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, chedevans.com, 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.”
The stories that defined 2014
The stories that defined 2014
Sheffield United withdraws its offer to its former player, the convicted rapist Ched Evans, to use its training facilities, following a public backlash against the club
The Apple Watch launches, in the hope that 'wearable technology' will become commonplace
In the European Parliament elections, Ukip comes top with 26.5 per cent, Labour polls 24.5 per cent and the Conservatives 23 per cent. The result presages a year of electoral success for Ukip: the party wins two by-elections, at Clacton in Essex and Rochester in Kent
Bearded drag act Conchita Wurst wins the Eurovision Song Contest for Austria with her song ‘Rise Like a Phoenix
The American actor George Clooney marries the British human-rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin in Venice
A user posts on an online bulletin board a list of celebrities of whom he or she claims to have explicit photographs and videos. The list comprises mostly female actors, singers and other public figures, including Jennifer Lawrence, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna and Kirsten Dunst. Soon after, images of Lawrence and others begin circulating on file-sharing sites. The hacker claims to have taken the images from Apple’s iCloud back-up service
The Royal Family announces that Kate Middleton and her husband Prince William, Duke of Cambridge are expecting a second child
Chris Kennedy, a golfer from Florida, uploads a video of himself pouring a bucket of icy water over his head, and nominates three friends to undergo the challenge ‘or donate $100 to the ALS Association’. Within weeks, more than $50m is pledged to various motor neurone disease charities, as the craze to emulate Kennedy’s feat goes viral. Pictured here, Kylie Minogue gives herself a soaking.
Rebekah Brooks, the former editor of ‘The Sun’ and chief executive of News International, is cleared of all charges related to phone hacking. Her former lover, ex-colleague and one-time Conservative Party director of communications, Andy Coulson, however, is found guilty of conspiracy to hack phones
After a 10-year, four billionmile journey, the European Space Agency probe Philae landed on comet 67P. Amid excitement about the apparent success of the mission, attention turns to a British scientist, Dr Matt Taylor, involved in the mission – in particular, his striking shirt depicting scantily clad cartoon women
The Scottish referendum returns a conclusive decision in favour of continuing the union with the United Kingdom: the Yes vote, led by Alex Salmond, polls 45 cent, the No vote 55 per cent
March, April, October…
First, Jeremy Clarkson uses the term 'slope' on 'Top Gear' in a context that some believe is racist; a few days later, it emerges that Clarkson, in footage not broadcast, has used the word 'nigger' in a nursery rhyme. Finally, in October, he and his 'Top Gear' film crew flee an angry crowd in Argentina who believe a licence plate (H982 FKL) on a car used in filming is a reference to the Falklands
An inquest jury rules that Mark Duggan, whose death in Tottenham, north London, sparked the August 2011 riots, was lawfully killed by police
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.Reuse content