Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Mob-like behaviour stopped Sheffield United from taking rapist Evans back - co-chairman

Ched Evans will not be allowed to train with Sheffield United. Photo: PA

Sheffield United co-chairman Jim Phipps says a 'mob-like behaviour' meant they could not allow convicted rapist Ched Evans train with the club.

The Blades had originally offered their former striker the opportunity to use their facilities in order to regain his fitness.

That offer was withdrawn after a collection of high profile supporters of the club spoke out against the decision, including TV presenter Charlie Webster who resigned from her role as a patron at Bramall Lane.

Charlie Webster spoke out against the club's offer to Evans. Credit: PA

"The influence of mob-like behaviour has made it difficult to take the simple step of allowing Ched to train," he added.

"I will acknowledge that our decision to not let Ched train is probably a decision that will make it harder for him to get on with his football career in the immediate future.

"The people who believe that Ched should be punished for the rest of his life might call that a victory.

"I think of it as a defeat for the principle that punishment under the justice system should be left to those that are authorised by law."

Sheffield United won't allow Ched Evans back. Credit: PA

Evans, who still protests his innocence, will now be forced to find a club elsewhere as he tries to rebuild his career.

Phipps believes Sheffield United had no other choice that to retract their offer to Evans.

"We had the direct attacks on the club, on its sponsors, we had attacks on our community foundation and everyone is well aware some of our patrons had their comments to say," Phipps continued.

"The issue was tearing at the fabric of our community. We are a community and family club and we had our people at each other's throats and the promise was that things weren't going to get better."

Evans is trying to get back into professional football. Credit: PA

It is hoped this will allow the club to move forward without the shadow of Evans hanging over them.

"We made the decision that we could not continue on this route.

"It has always been our decision about what we do, but we have to take note. We are coming up in questions to the Prime Minister at the G20, how the hell did that happen?

"It went beyond any bounds that we might have imagined. We didn't expect the response would be as it was.

"We have made a courageous decision to limit the damage."

More on this story