Oldham Board Member on Talent Coming Through Prison System – by Rob Atkinson


Evans - desperate enough to sign for Oldum

Evans – desperate enough to sign for Oldum

Oldham Athletic director Barry Owen, a former Greater Manchester Police superintendent, has welcomed news that there is an “80% likelihood” of convicted rapist Ched Evans signing for the League One club. Mr Owen, who was also instrumental in Oldham’s decision to sign ex-con Lee Hughes after he had served time for causing death by dangerous driving, was however scathing about the modern prison service and its patchy record of providing cheap players for the Boundary Park outfit.

“Her Majesty’s Prison Service can do better than this”, said the erstwhile top cop. “A club like ours is always looking for value on the field of play, and those who have done their porridge are the kind of likely lads the Athletic should always be looking for, in my view. We’ve now had two good lads coming through the HMP production line, and we’ll be on the lookout for more, if the Home Office can just get their bloody finger out. These guys are cheap as chips – and that’s the bottom line, after all.”

When it was put to Mr Owen that the Evans signing was likely to be even less popular among fans than that of Lee Hughes, he raised an eyebrow. “I don’t really see where you’re coming from, lad. Evans wants to play football, so we’re going to accommodate him, aren’t we? Makes sense. A few faint hearts were all for refusing him a contract – but after all, the lad was unlikely to take no for an answer…”

We put it to the former police officer that any decision to sign Evans might have severe implications for club sponsorship. “Storm in a teacup,” he scoffed. “These things blow over. Look at Bowyer and Woodgate at Leeds United. Proper fuss and bother, but that soon went away. Well, it did when they were transferred away from Leeds, anyway. We’re Oldham, lad. If we were Leeds, I wouldn’t dream of this sort of thing, the League would burn the ground down. Look at the kerfuffle over a bit of duty on a boat. But that’s Leeds, in’t it? We won’t have same sort of fuss here, mark my words.”

So are there no misgivings, no twinges of conscience? “Look lad, don’t be daft. That’s a £3 million striker there, and we could ‘ave him for as little as £400 a week. As long as he’s not actually in a cell, he’ll do for us at that price.”

A Latics Supporters Club spokesman, when asked for his take on the matter, would only reply with a glum but defiantly brief rendition of the club’s one and only song “Come on, Old-um“, before trailing away into the Lancastrian murk.

Barry Owen is 83, though his IQ is a youthful 60.

 

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28 responses to “Oldham Board Member on Talent Coming Through Prison System – by Rob Atkinson

  1. derbyshire white

    Well done Rob. The only disappointment is the lack of interest in the player from Blackpool. A marriage made in heaven. Maybe the Oystens too busy running the FL. Pity though.

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  2. AllWhiteNow

    HNY Rob. It would be good if there was anything, anything, positive to say about football and our beloved team – if there was, you probably wouldn’t think of trying to get cheap laughs from a scenario that is far more serious. I know nothing about Ched Evans – but I do recognise Mega-Scapegoating and a Witch-hunt when I see it. This guy, whether he committed the offence or not – and he still claims his innocence – has served his sentence, done his time and should now be free, like anybody else, to get on with his life and career. But no. A combination of utter media-madness, total irrationality and lily-livered football clubs is perpetuating this hysteria. Finally, Oldham Athletic have offered him an opportunity to play football. If he was a tinker, tailor or candle-stick maker then none of this would be happening. But football? Welcome to the loony bin…. Let’s concentrate on Leeds United. MOT

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    • HNY Al – I just can’t agree with you here. If Evans were a tinker, a tailor or fashioned candlesticks, i wouldn’t be having a go. But he’s not. He’s in public life, and the more apt comparison is with an MP, a DJ – or maybe a former glam rock star. Anyone in that position has to observe different standards, or they’re finished – and bad cess to them. As it stands, Evans is a rapist, found guilty by a jury of his peers and, though he may have served some jail time, that doesn’t make him a fit person to parade before the terraces as a hero, to be looked up to and aped by impressionable children and teenagers.

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      • AllWhiteNow

        So where do you draw the line then Rob? What if he’s a cricketer? A darts player? An F1 driver? Same thing? End of career? Are you saying that ALL people that ply their trade before an audience [all actors?] should have double justice? Once by the law. And then again, forever, in the court of public opinion? Why not put them in the stocks and throw things at them? I thought we might have moved on….

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      • I’d say it’s the other side of the public adulation coin. If your success is based on that, then such a serious offence must inevitably see your star fall.

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    • He’s a convicted rapist. Some things are beyond the pale, I wouldn’t want to work with a bloody rapist. Be interesting to see how his team mates react.

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      • Also we are far too lenient in this country when it comes to sex offenders in relation to other crimes

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  3. RoystonLUFC

    I was going to have a go at the invective being thrown in the face of Ched Evans.

    I was going to point out the number of innocent people who have been falsely convicted by our corrupt, inept “justice” system. Particularly in the case of rape, where even the British notion of justice has been subverted to the cause of the alleged victim, rather than to the cause of, er, justice.

    I was going to highlight the tendency of certain members of the public to jump on any witch-hunting bandwagon that happens to be passing their street. Christopher Jefferies, Robert Murat and many others (we all know they’re guilty because they look weird) have been set up as pantomime villains to the baying mob.

    I was going to mention that the witch-hunt serves two major purposes: it allows those little nobodies to feel morally superior in a world where their own miserable lives offer them not much else (another opium of the people); it also allows those in power to ride roughshod over our rights without any opposition.

    I was also going to question the idea that someone who has served their time and payed the penalty should not be allowed to enter the world of employment.

    There are many other issues raised by this Daily Mail-style campaign. But instead I’m going to leave the pompous, moral crusaders to their own devices because I don’t want to spoil the only bit of fun they have in life.

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  4. Paul Smith

    In this instance Rob you are wrong. For a more cogent argument than I’ could muster I recommend Martin Samuel’s column in today’s Daily Mail (somewhat ironically. given that publication’s reputation for strident intolerance).

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    • Maybe Mr Samuels is right (haven’t seen that piece). Maybe I’m right, and those who feel as I do. Who’s to say? This blog is my opinion, my take on things.

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  5. To be fair Robbo, the lad is adamant hes innocent (i guess he would be) but what if it turns out he is…… Will make the media and the government look like a bunch of witch hunting tossers……. I guess we must assume justice was done……(but was it ?)
    It sounds like Oldham believe the boys story as they have stood upto a government backlash……. an awkward one

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    • It is awkward. But if you simply decide to have no faith in this conviction, where does that leave the justice system? He’s a convicted rapist. If his normal occupation was obstetrics, would you want him anywhere near YOUR partner? So why should he strut as a hero before the children of Oldham??

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  6. RoystonLUFC

    and while we’re at it we should ban all drink and drug takers from joining rock bands 🙂

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  7. Rob, I own a small printing business. If I was conducting a job interview and the candidates cv had a couple of years with no employment history, I’d ask them to explain. If the explanation was that he’d been in prison, convicted of rape, it could possibly put me off from offering him the job (by which I’m sure you understand he would have no chance). I’m sure that the vast majority of employers would feel likewise. All I’m trying to say is that the perpetrators of such a vile crime, regardless of their occupation, are likely to find themselves in the same boat as Evans.

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    • I’m sure this is true.

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    • RoystonLUFC

      Keith, the employers are willing to employ him; they know his history as much as everyone else does. It’s not the employers who are the problem here: it’s the “moral majority” who are making big noises about this. And of course it’s all to protect the poor, impressionable children.

      Children are often used as pawns in this type of issue as a way of steamrollering the opposition into submission. But a cursory glance of the facts easily undermines such devious tactics. For example, how many “impressionable children” became alcoholic wife-beaters when Belfast airport changed its name to the one-season-wonder? Ditto Gazza? How many of our precious young things followed Lee Hughes and became car-driving murderers? How many of them became racist thugs, attacking Asians after our very own dynamic duo, Woodgate and Bowyer?

      The truth is, this “role model” argument is completely unfounded. Kids might worship footballers – but only for their footballing skills. Their personal habits are of little interest to the kids who watch them. I never started smoking because of my 1966 World cup hero Bobby Charlton. And I certainly didn’t want a comb-over or to play for the red-shirt scum. And I reckon there are millions out there just like me.

      The “role model” idea is a lazy way of justifying the moralisation of football in a world where our lacklustre leaders are desperately looking for some way of connecting with us, the masses. So it’s hardly surprising that the antics of yesteryear’s footballers are seen as high-spirited japes, but those self-same antics these days are seen through a different moral prism. Today, our ruling elite attempts to impose their dubious morals through the medium of football. This is reflected in the fact that such an intense debate rages around such a non-entity as Ched Evans.

      I remember similar stirrings surrounding Gazza, but the moralists have really upped the ante these days – hence this ridiculous outrage over some sad, pathetic figure.

      It’s time we asked our petit-bourgeois guardians if we can have our football back, please.

      MOT!

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  8. Rod Wallace's pace

    Many years ago, when Leeds United were a good team, a friend, who I still know to this day, told me a story about something that had happened to him a few days earlier. I remember sitting in Whitelock’s in Leeds listening to the events in amazement. It was upsetting actually.
    An allegation had been made by a female against him, it was of a sexual nature. Not as serious as rape but still worthy of Police interest. He was mystified because the whole thing was made up. He was interviewed by Police, quite informally, but at a Police Station for around half an hour. It became apparent that there was no evidence whatsoever to back up the woman’s story. He had only met her once, and very briefly, in connection with his work. Fortunately he left the Police station and it was made clear that there would be no charges. He was never told if she had a history of making false allegations.
    But even to this day, and very much so at the time…there is the burning issue. WHY?…Why do women make up stories like this?.
    This was all years ago and my mate has never acted in a way that would make a woman feel uncomfortable in all the decades that I have known him, and we chatted up girls together in bars/clubs when younger, did holiday romances with girls etc etc. He is now a family man, but it could have been so much different if this Nutter had been succesful.
    So, if you ever think to yourself “Surely it must be true, because nobody would make that up” Well sorry to say that these Nutters are out there and are potentially very dangerous people indeed.

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  9. While I am all for the “he’s paid his debt to Society” angle and giving people a second chance, it’s difficult to get past the incredible damage to a person’s reputation caused by sex offences.
    Would you want to work next to a bloke who’d done time for fraud? Hmmm, maybe…. A driving offence? Probably. How about a violent assault? Probably not. Child abuse or murder? Er, no. And that’s working in a factory or office etc, basically in private surroundings.
    With the footy, we’re talking about a very public entertainment, where players are used to market all sorts of products via merchandise and sponsorships, and attract paying customers through the turnstiles and on TV. As such, they need to appeal to the customer, and as an ever-increasing percentage of football’s customer-base consists of responsible parents, women and children, it stands to reason that a convicted sex offender just MIGHT put many of them off.
    Also, whether we like it or not, or whether it’s fair or not, the “court of public opinion” referred to earlier, ultimately decides whether a person’s time in the sun is over despite previous exploits – see C. Richard, G. Glitter, A. Windsor, J. Archer, B. Cosby, L. Armstrong etc etc

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  10. Polarized opinions on the radio about this one but to me it’s simple- Ched Evans- despite all the wealth that goes with it when money is involved in a criminal case was found guilty despite all his money- and I say this because the criminal justice system is corrupt and in favour of the rich-two men who committ the same crimes often have quite different outcomes when it comes to the justice meted out. Evan was found guilty of raping a young woman- he is still serving his sentence so why the hell should he be allowed to represent anyone? be it at football or anything else. Yes he may well have the right to work and he does- however, these should be jobs where he his not effecting, directly or otherwise people who could be influenced into thinking he “can’t be such a bad bloke after all”- If I was an Oldham fan I wouldn’t want my son to look up to him in any way shape or form- I would want him to show an attitude towards Evans much the same as the attitude he showed to the young lady he behaved so abhorrently against- in otherwords one of total disregard. I understand the PFA is/was supporting his case – enough said!! If we allow men like Evans to pick up life from whence they left it without a care in the world what message are we sending out to society? yes go on commit whatever heinous crime you want, forget about any moral teachings you may have had because we as a society will forgive and forget practically anything? No, NOT in this case. He should be banished from football forever- this is one more act of hypocrisy I simply cannot forgive and forget.

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