Football's child sex abuse scandal: More ex-players speak out in growing scandal

The scale of football's child abuse scandal has widened - with several police forces now investigating historical allegations, and more former players speaking out about being preyed upon during their youth careers.

A former Newcastle United player is among those to come forward, claiming he had been abused while in the club's youth system.

While ex-England player Paul Stewart has told ITV's This Morning he is "almost sure" young footballers are still being sexually abused.

Stewart was one of the first former professional footballers to come forward to describe four years of sexual abuse he suffered in the early 1970s.

He said: "I've never been able to put my arm round my children and say the words that I love you. This week I don't think I've ever cried as much in my life, I'm 52 now, than I have the past few days."

Meanwhile, Cheshire Police confirmed information passed on from the NSPCC "included allegations made against more than one individual" and Hampshire Police said it is investigating an alleged offence "within the football community" from the 1980s.

Paul Stewart was one of the first former professional footballers to speak out on abuse. Credit: This Morning

In new allegations, the Guardian newspaper said an unnamed former Newcastle player contacted police to make allegations against George Ormond, a coach in the north east.

Ormond was jailed for six years in 2002 for carrying out numerous assaults across a 24-year period.

A Northumbria Police spokesman told the newspaper: "We have received a report in relation to an allegation of historic (sic) sexual offences in Newcastle. We are working closely with, and supporting the victim and enquiries are ongoing."

Newcastle United issued also a statement, saying: "At this time, the only information we have is that which appeared in the Guardian newspaper."

The Championship club confirmed it would "cooperate fully with the police and relevant authorities and provide every assistance we can if or when the club receives further information".

It urged anyone with information about possible abuse to contact authorities or a dedicated NSPCC hotline.

The hotline set up for former and active players to report abuse received 50 calls within its first two hours of being launched on Thursday.

Newcastle United confirmed it would assist any investigation into allegations against its former coaching staff. Credit: PA

Two more men told the BBC they were also preyed upon by former Manchester City and Crewe Alexandra coach Barry Bennell.

Bennell is a convicted paedophile who has been at the centre of English football's scandal.

Former Crewe youth players Chris Unsworth and Jason Dunford - who left the sport in their teens - both waived anonymity to give accounts of abuse at the coach's house involving several other boys.

Both men said they did not turn professional because, in part, of their experiences.

Former professionals Andy Woodward, Steve Walters and David White have all described being abused by Bennell, while ex-pro Paul Stewart said he was abused by a different coach.

Two more former Crewe youth players have described being abused by convicted paedophile Barry Bennell. Credit: PA

Bennell, who worked for Crewe Alexandra, Manchester City, Stoke and several junior teams in north-west England and the Midlands, scouted a host of future football stars from the 1970s to the 1990s.

His career in football ended when he was given a four-year sentence for raping a British boy on a football tour of Florida in 1994.

This was followed by a nine-year sentence for 23 offences against six boys in England in 1998.

Bennell was jailed again in May last year for two years for sexual offences committed against a 12-year-old boy in 1980.

England captain Wayne Rooney has meanwhile praised former players for speaking out and urged any abuse victims to use the NSPCC's dedicated hotline.

The hotline is available 24 hours a day on 0800 023 2642.