Ched Evans to Oldham: '80 per cent' chance Evans will sign after League One club 'stick to principles'

The possible signing of the convicted rapist has caused some sponsors to threaten to walk away from the club

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Oldham Athletic’s owner declared tonight that there is an 80 per cent chance of the club signing Ched Evans, declaring: “You have to stick to your principles.”

New York-based Simon Corney said that three Premier League managers – whom he has not named – have been in contact, expressing support for a decision to take the player onto the League One club’s books. Mr Corney told the Jewish Chronicle that the Welsh striker had “served his time.”

“There might be a cost implication but you have to stick to your principles,” he said. “We weren’t surprised by the backlash. I completely understand people’s views and I respect them. I would never tell people thy are wrong to have their own views. But we want to keep them in check. I hope people don’t get carried away and it doesn’t get too hot.”

Corney’s comments confirm the way that the torrent of criticism for the decision to engage with Evans has strengthened the businessman’s resolve not to be cowed. Key to his decision to take Evans on have been the representations made by fellow businessman Karl Massey – the father of Evans’ fiancée – who, as The Independent revealed today – is ready to make a financial investment covering the player’s wages to the end of the season, plus the loss of revenue form sponsors who subsequently boycott the club.

Corney, who is thought to be preparing to announce the signing tomorrow lunchtime, had considered the unanimous approval of the club’s six-person board to be essential, ahead of Evans joining the ranks. He has confirmed that has been secured. Business associate Simon Blitz – who bought the club with Corney and a third associate ten years ago and still owns Oldham’s stadium, is also fully supportive.