Sheffield United: From hero to rapist - fans say Ched Evans should never play again

Locked up: Ched Evans is given a five-year sentence.
Locked up: Ched Evans is given a five-year sentence.

FOOTBALL fans today said convicted rapist Ched Evans had brought shame on the club and should never pull on a Sheffield United shirt again.

The Blades and Wales striker is beginning a five-year jail term after he was found guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman who was too drunk to consent to have sex.

Co-defendant Clayton McDonald, a Port Vale defender, was found not guilty of the same charge.

Evans, aged 23, who wept in the moments before the verdict was delivered, still insists he is innocent and his lawyers are planning a possible appeal.

His shocked girlfriend pledged to stand by him and vowed: “We’re going to get him out for sure.”

Speaking after the verdict his girlfriend said: “He has done nothing wrong.”

But furious Blades fans said their star striker had brought shame on their club.

David Winterbottom, 38, who attends every home game with his young sons, said: “Ched Evans has been found guilty and I think what he’s done is disgusting.

“These footballers think they are untouchable and they need to take a look at themselves. I think it’s brought shame on the club.

“What sort of example is he setting for our kids?”

David, from Sothall, a season ticket holder for 23 years, added: “It is a complete waste of talent.”

Blades fan Jack Scott, an Arbourthorne Labour councillor, added: “There is no way he should play for United or any other football club again.

“Clearly, there needs to be a shift in the way footballers behave.”

Supporter Steve Cowens, of Mosborough, said: “He should not play for any club again. Ched was our talisman but there are other goalscorers we can rely on.

Self-employed engineer and lifelong fan Mark Storey, 43, of Handsworth, said: “It’s heart-breaking, it’s going to be a big loss.

“I don’t think he’ll ever play for Blades again and when he comes out of prison he might have to rebuild himself.”

Evans’s lawyers said in a statement: “Ched Evans is shocked and extremely disappointed with the decision reached today by the jury at Caernarfon Crown Court to convict him of the charge brought against him.

“Mr Evans firmly maintains his innocence in this matter and is being advised regarding an appeal of the decision.”

The court heard both men admitted they had sex with the woman, who cannot be named, but the prosecution said she was too drunk to consent to sexual intercourse.

Two friends watched and tried to film it on a mobile phone.

Judge Merfyn Hughes QC, handing down the sentence at Caernarfon Crown Court, told Evans he might have been used to receiving attention from women in the past due to his success as a footballer, but this case was ‘very different’.

“You have thrown away the successful career in which you were involved,” he told Evans.

Sheffield United said: “The club recognises the seriousness of these events and as such wishes to respond in a responsible way when it has taken sufficient time to consider the matter fully.”