Ched Evans update - 11:35am: Steve Bruce believes convicted rapist has a case to appeal

File photo dated 06-12-2014 of Hull City manager Steve Bruce. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday January 9, 2015. Hull boss Steve Bruce has disclosed he was one of the Premier League managers who contacted Oldham to give his support to their moves to sign convicted rapist Ched Evans. See PA story SOCCER Evans Bruce. Photo credit should read Richard Sellers/PA Wire.

File photo dated 06-12-2014 of Hull City manager Steve Bruce. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday January 9, 2015. Hull boss Steve Bruce has disclosed he was one of the Premier League managers who contacted Oldham to give his support to their moves to sign convicted rapist Ched Evans. See PA story SOCCER Evans Bruce. Photo credit should read Richard Sellers/PA Wire.

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Ex-Sheffield United manager Steve Bruce has admitted he contacted Oldham to give his support to their moves to sign convicted rapist Ched Evans.

Bruce, who managed the Blades during the 1998-99 season, said he feels 26-year-old Evans has a case for appealing his conviction.

The Hull boss disclosed that he contacted Oldham chairman Simon Corney when he was in talks with Evans about the possibility of signing the striker, who was released from prison in October after serving half of a five year sentence for rape.

The former Sheffield United player was convicted after a trial of raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel in Rhyl, North Wales, on a night out.

He was thought to have been close to signing a contract with Oldham earlier this week, but the deal collapsed amid a public outcry.

An online petition was signed by tens of thousands of people urging Oldham not to sign the player.

Club sponsors also threatened to pull out.

Evans said the deal collapsed because of ‘mob rule’.

Oldham’s chairmam was contacted by three Premier League managers giving their support to the League One club during the talks.

Bruce said: “I’ve known Simon for a lot of years now. He’d looked at the case too. He was of the opinion to give the kid a chance. I can only say on behalf of myself, I know I might be upsetting people but there is a question of the rape and how he’s been convicted by a jury.

“When you look at the evidence, it is there for appeal.”

Evans was refused leave to appeal but his case is now going before the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Bruce added: “I’m a big believer that if you have done your time everyone deserves a second chance, we have seen footballers involved with accidents and being given a second chance.

“It’s a very difficult situation for everyone concerned. It’s a pity they could not have the appeal and get it over and done with.

“It has divided opinion of course and when you look at the case in detail and, I don’t think most people have really, because they have just seen Ched Evans as a convicted rapist, when you do look at the case and look at the evidence then certainly Ched has got a case.

“For me the appeal can’t come quick enough for Ched. It must be a frustrating and difficult time for him and I think the events of the appeal, for me, will see Ched be allowed to play football again.”

The CCRC is an independent public body that reviews possible miscarriages of justice in the criminal courts of England, Wales and Northern Ireland and refers cases to the appeal courts.