Crewe Alexandra to investigate sexual abuse allegations

Crewe Alexandra are to investigate. Credit: PA

League Two club Crewe Alexandra have started an investigation into historical allegations of sexual abuse involving former coach and scout Barry Bennell.

Club chairman John Bowler confirmed inquiries were being made following a Guardian interview with former player Andy Woodward, who explained how he was abused by Bennell during his time as a youth player at Crewe.

Bennell, now 62, was a successful talent scout and youth coach in the 1980s and 1990s, working with Crewe, Manchester City, Stoke and junior clubs across the midlands and north-west. He was jailed for nine years in 1998 after pleading guilty to sexual offences.

Woodward's interviews in the Guardian and on BBC's Victoria Derbyshire Show have prompted six more people to come forward, including former team-mate Steve Walters.

After a lengthy silence from Crewe, Bowler eventually issued a statement on the club's website.

Andy Woodward is a former Crewe player. Credit: PA

Woodward, who went on to have stints with Bury and Sheffield United, told The Guardian: "My life has been ruined until the age of 43, but how many others are there?

"I'm talking about hundreds of children who Barry Bennell cherry-picked for various football teams and who now, as adults, might still be living with that awful fear."