Rapist Ched Evans WON’T sign for Hartlepool and club ‘regrets any upset’ caused

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HARTLEPOOL United will NOT be signing convicted rapist Ched Evans the club has confirmed.

It comes after Pools manager Ronnie Moore confirmed to SportMail that there was a “possibility” Evans could sign for the club.

But the club has now confirmed they are not looking to sign the Welshman.

Chairman Peter Harris said: “We are upset at the manner in which this story has escalated and wish to make it clear that the player will not be joining the Club.

“All we are concentrating on is league survival and do not want anything to upset that goal.

“The Club regrets any upset that May have been caused but we feel we must deal with this matter quickly and put the story to bed once and for all.”

A club statement read: “In light of recent media reports the Club would like to make the following statement.

Following media reports relating to the possible signing of Ched Evans the Club wishes to make its position clear.

“1. Hartlepool United do not intend signing Ched Evans and, for the avoidance of doubt, will not be doing so, irrespective of his obvious ability as a football player.

“2. This story has emerged following an unsubstantiated internet rumour which the manager was asked to comment upon. The manager responded hypothetically to the situation by stating “if it could happen I would want it to happen”. This response was based upon the player’s obvious ability as a footballer and as such as then been headlined by the media without asking the Club for their official position.

“3. The Club can fully understand the concerns of supporters and the general public and regrets any misconception portrayed.

“4. After a highly positive week at Hartlepool United following the takeover by new owners and the appointment of a new manager, the owners are saddened by this unfortunate turn of events and wish to draw a line under it immediately.”

Moore’s comments sparked outcry with town MP Iain Wright condemning the move, while it also divided supporters.

Evans, 25, was released in October after serving half of a five-year sentence for the rape of a 19-year-old woman in a hotel room in 2011.

In November, Sheffield United retracted their offer to let Evans use their training facilities after the Blades had been heavily criticised.

Speaking on Saturday night, Moore told SportMail: “If it could happen for me, I would want it to happen.

“There is no doubt about that. He is a proven goalscorer.

“He has served his time for me and the boy wants to play football.

“If there is a chance that he might come here, and I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t.

“I know what will happen now, everybody will me groaning and you see what happened at Sheffield United.

“You keep pushing the lad away. He made a mistake and maybe he hasn’t made the apology in the right way and there is a case pending on the appeal.

“On the football matters, if he gets on the park he will go a long way to getting us out of trouble, that’s for sure.

“It is a possibility, I would leave it at that for now.”

The striker came through the ranks at Manchester City, had a spell on loan at Norwich City before signing for Sheffield United.

Hartlepool MP Iain wright said: “This has been a momentous week for Hartlepool United, we have got new owners, we are still bottom of the league but we felt that this was a new chapter being written and we can now move on and make sure that our number one priority is league survival.

“The whole town will be united with what the new owners have done with this. I’m really pleased.

“The club recognises the importance a football club has on a town and the influence it has on its young fans.

“Having a rapist playing on the pitch, whether you like it or not players are role models for young people and the message it sends out that it is somehow acceptable to treat women this way is absolutely unacceptable.

“I’m pleased the new owners have nipped this in the bud and drawn a line under it.”

MORE ON THIS STORY:

The Ched Evans story – from free-scoring star to convicted rapist

Campaign group speaks out over possibility Pools could sign convicted rapist Ched Evans

Iain Wright says it would be ‘entirely wrong’ for Hartlepool United to sign rapist Ched Evans