Convicted rapist Ched Evans blames 'mob rule' over collapsed move to Oldham
Last Updated: 09/01/15 8:36am
Ched Evans' move to Oldham has collapsed with the convicted rapist blaming 'mob rule' for preventing the League One club signing him.
Evans, who also apologised for the first time to the woman he was found guilty of raping, claimed a new stand at Oldham would have been put at risk had he joined.
The club's chief executive Neil Joy insisted they pulled the plug on a deal following "vile and abusive threats, including death threats" to fans, sponsors and staff plus "unbearable pressure" on the club's finances with sponsors threatening to sever ties.
Greater Manchester Police said, however, that no reports about death threats or other serious threats had been received.
"It is with great sadness that today I have withdrawn from talks with Oldham Athletic. I would like to thank the Club, and those who have supported me in my lawful quest to find work. I apologise to the clubs supporters, sponsors and all those effected by the last 72 hours.
"Sadly the ‘mob rule’ tactics employed by the more radical elements of our society and the constant media reporting has had the desired influence on some sponsors and the club would face significant financial pressure if I joined them.
Whilst I continue to maintain my innocence, I wish to make it clear that I wholeheartedly apologise for the effects that night in Rhyl has had on many people, not least the woman concerned.
"The most significant issue for me was that owing to the threat of funding opportunities being withdrawn which may jeopardise the building of Oldham's new stand it would mean that workers would lose their jobs and others would be put at risk - that would simply not be fair.
“Upon legal advice, I was told not to discuss the events in question. This silence has been misinterpreted as arrogance and I would like to state that this could not be further from the truth.
“I do remain limited at present by what I can say due to the ongoing referral to the Criminal Cases Review Commission and whilst I continue to maintain my innocence, I wish to make it clear that I wholeheartedly apologise for the effects that night in Rhyl has had on many people, not least the woman concerned.
“Finally, it has been claimed that those using social media in an abusive and vindictive way towards this woman are supporters of mine. I wish to make it clear that these people are not my supporters and I condemn their actions entirely and will continue to do so.”
The PFA commented on the proposed move to Oldham in the same statement, insisting it was not “‘driving’ any deal".
“We have had some discussions with Oldham Athletic regarding the interest they expressed in signing Ched, although we feel it is important to make clear that, contrary to what has been reported, we were not ‘driving’ any deal,” read an official statement.
“As we understand it, the club and player were in discussions and contact was then made with the PFA as matters progressed given the particular circumstances of this situation and we were simply being asked to publicly reiterate our support for the club in signing him.
“Despite being ready to offer this from the outset, we were asked to delay whilst discussions between the club and player continued, and we were disappointed to see over the course of this week, comments being made which we feel mischaracterise our limited role in this matter.
“The PFA's position remains the same, as we have expressed previously, that any club which decides to sign him would receive our support.
“We fully recognise that this is a delicate and emotive case and entirely respect that there are opposing views.”