Harry Redknapp believes Ched Evans should be allowed to “carry on with his life” after it emerged the convicted rapist’s proposed return to professional football with Oldham had collapsed.
Evans was released from prison last October, halfway through a five-year sentence for raping a 19-year-old woman, and since then any potential move has come under intense scrutiny.
A return to Sheffield United, the club Evans represented when he was convicted, was ruled out with Oldham entering discussions with the 26-year-old.
It has now emerged that pressure from sponsors and reports of threats to family members of club representatives has forced the Latics to pull the plug on the move.
“I think it’s about getting a second chance in life,” the QPR manager said, speaking before the deal collapsed.
“It’s very difficult, people make mistakes, dreadful mistakes in life, but people go in prison or whatever they do, whether you’ve murdered someone or whatever, unfortunately a lot of them come out.
“But once you’ve done your time you’ve done your time, and somewhere along the line you’ve got to come out and make a go of your life.
“So it’s a very difficult situation at the moment with the lad who is a footballer and wants to play football.
“What does he do? If he goes and works in a supermarket people are going to say ’we’ve got a rapist working in the supermarket’.
“Somewhere he’s got to work, whether it’s football or somewhere, he can’t just not be allowed to carry on with his life.”
Oldham’s joint owner Simon Corney said on Wednesday that there was an ”80 per cent” chance of the Evans being signed by the League One side.
Corney added that three unnamed Premier League club managers had contacted him to offer their support, and that he respect the views of those who thought Evans should not be allowed back into professional football.
Everton’s Roberto Martinez revealed he was not one of the trio who had been in touch with Corney.
Redknapp was not asked directly but compared Evans’ situation to that of other previously convicted footballers who returned to the game following their sentences.
Oldham signed Lee Hughes after the former West Brom striker was imprisoned for causing death by dangerous driving whilst goalkeeper Luke McCormick was named as Plymouth’s captain last year having returned to the club after being released following a similar offence to Hughes.
“Where’s he going to go, his life’s got to go somewhere hasn’t it really?” added Redknapp.
“He’s made a horrific mistake in what he did, but somewhere along the line, he’s got to have a chance in life somewhere, doing something.
“If we look at football we’ve got a lad who was convicted for drink-driving who wiped a family out who is back playing again.
“There’s another lad who killed somebody and fled the scene of the crash, he’s back playing football again.
“This lad’s made a big mistake as well. What does he do with his life, I don’t know, something’s got to happen hasn’t it?”