Hughes issues statement
Lee Hughes has spoken to the media for the first time since being released from prison and signing for Oldham.
Last Updated: 28/08/07 3:02pm
Lee Hughes has spoken to the media for the first time since being released from prison and signing a two-year contract with League One club Oldham Athletic.
The 31-year-old was jailed in August 2004 for causing death by dangerous driving and leaving the scene of an accident, after he fled when his Mercedes collided with an oncoming car, killing a father of four.
Hughes, formerly of Coventry and West Brom, has stirred plenty of emotion with his decision to return to professional football, with Oldham having been vociferously criticised from some quarters.
In a statement, made before a well attended press conference, Hughes spoke of his remorse over the incident which led to his imprisonment.
"I wish to make some comment about the circumstances that resulted in my imprisonment three years ago," Hughes told the press conference.
"I am acutely aware of my actions, which resulted in the death of one person and serious injury to others.
"I only wish I could turn back the clock.
"Although I have served the sentence laid down by law, I know that nothing I can do or say will change what has happened.
"In going some way to facing my responsibilities I have met with a relative of the man who died, and what was said will always remain a private and personal matter.
"For different reasons I think we were both glad that the meeting occurred.
"This is the first time I have been able to make a public apology for my actions and I now hope for an opportunity to rebuild my life.
"After this press conference today I do not intend to discuss or make comment about the events which led to my imprisonment.
"I have made this decision, not out of protection for myself, but with regard to the privacy and respect for the families involved.
"I made dreadful mistakes and decisions that will live with me for the rest of my life.
"It also greatly affected my immediate family, including my wife and children, and I will never forgive myself for this."
Hughes continued to confirm that there were other clubs willing to offer him the opportunity to return to his previous profession, but that he accepted Oldham's offer due to the compassion they showed him.
"Turning to the reason I am here, I am grateful to Oldham Athletic Football Club for giving me the chance to resurrect my career.
"Negotiations have been going on for months and I can tell you that other clubs, some in the Championship, wanted me to join them.
"Why Oldham then?
"They have been fantastic from the first day we met.
"Having spoken to club officials and the management team I have never been in any doubt that this was the club I wanted to play for.
"The club has also been extremely understanding with my family and we intend to live in the area as soon as possible.
"I am eager to get going and know that difficulties will lie ahead."
Hughes is to work in the community, visiting a number of 'schools, colleges and other football clubs', in a bid to warn others against the mistakes he made earlier in his life.
"Whilst it is not part of my contract it has always been my intention to do some community work centred on the mistakes I have made, in the hope that it can go some way to preventing another tragedy occurring.
"I truly want to do this and will be visiting schools, colleges and other football clubs to speak to young people.
"If by doing this I help or persuade people not to make the mistakes I have made I will be a happier person."