Pressure is mounting on Manchester City and Crewe Alexandra to apologise to the victims of Barry Bennell for the abuse they suffered at his hands between 1979 and 1991.
Bennell was found guilty of seven more counts of child sex abuse today (February 15), meaning he has now been convicted on 43 counts.
Speaking outside Liverpool Crown Court after the final verdicts were read out, Steve Walters, who was assaulted between the ages of 12 and 13, said: “We suffered because of a disgusting predator. But we also suffered because sometimes the sport we loved decided that the reputation of a coach, a club or a sport was put above the protection of children.”
During his time as a scout for City and a coach at Crewe, Bennell committed abuse on an “industrial scale”, his trial heard. The abuse was perpetrated when boys slept over at his home, in the car on the way to training and on holidays to Butlins in Wales.
Survivors have spoken of being assaulted in the changing rooms at Crewe and even on the pitch at City's old stadium, Maine Road.
Both clubs released statements after the final verdicts were returned. City said that “all victims were entitled to expect full protection from the kind of harm they endured," while Crewe said: “The club would like to reiterate that it was not aware of any sexual abuse by Mr Bennell, nor did it receive any complaint about sexual abuse by him, either before or duing his employment with the club.”
Speaking to talkRADIO Andy Woodward, who waived his anonymity in 2016 to speak publicly about the abuse he suffered, said: “Everyone deserves some type of an apology and that hasn't come. What we went all went through and what we have suffered for many many years, some sort of accountability should be the outcome.”
One of the 12 complainants in this case, Gary Cliffe, 47, has waived his anonymity at the conclusion of the trial.
“I am relieved that Bennell has been found guilty, and held accountable for his actions, however nothing will ever take back what he has done to me and the others he has abused," Cliffe said.
“I am looking forward to moving on with my life as I try and put this behind me.”
City, meanwhile, have revealed that a second potential paedophile with historic connections to the club has been identified. He has been named as John Broome and is now deceased.
It is not believed that he is linked to Bennell and talkRADIO understands his offences predate those of Bennell.
Bennell will be sentenced at midday on Monday (February 19). The judge has confirmed the 64-year-old will be required to appear in person at Liverpool Crown Court.