Broken man who has the right to score goals again

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IT was a day no-one present will ever forget.

Caernarfon Crown Court 1 between 3.10 and 3.25pm on Friday, April 20 was a maelstrom of tumbling emotion, horror, remorse and regret.

Ched Evans was a broken man when the jury returned their verdicts on he and his co-accused, Clayton McDonald.

McDonald walked and Evans was jailed for five years - free to be released on licence after two-and-a-half years.

As sentences for rape go, that’s fairly lenient, though that will be of no comfort to Ched Evans, his family and friends.

But that’s hardly the point.

Having been found guilty by a jury of seven men and five women, Evans has a right to appeal, but on what grounds no-one is yet sure.

The jailing has brought out the best and worst of football fans who have been bombarding Twitter and other social media sites with messages and observations.

Some of them are about as vile as humanity gets - one even going as far as to break the law that guarantees Evans’ 19-year-old victim lifelong anonymity.

Unfortunately, like throwing rocks at defenceless heads in the medieval stocks, people feel free to vent their most hideous spleen on the internet without a thought or care for their targets.

The worst vitriol is aimed against the rape victim and is poisonously anti women.

It’s the kind of vindictive, ignorant stupidity that tarnishes the name of football fans everywhere.

But what will happen when in 30 months, at the age of 25, Evans will, theoretically, be free to play professional football again?

As distasteful as it may sound right now, he will be.

If he were a plumber or an accountant he would be able to earn his living at the trade or profession in which he is trained.

The fact that he is a professional footballer is not reason for him to be treated in any other way.

It cannot be.

When he has paid the debt society has placed upon him he will be free to earn his living as best he can.

And scoring goals is what he can do.

There will no doubt be calls for him to be banned from the game for life and few fans would want him at their club with all the baggage he would bring with him.

But he has talent, goalscoring talent, which is the most precious commodity in the game.

Will someone will take a chance on him?

Will some football club be prepared to take the hate and bile of fans and risk their reputation on Evans’ proven abilities - or what’s left of them when he gets out of prison?

In our society every man and woman has the right to a second chance, an opportunity to get their life back on track once they have served their sentence.

The jury unanimously rejected Evans’ story over the course of his trial, contentious though some of the evidence may have appeared, and he has to live with the consequences of his actions as, more importantly, does his 19-year-old victim.

In the near future we will all have to live with the fact that Chedwyn Michael Evans will have been rehabilitated and free to ply his football trade again.

That’s his right.

But would you be happy to see your seven-year old wearing an Evans number 9 replica shirt in 2014?