|Steve Walters playing for Crewe Alexandra|
Walters was a skilful, combative midfielder with a Plymouth accent, an eye for a pass and an almost obsessive desire to get to the top of the sport. He was at Lilleshall, the Football Association’s school of excellence, in the same crop as Andy Cole and Ian Walker, two future England internationals, and chose Crewe because of their reputation for giving teenage prospects a quick route to the first team. Tottenham Hotspur were among the clubs that wanted him but Crewe had their own attractions, with a heavy emphasis on youth development, and the young, impressionable Walters liked what he heard from the man who invited him to Gresty Road.
That man was Barry Bennell, the serial paedophile who has featured prominently in these pages over the last week and, until now, Walters has never felt able to talk publicly about what happened to him at Crewe, the shattering effects it had on his childhood and how, at 44, he has spent more than 30 years with everything bottled up, living with the secret that has distorted his life.
Then, last Wednesday, he read Andy Woodward’s interview about the years of sexual abuse and mental torture he suffered from Bennell, from the age of 11 onwards, and how his old friend feared that many others – hundreds, potentially – had been targeted by a man described by the American authorities as having “almost an insatiable appetite” for young boys. (more...)
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