David White the latest to speak out as ex-Manchester City striker claims he was sexually abused by Barry Bennell

White, who made one international appearance for England, made the claims in a written statement on Wednesday

Mark Critchley
Wednesday 23 November 2016 19:31
White playing for City during the 1988/89 season
White playing for City during the 1988/89 season

David White, the former Manchester City striker and England international, has become the latest former professional footballer to claim he was sexually abused by Barry Bennell.

The 49-year-old, who also represented Leeds United and Sheffield United during his career, made the claims in a written statement on Wednesday evening.

“In light of recent press stories, I wish to confirm that I was sexually abused by my former football coach, Barry Bennell, in the late 1970s and early 1980s,” White’s statement read.

“This abuse took place while I was attached to Whitehill FC, a junior team based in Manchester.

“For a number of reasons, and for nearly two decades, I kept my ordeal secret from my family and friends. Throughout my football career I believed that I had come to terms with what happened, I now know that the effects of Bennell’s behaviour were much more profound than I had thought.”

White’s story follows that of Andy Woodward, who told The Guardian how he was sexually abused by convicted paedophile Bennell while playing in Crewe Alexandra’s youth system during the 1980s.

Bennell was sentenced to nine years in prison in 1998 for 23 charges of sexual offences against six boys aged between nine and 15, one of them being Woodward.

He was also sentence to two years in prison in 2015 for a historic sexual offence against a 12-year-old boy in Macclesfield.

Steve Walters, who retains the record of being Crewe’s youngest-ever player, made fresh claims against Bennell on Tuesday.

Paul Stewart, the former City, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool midfielder, has also come forward to allege he was sexually abused by separate coach in his youth in an interview with the Daily Mirror.

White's statement continued: “Circumstances took me away from the abuse before it escalated to levels that I now know others had to endure.

“I salute Andy Woodward, Steve Walters and Paul Stewart for waiving anonymity in order to reveal their personal tragedies.

“The physical abuse they and others suffered was certainly more extreme and prolonged than my ordeal, and I cannot be sure that I'd have had the courage to come forward.”

White is planning to disclose the details of his ordeal in a book entitled Shade of Blue: The Hidden Torment of a Football Star.

The book's publishers, Michael O'Mara Books, told The Guardian that White "hero-worshipped" his alleged abuser, who targeted him from the age of 11.

Earlier on Wednesday, Cheshire Constabulary confirmed that 11 people had now contacted the force following Woodward's interview last week.

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