The Independent have reported that Oldham Athletic Manager, Lee Johnson has expressed grave reservations about the seemingly imminent signing of convicted rapist Ched Evans, but has been overruled by the club’s owners.
Although he is expected to defend the decision publicly, the 33-year-old is thought to be worried about the consequences of signing Evans, even if it is only on a reported £400 a week wage. It is understood however that owner Simon Corey, and director Barry Owen have the final say on the deal.
Owen is also at risk of gaining himself an unwanted reputation of signing publicly maligned characters having been instrumental in bringing Lee Hughes to the club in 2007 after the forward had served half of a six year prison sentence for causing death by dangerous driving.
It was revealed yesterday that a League One club had shown an interest in Ched Evans, the man who has caused so much controversy in recent months after his release from prison. In a report by The Sun it was said that Oldham Athletic were the club in question who had offered the Welshman an opportunity.
It has been said that Johnson does not possess the “force of personality” to resist those higher up in the club. This lack of communicational strength could therefore lead to Johnson receiving an horrendous time when he is faced by the press, and the manager is put in the unfamiliar limelight, when the signing is announced on Monday morning; Johnson will have to defend the club’s decision.
It is also believed that one of the biggest reasons for Oldham following through with the signing is the reassurance of big name sponsors (in this case Sports Direct) that they will not pull out of sponsorship if the club bring in Evans.
With Evans hoping to ply his footballing trade in the North West, this would be an ideal move for him; but what affect could it have on the image of Oldham Athletic?
The petition against the signing on Change.org, which earlier became one of website’s fastest growing ever, has now reached 15,000 signatures, which calls for Simon Corey to refuse the signing of convicted rapist Ched Evans.