‘We’ve had no contact over abuse claims’, police and club say

Paul Stewart scores the only goal for Tottenham as their beat Blackpool 1-0 in the FA Cup 3rd Round January 1991
Paul Stewart scores the only goal for Tottenham as their beat Blackpool 1-0 in the FA Cup 3rd Round January 1991

Both the police and Blackpool Football Club say they have yet to be contacted over claims of sexual abuse involving one of its former players and a coach linked with the club.

The claims, published in the national press, accused the former coach of grooming and molesting young players, including ex-Pool and England international Paul Stewart.

It follows the unfolding of a national scandal, with several high-profile names speaking out about their own abuse as young footballers.

A spokeswoman for Lancashire Police said officers have ‘not been made aware of any reports against’ the coach named by the Daily Mail Online, who died in 2005 and had a business in Blackpool.

He was not employed by the club but ran a separate junior club which reportedly produced dozens of professional players, including several for the Seasiders in the 1980s, the outlet said.

A BFC spokesman confirmed their position, as stated on Sunday, remains the same – club officials have been not been contacted but will co-operate with any investigation.

“The club is yet to receive any information from the PFA or relevant authorities in relation to the ongoing investigations of historic abuse,” the League Two side said.

“Should any past links with the organisation come to light, the club will provide every assistance it possibly can.”

Mr Stewart, 52, who also played for Spurs and Liverpool, said he was abused for years, while another former Pool player accused the coach of giving youngsters £50 to spend in the resort’s arcades.

“We’d get tracksuits, boots. He’d take us to Blackpool for days out. Not just once, it was every week,” he added.

FOURTEEN POLICE FORCES NOW LOOKING INTO CLAIMS THAT HAVE ROCKED THE SPORT

There are 14 police forces in the UK, excluding Lancashire Constabulary, now investigating the explosive claims that have rocked football to its core, while referrals from calls to a dedicated football abuse hotline more than tripled the amount made in the first three days of the Jimmy Savile scandal, the NSPCC said.

The charity said more than 860 calls had been made to the helpline in its first week after it was launched on November 23 to support the victims of child sex abuse within the sport.

It was set up with the support and funding of the Football Association after ex-Crewe defender Andy Woodward came forward to say he had been abused, a revelation that opened the floodgates.