Former England footballer is latest to speak out about alleged abuse at hands of paedophile football coach who was living in Milton Keynes
A one-time England international and former Manchester City footballer is the latest ex-professional to speak out about alleged abuse at the hands of a paedophile football coach who was living in Milton Keynes before his latest jail term.
One-time England player David White is the third high-profile former player alleging he was abused by Barry Bennell, telling The Guardian his “life was torn apart” by the coach.
White, best known for his long association with Manchester City, claims he was targeted by Bennell, the coach he had “hero-worshipped”, when he was 11, playing for one of the teams run by a man regarded as one of the best junior coaches and talent-spotters in the country.
White says he kept his ordeal secret for 20 years and now intends to tell his story in a book, entitled Shades of Blue: The Hidden Torment of a Football Star.
White’s story comes after fellow former pros Andy Woodward and Steve Walters waived their right to anonymity to tell the Guardian newspaper how Bennell - who was living in MK under the assumed name Richard Jones before his latest prison sentence in 2015 - preyed on them when they were in Crewe Alexandra’s youth system.
Scout and coach Barry Bennell was jailed in the 1990s after admitting a string of sickening sex assaults against young footballers while at Crewe.
The pervert worked for the Cheshire-based lower league side and was closely linked to Manchester City and Stoke City.
One of Bennell’s victims, former footballer Woodward, shook the football world last week when he spoke out in an exclusive interview with The Guardian which revealed Bennell’s links to Milton Keynes.
And Woodward - who talked in detail about his harrowing ordeal at the hands of predatory Bennell - said he believes there are potentially hundreds of victims who have not spoken out given the former coach’s years of employment at Crewe in the 1980s and 1990s and close association in the past with Stoke City and Manchester City, as well as junior teams in Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire and Greater Manchester.
Bennell was sentenced to nine years in prison in 1998 after admitting 23 specimen charges of sexual offences against six boys aged nine to 15. Woodward was among the victims at Crewe and told The Guardian he knows of other former pros who were targeted.
Woodward suspects many more victims ever made it as professional footballers, whereas his own career, also featuring spells at Bury, Sheffield United and Scunthorpe United, ended at the age of 29 because he was unable to cope with the horrendous after effects of what he had to endure.
Bennell, now 62, was jailed for two years in May 2015 for another historic case involving a 12-year-old boy in Macclesfield.
Bennell, who is said to have adopted the name Richard Jones is now believed to be free from jail.
In a 2012 interview with the Sunday Times Bennell admitted that former Everton, Newcastle, Leeds and Wales midfield star Gary Speed - who was the manager of Wales when he died in November 2011 - was one of the youngsters who stayed at his house.
Bennell told the newspaper he had not abused Speed, but added that even if he had done he would be unlikely to admit it anyway.
Lawyers for Speed’s wife, Louise, subsequently put out a statement saying they had been assured that Speed was not one of Bennell’s victims.