On an emotional Saturday afternoon in Benalmadena, Frank Evans, more affectionately, (if a bit unoriginally), known as "El Ingles" to his Spanish followers, retired from the ring after nearly four decades as a matador. Evan's has been forced to hang up his "muleta" due to serious arthritis in his knee which will require major surgery to fix. Evan's was carried triumphantly around the ring by his fellow matadors who also cut the "coleta" (the ponytail) as tradition dictates them to do for a retiring matador.For Evan's it was the culmination of a long career that really started when the son of a butcher from Salford read the autobiography of British matador Vincent Hitchcock. Hitchcock had fought in Spain in the 50's and 60's and Evan's managed to track him down and under his advice went to try his luck in Spain to train as a matador.
After seeing his first bullfight in Grenada, Evan's was captivated by the artistry and style of the matadors. He enrolled at the bullfighting school in Valencia and displayed a natural aptitude, forcing his previously dubious instructor to take note. From that point on Frank worked hard and his career was on the move although it's not easy to get fights at first, in fact, until audiences are willing to pay to see you, matadors are expected to pay to fight.The highlight of his career according to Evan's was when he was given the title of "matador de toros" in 1991, the only Englishman ever to be awarded this accolade. El Ingles has fought around 175 fights and has plied his trade in every major bullring except the celebrated "Las Ventas" in Madrid. Evan's also believes that the fact that he is English has worked in his favour ? his Spanish audience have always viewed him as something of a novelty and this has meant that he's been offered more fights than a Spanish matador of the same level.
Despite Evan's slightly depreciating view of his own skills he's extremely popular in Spain and has earned the respect of many in the bullfighting world. Critic Juan Miguel Nunez recently wrote of him: ""He looks like the perfect English gentlemen but he moves and thinks like a true torero; he has the scent of a torero.".There have also been tough times for Evans, a bullfighter's career is usually not without serious injury at some stage and in 1984 he suffered a severe goring which damaged his prostate, left him with internal bleeding and cost him a 10 day stint in hospital. Frank has also come in for a tough time from animal rights campaigners and he's received numerous threats to both him and his family, he has even had activists protesting outside of his Salford home.Now at age 62, the father of two is looking to pursue other business interests after captivating audiences in France, Venezuela and Spain.
Amongst the expressive, showman-like world of matadors, Evan's has always been the odd one out, his British reserve having to be suppressed in order to play the crowd, but as the bell tolls on his career as a matador, respect must be given to this man who has grafted and made a name for himself in an alien world. We salute you, El Ingles..
Mike McDougall has five years experience working as a travel writer and marketeer. He is currenlty working to provide additional content for Babylon-idiomas, a Spanish language school with an excellent presence in Spain and Latin America.This work is covered by a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.
0/uk/ creative commons licence.
By: Mike McDougall