Ched Evans' apology was far too late. If he really means it, he should go and do some voluntary work

He should also take down his website and shut up until his case review is complete

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The Independent Online

The Ched Evans saga continues. Not a day passes without a picture of the disgraced footballer defiantly holding hands with his pretty fiancée Natasha, or a fresh update is posted on his website,, insisting that he is innocent of rape.

Two things bug me: why is Natasha’s dad Karl Massey, a rich businessman, funding the campaign to rehabilitate his future son-in-law? As Oldham’s sponsors dropped away in the face of threats and an online petition signed by more than 70,000 people, Mr Massey told the club he would make up any financial shortfall if they signed Ched. Given that Evans admits watching his friend having sex with an unknown young woman in a hotel room, and then having sex with her himself, is it not a bit weird for Mr Massey to consider him a suitable husband for his precious daughter?

Or maybe Mr Massey loves Natasha so much he can’t contemplate that her judgement is flawed. He is keeping a low profile, but I’d like to know more about Mr Massey’s thinking when it comes to Ched.

Secondly, football isn’t just a big business in the UK; it’s central to our culture, something we all grew up with. I spent years as a child with my dad on the terraces at Fulham and both my cousins are lifelong supporters who never miss a game. So I find it extraordinary that since this affair kicked off, there’s been a resounding silence from professional players and managers.

No one wants to raise their head above the parapet and talk about setting an example. We have heard nothing from David Beckham, Sol Campbell or Frank Lampard – all highly intelligent men. Last November, the chairman of the FA, Greg Dyke, described it as “not an important issue” on Newsnight, although this week he issued a statement saying that “it was important” to look at the issue of player’s behaviour, adding: “I would encourage the game to consider and discuss this matter and the prospect for future guidelines and codes of conduct.”


What a bloody wishy-washy load of flim-flam from my old telly boss Greg, who normally never minces his words. Too little, too late. Gordon Taylor, head of the Professional Footballers’ Association, tied himself in knots by comparing Ched’s campaign to prove his innocence with the plight of Hillsborough survivors – a remark for which he has since apologised. Football deserves better than these clowns.

Evans should take down his website and shut up until his case review is complete. There can’t be a pet budgie in the country who doesn’t know all about the issues involved now, so the website serves no purpose except to inflame the situation. His “apology” was also a waste of time, delivered too late. He has been released from jail on licence, so his sentence is not complete, and a spot of voluntary work, less shopping and moping about would be appropriate.

Who knows what went on that night in Rhyl, but Evans’s public handling of the situation since – and Mr Massey must bear some responsibility for this – has been disastrous.The FA can’t still be “working” on guidelines for players; they should have been in place decades ago.

Even if Evans is finally found not to have committed a crime, his behaviour was disgraceful and not something you would encourage teenagers to emulate. It’s not good enough to say that when footballers have served a sentence for a serious crime, they can go straight back into the game with a clean slate. The PFA and FA need to set up strict guidelines about how players can rehabilitate themselves, and inspire the young who regard them as role models.

On Monday, another convicted criminal returns to his chosen profession. Dress designer John Galliano, convicted for racial abuse in Paris in 2011, unveils his first collection for Martin Margiela in London. Galliano – who has since apologised profusely – spent his years after rehab out of the limelight. He has some high-powered supporters, including Anna Wintour. It will be interesting to see the reaction to his show, and whether the public – as opposed to the fashion luvvies – can forgive and forget.


Lynch’s mysterious art puts Middlesbrough on the map

Although it has an imposing football stadium and a historically important transporter bridge (which is due to reopen next month), Middlesbrough is not a lovely town.

The boarded-up shops and bleak landscape would appeal to film-maker David Lynch, judging by the excellent exhibition of his watercolours and photographs in Middlesbrough’s Institute of Modern Art. When I visited last Thursday the sun was shining, the gallery full of visitors and the café was busy. Lynch’s exhibition – which came to the UK via Los Angeles and New York – would be a draw even in London, but is a real coup for Middlesbrough. His tiny watercolours evoke mysterious visions, with cryptic statements such as “Is It True?” painstakingly lettered in the swirling murkiness.

Photographs of abandoned buildings and factories in Los Angeles and New Jersey are equally atmospheric. The director is hard at work filming the new series of Twin Peaks, due on our screens in 2016. In the meantime, this show is well worth a visit.


Note to Tesco: there’s such a thing as too much choice

He’s known as “Drastic Dave”, and after announcing that Tesco will close 43 stores, shut its head office and cancel 49 new outlets, it appears the nickname of the new boss is spot on. But are the radical proposals of Dave Lewis enough to woo us back?

Apart from the job losses, cancelling projects will result in urban blight. Not just ugly construction sites, but gaping holes in our town centres. Tesco still has to contend with one basic truth – its new budget rivals Aldi and Lidl offer many products but very little choice. Drastic Dave must realise that shoppers increasingly find choice an overrated concept.

In the future, planners need to insist that any new supermarkets incorporate parking and include affordable housing. But, with online shopping booming, do these cuts signal the end of the superstore?


Thanks, but I’ll eat my veg without a Nutribullet

Two months ago, I’d never heard of a Nutribullet. In Australia at Christmas, my pal proudly shoved several leaves of kale, nuts, a banana, a little water and parsley into a small machine, pressed a button and hey presto! Green sludge, which she claimed was an excellent energy booster.

Back in the UK, my tennis coach Kev, not a man you’d normally find with a vegetable in his shopping basket, says his life has changed for the better since he bought a Nutribullet. Kev shoves in carrots, and other veg he’d never normally try, and turns them into thick gunk he claims is “delicious”. Kev is not alone. John Lewis has sold thousands of Nutribullets at £100 a pop this Christmas, but I’m not impressed.

The more you convert food to slurry, the less work your digestive system does. I’m so hardcore I can manage to eat kale, carrots, leeks and sprouts lightly cooked, still looking like shapely vegetables.