Sheffield United have announced the re-signing of Ched Evans from Chesterfield on a three-year contract. The striker was released by United in the summer of 2012 after he was found guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman and sentenced to five years in prison.
That conviction was quashed and at a retrial last year Evans was found not guilty.
Evans told United’s website: “I am delighted to be back. I still feel I have plenty to prove in football both at club and international level and I believe I can achieve those goals at United, playing in front of the terrific fans whose support I have always appreciated.
“I am very grateful to Chesterfield, the board and football management for giving me an opportunity to return to the game. It is just disappointing that it has come in season which has seen the club suffer relegation. I would like to thank the Chesterfield fans who made me feel so welcome.”
Evans’ first stint with United lasted three seasons, the last of which brought him 35 goals in all competitions.
The club offered him the use of their training facilities in November 2014 after his release from prison, but the criticism the move attracted prompted them to revoke that.
The 28-year-old former Manchester City and Wales player joined Chesterfield on a one-year deal last summer and in January he extended that to the end of the 2017-18 season. Evans scored seven times in 29 appearances for Chesterfield, with the last goal coming in December. He last played on March 4, with an ankle problem curtailing his season.
United’s manager, Chris Wilder, who this season oversaw promotion to the Championship, said: “The signing is just one element of the plans we have drawn up for next season. We have done our homework on the player. We pride ourselves on team spirit –as the fans have seen this season – and plan to bring in players who can be part of that.
“Ched comes to us with targets to achieve along the way. With a full pre-season with us we believe he can provide us with options up front and score goals.”
Chesterfield’s director and company secretary Ashley Carson said: “Following our relegation to League Two, we recognised it was not in the best interests of Ched if he were to stay. So, in consultation with manager Gary Caldwell, a decision was made to sell the player. Sheffield United made an offer which has been accepted. We wish Ched all the very best for the future.”
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