One of Cambridgeshire's oddest traditions gets under way this morning...
Hartlepool Rule Out Signing Ched Evans
Hartlepool United say they will not be signing convicted rapist Ched Evans.
Following comments by the club's new manager Ronnie Moore, their 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."
Evans was released from prison in October after serving half of his five-year jail sentence for rape.
The 25 year old was thought to be considering retirement from football after a potential return to his former side Sheffield United collapsed after a ton of criticism.
UPDATED 21st December 2014
New Hartlepool manager Ronnie Moore's expressed an interest in signing 25 year old striker Ched Evans.
Evans was released from prison in October, after serving half of a 5 year prison sentence for raping a woman in a hotel room.
He was originally going to go back to training with his former club Sheffield United, but that offer was retracted following a storm of criticism.
TV presenter Charlie Webster stepped down from her role as a patron, while Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill wanted her name removed from one of the stands if Evans played for the club again.
Speaking after Hartlepool's game on Saturday, Moore, who only took over at the club this week, said:
"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.
He has made a mistake and maybe he hasn’t apologised in the right way – and I know he has an appeal case pending – but if he gets on the park, he would go a long way to getting us out of trouble."
Hartlepool's Labour MP Iain Wright's told Heart:
"I'm really against the idea of the club signing him.
It will give the club a negative image, sends out a message that somehow rape can be acceptable and will divide the club's fan base, as well as running the risk that sponsors will not want to be associated with a club which employs a convicted rapist.
I hope the club thinks again."
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