Second former footballer speaks publicly about sexual abuse claims at Crewe Alexandra

Steve Walters has become the second former footballer to come forward about claims of sexual abuse by Barry Bennell, a former youth coach

Mark Critchley
Tuesday 22 November 2016 22:16
A view of Gresty Road, Crewe Alexandra's home ground
A view of Gresty Road, Crewe Alexandra's home ground

Steve Walters has become the second former professional footballer to speak publicly about sexual abuse claims by Barry Bennell while at Crewe Alexandra.

Walters, who became Crewe's youngest-ever player when he made his professional debut at the age of 16 years and 119 days, made the claim to The Guardian.

The 44-year-old’s story follows that of Andy Woodward, who was sexually abused by Bennell while playing for Crewe 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.

The former youth team coach was jailed again in 2015, sentenced to two years in prison for another historic offence involving a 12-year-old boy in Macclesfield.

Woodward waived his right to anonymity and spoke publicly about Bennell’s abuse last week in an attempt to encourage other potential victims to come forward.

Since Woodward’s interview, at least six people have contacted the police. The Football Association have also set up a helpline for potential victims.

Prior to the interview with Walters, who was not part of the 1998 case against Bennell, Crewe chairman John Bowler broke the club’s silence on the matter.

“When things come out of the blue you want to make some inquiries from within,” he told The Guardian.

“There is no doubt we concur with what the FA have said and we are now looking at it from within and considering what our actions should be going forward.

“We are a proud club and when allegations are made that we didn’t take it seriously we want to reflect.

“I will be meeting with the directors to review the situation. I’m the chairman but we have a board of very dedicated people who are at the heart of what Crewe Alexandra are about.”

The club are yet to respond to Walters’ claims.

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