Ex-England footballer Paul Stewart speaks of sexual abuse

Paul Stewart Image copyright Allsport

Former England and Tottenham footballer Paul Stewart has spoken of being sexually abused as a youth player.

Mr Stewart, who began his career with Blackpool and also played at Manchester City and Liverpool, told the Mirror an unnamed coach abused him for years.

He said his attacker threatened to kill his relatives if he told anyone.

It comes after two former Crewe players waived their anonymity to tell of being abused as boys by club coach Barry Bennell, who was jailed in 1998.

Andy Woodward was the first to speak out, followed by Steve Walters, who told the Guardian of being abused by Bennell.

Image copyright Andy Woodward

Mr Stewart, who started his professional career at Blackpool, told the Mirror he was abused daily for four years up to the age of 15 and said his attacker got away with it by threatening to kill his relatives if he ever mentioned it.

He has blamed the abuse for drink and drug problems later in his career.

In the Mirror, he said: “I have seen a counsellor, but I am resigned to the fact it will always be there and it is how I deal with it. I don’t sit around the house crying all the time, but tears are a release at times.”

Cheshire Police said six people had contacted them since Mr Woodward went public, one of whom was Mr Walters.

Image copyright PA

Crewe chairman John Bowler has told BBC sports editor Dan Roan he was “infuriated and very disappointed” over the crimes of Bennell, who was jailed for nine years in 1998.

Mr Bowler, who was chairman at the time of Bennell’s offences, was asked about whether more could have been done. He replied: “When we’ve done our inquiries and looked at the detail of the various accusations, then I’ll be in a position to answer that kind of question.”

Image copyright PA

Mr Woodward told BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme on Tuesday that he believed his experience was “the tip of the iceberg”.

A spokesman for the NSPCC praised the former Sheffield United and Bury defender for coming forward, adding there was “more to be done in the world of sport” to keep children safe.

Image copyright PA

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