Thought I’d let the dust settle first. Not that there’s been much kicked up anyway, as this column anticipated. But now most of us can see Ched Evans rejoining Sheffield United for what it really is – a football signing.
Ok, there are some – a minority, I’d guess - who will never be entirely comfortable with it for other reasons. Their views are to be respected, if no longer divisive to the club in my opinion or relevant for discussion here.
It’s for a different reason altogether that my first reaction to hearing of this transfer was one of shock; a player who’s struggled for goals in a relegated League One outfit moving to one promoted to the Championship. That, for me, was the issue.
That simple. A fellow columnist felt the same way. “I was surprised if I’m brutally honest,” said former Blade Kevin Gage. “It’s a gamble.”
But then so is any signing and, after those early reservations, I think we’re both coming round to the view that this could prove to be an inspired piece of business by a manager who wants hungry players with things to prove. Personal - as well as team - pride fired every single one of the players who stormed to the League One title.
Now tell me who has a bigger point to prove, or will be keener to do so, than one Chedwyn Michael Evans. “He’ll want to show everybody he’s not a one season wonder,” says Kevin.
“I think he’ll work so hard and be absolutely bombing. If any club is going to get the best out of Ched it’s Sheffield United.”
Add two further factors, both powerful. One is the immeasurable trust built up by Chris Wilder who, amid suspicions that Kevin McCabe drove the transfer, typically took full responsibility to the extent it’s fair to conclude all parties were on board with it.
The other is that talent and potential doesn’t disappear, even from a 28-year-old whose career has been heavily curtailed. Evans demonstrated as much in his outstanding display against United at the Proact where a 4-1 romp to victory only unfolded after he’d been injured.
As to the argument he has no track record other than his 35 goals in the ill-fated third tier season of 2011-12, well, not entirely. Can’t do it in the Championship? What about 10 goals in 28 appearances for Norwich on loan from Manchester City in 2007-08?
That was followed by a fruitless Premier League campaign back at City and a poor first one for the Blades severely undermining his £3m transfer. But 9 Championship goals in 34 outings for the relegation side of 2010-11 could hardly go down as a total failure.
A point to prove and some evidence that he has the ability to make it. What’s a few hundred thousand pounds if he does?