A NON-LEAGUE football club has launched a shock bid to sign convicted rapist Ched Evans.
Sunderland side Ashbrooke Belford House FC – who play seven leagues below the professional football pyramid in the Wearside League – say the forward deserves “a second chance” to rebuild his career.
Manager Asa Dobbing and assistant Lee Harrison say that their squad have already given their blessing for the controversial signing.
The management team contacted a national newspaper over a month ago to see if they could help to broker a deal.
While negotiations with the former Manchester City and Sheffield United striker have yet to take place, the club are hopeful they can bring in the 25-year-old.
The disgraced former Sheffield United striker was a potential target for Hartlepool United, but Pools ruled out any move for the striker in less than 24 hours. Read more here.
Evans was released from prison 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.
Hartlepool United were also linked with a move for the former Wales international last year.
But he could finally be given the chance to get back on the football pitch in Sunderland.
Asa Dobbing, manager of Ashbrooke Belford House, who play at Welfare Park in Silksworth, said: “We would give him a chance.
“Everybody deserves a second chance.
“We do need a centre forward and if he got himself match fit he would get in our side.”
Assistant boss Lee Harrison added: “We have spoken to the squad about it and they have given their backing and said ‘bring him in’.
“We are not condoning what happened in the past.
“We are not sure what the reaction would be from the community.
“Other footballers have been given a second chance, so he should be given one too.”