Gary Speed not among Bennell victims, family says

17 February, 2018, 01:41 | Author: Natasha Holloway
  • Barry Bennell case'Industrial scale child molester may have abused more than 100 young footballers

The case has sparked wider allegations of sexual and physical abuse of boys at football clubs in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s, some of whom went on to become heroes of the terraces and global stars.

A cheer of "yes" came from the public gallery where six victims sat with family members as the final verdicts were read out.

But one ex footballer who was abused by Bennell disputes this and has told Sky News that "they knew, one million per cent". Before the trial, he pleaded guilty to seven counts of indecent assault involving three boys, two of whom were part of the trial.

He was found guilty on Tuesday of 36 charges of sex abuse against 10 complainants.

Bennell left Crewe twice in the 1980s for "football-related reasons" and was even given a character reference afterwards which he used to secure a role as a youth football coach in Staffordshire.

Mr Grimsley, a youth team coach, and the family of chief scout and ex-player Mr Barnes, who died in 2010, have said they were unaware of any abuse.

But he was also a "child molester on an industrial scale".

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Former Crewe player Steve Walters, 46, said his parents trusted the club and thought he was safe, but for years, boys were systematically groomed "in plain view". I knew if I said those words I'd have to get my head in a space that took me back to that football club.

"How can it be that no one realised something was wrong?" he asked. How is it that no one protected us then?

"We suffered because of a disgusting predator, but we also suffered sometimes because the sport we love decided that the reputation of a coach, a club or a sport was put above the protection of children".

Another person with "potential historic connections" to Manchester City has been linked with serious allegations of child sex abuse, the club has said. Between 1985 and 1992, he was on the coaching staff at Crewe.

It's particularly problematic when applied to sexual abuse of the sort suffered by Barry Bennell's young footballers, many of whom were interviewed by Deborah Davies - who had first covered Bennell's crimes 20 years ago - in a shattering Channel 4 Dispatches: Football's Wall of Silence.

An emotional Woodward praised the courage of the men who had come forward and said football clubs and authorities needed to be accountable for allowing men like Bennell to operate within the game.

"The Professional Football Association do it well, so I think at the moment it's alright". The inquiry is due to report its findings in the coming months.

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