense of humour in every sense of the word and would not be afraid to point out if the tea or coffee he had been made was not up to standard but the love he had for his work also spilled over into those who shared a desk or office with him.
No matter the time, with deadlines looming or rush hour approaching, he had time for you and will be sorely missed.
He was not always on top form, especially if he had an early start or encountered horrendous traffic on his journey but would still make you laugh and one trip I had in his car on the north circular will live long in the memory for equally scaring me and leaving me chuckling.
Recent years had not been kind to Dave, he lost his dear mum, had problems with his health and was made redundant earlier in 2020.
Nevertheless I will never forget the warmth he always had for me after I left Archant if we ever bumped into each other at a game or press conference or the times we would text/tweet to share news.
He was a good friend and although I can’t wish for my own beloved Spurs to lose to Brentford in the League Cup next month, I really do hope the Bees go up this year and can play West Ham next season in what I will always call the Dave Evans derby.
It is no consolation but I was pleased to hear he spent this Christmas day with the people he loved, he always talked about his family with such fondness and of course the mighty Northwood.
Rest in peace mate, you always played your shots throughout this very fine innings.
Ned Keating added: I first met Dave while on work experience at Archant back in 2013.
During another stint of work experience at a rival local publication a week prior, I had been warned he was something of a battle-axe - that could not have been further from the truth.
During those first meetings, as a student still trying to understand the industry, I found Dave to be extremely generous with his time.
It was a trait he still had when I joined the Recorder permanently two years later, offering his wisdom and guidance to myself, George Sessions and, later, Jacob Ranson.
Dave even found time to teach me how to make the perfect cup of coffee, though he would still let me know if I’d made it a little too, in his words, ‘King Kong’.
His coverage of West Ham was rightly award-winning, striking the perfect balance between before fair and critical of the first-team and the board, while also raising awareness of off-the-pitch matters with articles on food banks and the LGBTQ+ supporters’ group among others.
Though he covered West Ham in great depth, he did much more than that; he gave the east London bowls scene a huge profile with his weekly columns and often found ways to tell human stories in addition to the sporting ones.
His athletics coverage, and in particular his reports on the Newham & Essex Beagles and the Woodford Green & Essex Ladies, were second to none.
Aside from sport, there was no shortage of conversation when working alongside Dave and we would regularly find ourselves talking about the latest episode of Masterchef, Strictly Come Dancing or the Great British Bake Off.
Anyone who worked alongside Dave is aware of how much of a privilege it was, and will also know how much of an impact he had on their careers.
Sitting alongside a man of his experience and talent in my first full-time job in the industry helped shape my career and for that, Dave, I’ll always be grateful. May you rest in peace.