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Former Liverpool star makes shocking sexual abuse claims

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Paul Stewart's claims have rocked football
Paul Stewart's claims have rocked football

Former Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool star Paul Stewart has opened up on the harrowing sexual abuse he claims to have been subjected to by his youth team coach, with his ordeal starting when he was just 11-years old.

Stewart has come forward after reading a moving interview in The Guardian newspaper with former footballer Andy Woodward, in which he revealed the abuse he suffered at the hands of convicted pedophile and former Crewe Alexander youth coach Barry Bennell.

Now it appears that Woodward’s story is not an isolated case in football, with England international Stewart offering up his desperate story in a compelling interview with the Daily Mirror.

The newspaper did not name the alleged abuser for legal reason, but police are set to investigate Stewart’s claims amid reports that more ex-players are coming forward with allegations of abuse.

Stewart’s gruesome allegations are likely to rock football, as he reflected on the day his attacker made his first move.

“One day, travelling in the car, he started to touch me,” he revealed. “It frightened me to death, did not know what to do, I tried to tell my parents not to let him in but I was only 11. From then, it progressed to sexually abusing me.

“He said he would kill my mother, my father, my two brothers if I breathed a word about it. And at 11-years-old, you believe that.

“I could never tell my team-mates. I was always under threat, if I was not playing well, he would threaten me with violence as well as sexual abuse. He was a monster.

“I still went out and played. After a while, that became an escape from him, a total relief for 90 minutes.”

Stewart went on to reveal he turned to drink and drugs to combat his depression following the abuse, as he even considered taking his own life.

“You would not believe how many times I contemplated suicide, even when things were going well,” stated the star who played alongside Paul Gascoigne and Gary Lineker and scored in Tottenham’s 1991 FA Cup final win at Wembley.

Stewart, left, in action for Spurs in the 1991 FA Cup final against Nottingham Forest

“I was playing for Spurs and England, at the peak of my success, but there was that constant feeling.

“It was so dark and I just wanted to step out of it. Drinking was a release. There were times I just felt so alone; there was loneliness, even at the very top of the game, like you would not believe.

“At first I drank to get through it, and I could drink until I did not think about it. Next thing, I started taking drugs. That became a better way of not thinking about it, of forgetting the abuse. When I was on drugs, it gave me release.”

Stewart hopes his decision to speak out on the abuse he suffered will help to bring closure to his ordeal and bring sexual predators who preyed on young footballers to justice.