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'Mob' halted Sheffield United from bringing back rapist

By Amy Murphy

The co-chairman of Sheffield United has blamed "mob-like behaviour" for the club's decision to retract their offer to allow convicted rapist Ched Evans to train with the Blades.

Jim Phipps told a news conference at Bramall Lane that he was "angry" the League One club had not been able to let their former striker use their facilities for training purposes.

But many others welcomed the move, which came after a huge public outcry and the resignation of four club patrons.

Mr Phipps said: "The influence of mob-like behaviour has made it difficult to take the simple step of allowing Ched to train.

"I'm angry that we are not able to get a chance to do for this footballer what should be done. I'm upset that we are not able to do what we wanted to do, but I acknowledge that my view is not the only view.

Mr Phipps said Sheffield United did not expect the response the decision received, which saw television presenter Charlie Webster, sixties pop star Dave Berry, musician Paul Heaton and Sheffield businesswoman Lindsay Graham all quitting their roles as patrons.

A petition against Evans rejoining attracted more than 165,000 signatures and Sheffield Olympic heptathlon gold-medal winner Jessica Ennis-Hill said she wanted her name removed from the stand named after her if the Blades offered Evans a deal.

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