Trigger Warning – This piece discusses topics that some readers might not want to read about, including alleged sexual assault. For help with anything discussed in this piece, scroll straight to the bottom where there are links to a Lancashire based charity who offer help and support for victims.
Alan Nixon is often criticised when it comes to his “knowledge” on North End signings but he does get some things right from time to time. Unfortunately, it would appear that he’s not too wide of the mark regarding North End’s “interest” in signing current Fleetwood Town striker, Ched Evans.
I say “interest” because despite the denials earlier in the week about signing Ched, that’s where the club are up to at the moment as has been evidenced by reports from our friends over at LancsLive, The Lancashire Post and some emails have done the rounds on the forum and social media that despite what some people might think, are genuine.
Ched Evans spent half of a five-year sentence in prison after being found guilty in April 2012 of raping, in a hotel room, a woman who the prosecution said was too intoxicated to consent to sex. The Court of Appeal quashed his conviction and he was acquitted after a retrial in 2016, but even so, is he someone that anyone would want to be in any way affiliated with our football club, let alone actually sign and play for the club?
Here are some details about his retrial that other people might not be aware of.
Family and friends of Ched put together a £50,000 reward for information leading to his acquittal before the case went to trial for a second time.
Although they expressed “a considerable degree of hesitation”, the appeal court judges gave the defence team permission to call the woman’s ex-boyfriends as witnesses in the retrial, asking them to graphically describe details about their sex lives with the woman in question and her sexual preferences.
Finally, in court, Evans admitted that he lied in order to get a key for the hotel room that the woman was in and that he left afterwards via the fire escape; he also said that he didn’t speak to the woman before, during or after having sex with her.
For more information about the retrial, I highly recommend you read this piece on The Independent.
For more information about how women’s support groups felt close examination of complainant’s sexual history sets a dangerous legal precedent, I recommend you give this piece on the Guardian a read.
You simply need to look at the backlash on social media to the mere suggestion of him signing for North End to realise why this would be an absolute disaster for the club.
ABSOLUTELY HELL NO!!!— KBP (@Bleo1984) January 3, 2021
My season ticket won’t be getting renewed and I’m disgusted this is even being talked about https://t.co/YpYMJayigk
Do not want to see him at my club, ever!!!— Angie Morley 🌹#notmygovernment #blacklivesmatter (@useless45) January 3, 2021
Absolutely not.— Sam Wilkins (@wickedwilk) January 3, 2021
I doubt this would be seen as an issue by the wider footballing public, after all, he restarted his football career by joining Chesterfield back in the 16/17 season before rejoining Sheffield United in the Championship and has now made over 80 appearances for Fleetwood. All of this has been with little to no outcry.
However, when it’s your club such a player could be playing for, it’s a different matter.
It’s no surprise to hear that the player wants to come to the club. Why would he not? A step-up the footballing ladder again in the latter stages of his career, presumably a bit more money than what he’s on at Fleetwood and if he lives in the area, he wouldn’t have to move to come to Deepdale.
For him, it makes sense. For us, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Barring 9 appearances in the 2017/18 season, he’s not played at Championship level for 10 years, he’s a 32-year-old who is being let go by League One Fleetwood Town because of his behaviour.
As I said earlier, yes he was found not guilty at a retrial but that doesn’t mean what he admitted to doing in court wasn’t absolutely abhorrent.
I just hope that the club sees sense and pulls out of this one sooner, rather than later. However, my gut says that this one is happening, unfortunately.
Finally, if you want to support a local charity that supports both male and female victims of sexual assault, I will point you in the direction of Trust House Lancashire who offers specialist counselling and support for the victims of sexual violence and abuse.
Trust House Lancashire website – trusthouselancs.org