The Ched Evans story: From free-scoring star to convicted rapist

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2011 - May 30: Ched Evans arrested on suspicion of sexual assault.

July 26: Evans and fellow footballer Clayton McDonald are charged with rape.

2012 - April 20: Evans is jailed for five years for rape and McDonald is acquitted. Evans maintains his innocence.

April 23: The Professional Footballers’ Association is forced to defend itself after Evans is named in the League One team of the year. Evans is released by Sheffield United at the end of the season.

April 24: Evans’ lawyers announce he is to appeal against his conviction.

November 6: Evans loses his appeal after his case is rejected by three judges at the Court of Appeal in London.

2014 - April 18: An online petition is launched urging United not to re-sign Evans and gains over 165,000 signatures.

October 17: Evans is released from prison after serving half his sentence and a statement is released on his website stating he will continue to fight to clear his name.

October 18: Sheffield United release a statement saying they are “continuing to deliberate on any long-term decision” after media reports emerge that they have offered Evans a contract.

October 19: The Criminal Cases Review Commission confirm they are to fast-track Evans’ case to investigate whether his conviction will be referred to the Court of Appeal.

October 22: Evans releases a statement stating his desire to return to football.

November 11: Sheffield United confirm Evans will return to train with the club with immediate effect following a request from the Professional Footballers’ Association but state they are “not prepared at this time” to make a decision on whether to re-sign the striker. Meanwhile, television presenter Charlie Webster announces that she has stood down as a patron of Sheffield United.

November 12: Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield urges the club to change their decision, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says the club must “think really long and hard” before deciding whether to allow Evans to play for them again, while singer Dave Berry and businesswoman Lindsay Graham join Webster in resigning as club patrons.

November 13: Olympic heptathlon champion and Blades fan Jessica Ennis-Hill issues a statement announcing that she has told Sheffield United she would want her name removed from the Bramall Lane stand should Evans be offered a contract to play for the club.

November 14: Police begin an investigation into rape threat tweets directed at Ennis-Hill after her statement over Evans.

November 15: Sheffield United release a statement saying they are “appalled” at the abuse levelled at those who spoke out about the club’s decision and promising to work with South Yorkshire police to help identify those responsible.

November 17: Former Beautiful South frontman Paul Heaton resigns as a patron of Sheffield United’s Community Foundation over the Evans affair. The Professional Footballers’ Association of Ireland’s solicitor Stuart Gilhooly causes controversy after defending Evans on the organisation’s website.

November 20: Sheffield United announce they have retracted the offer for Evans to train with the club.

December 20: Hartlepool manager Ronnie Moore announces he would like to sign Evans, saying: “It’s a possibility. If it could happen, I would want it to happen. He is a proven scorer; he’s served his time and the boy wants to play football. If there is a chance he might come here, I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t.”