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23rd Nov 2016

Former Man City player David White claims he was sexually abused as a child

Enormous bravery

Simon Lloyd

David White, who played for Manchester City and England, has become the latest former footballer to speak publicly about being sexually abused as a child.

The 49-year-old claims former Crewe coach Barry Bennell, a convicted paedophile, abused him as a youngster.

In a statement released by White, he said the abuse took place while he played for a junior football side in Manchester during the 1970s and early 1980s.

He said: ‘For a number of reasons, and for nearly two decades, I kept my ordeal secret from my family and friends.

‘While I believe throughout my football career I have come to terms with what had happened, I now realise the effects of Bennell’s actions were much more far-reaching than I knew then.

‘Last year I made the decision to gather my thoughts, reflect on my experience, and tell my life story in my own words. I did not set out to write a story about the abuse, but knew I would have to include it.

‘In doing so I have come to terms with the fact that Bennell’s actions influenced almost every event and relationship in my life.’

White follows ex-Crewe players Andy Woodward and Steve Walters in speaking out about being sexually abused as a child, as well as former Tottenham and Liverpool forward Paul Stewart.

Woodward and Walters have also spoken about being abused by Bennell, who served nine years in prison in 1998 for sex offences against children after admitting to charges against six boys aged nine to 15.

Stewart told the Mirror how he had been abused by an unnamed coach on a daily basis up to the age of 15.

PFA chief Gordon Taylor has warned that more former footballers could come forward following the bravery of those that have chosen to publicly speak of what happened to them.

“Because of Woodward’s bravery, many other ex-players and apprentices are now contacting us – it is double figures now – and that is a timely warning for everybody in football about our duty of care to these youngsters.

“It is up to all of us now to grasp the nettle and we make sure we learn from this.

“I want all players, even those who didn’t make the grade, to feel that the PFA is a safe haven of support for them. We will help with counselling, treatment, whatever they need.”