Football: Ched Evans offered third-tier Chesterfield lifeline

Evans in a photo tweeted by Chesterfield.
Evans in a photo tweeted by Chesterfield.PHOTO: TWITTER

LONDON (AFP) - Former Manchester City and Wales striker Ched Evans, who spent two years in prison on a recently quashed rape charge, has joined Chesterfield on a one-year deal, the English third-tier club said on Monday.

The 27-year-old was jailed on a rape charge in 2012 and after his release was on the point of re-joining Sheffield United before a protest movement blocked the move.

Hartlepool, Oldham, Grimsby and others all showed interest but Evans was blocked by public opinion and unable to find work until Monday, when Chesterfield offered him a one year deal in the light of the charges being quashed at a court of appeal in April 2016.

"Chesterfield Football Club have given a great deal of thought to this signing and following the court's decision, we are in no doubt that Ched Evans should be welcomed back into his profession as a professional footballer," Chesterfield said on their website.

The club is coached by Danny Wilson who previously handled the striker at Sheffield United.

"We are delighted to have secured the services of an outstanding footballer, who is now keen to get back to work and score goals," the club explained.

In the 2011-2012 season, Evans scored 35 times in all competitions, but has not played professionally since then.

A retrial of the rape charges has been ordered and is due to begin in Oct 4, 2016.