Video report by ITV News Reporter Nazanine Moshiri
Former Manchester City youth player Jason Dunford has shown ITV News chilling pictures of convicted paedophile Barry Bennell’s time as a youth football coach.
The pictures show Bennell – who Mr Dunford describes as “the monster in the background” - watching boys playing football from the sidelines and posing with them in team photos.
He described the time as the “beginning of the end” for him and victims of Bennell’s.
Mr Dunford, who was 11 years old in the photos taken in the 1980s, said: “Every tournament we ever went to, representing Manchester City as I did, I was so proud, and all those boys were. And all along there was an agenda for a certain person.
“I could see this man looking for the next opportunity all the time.
“I don’t believe for one minute that he had any interest in helping these lads become professional footballers. It was his stage dance.
“And this was his ring where he could select his victims. Not just in City’s nursery team, but onto Crewe, into the United States of America and probably earlier.”
Mr Dunford urged victims to come forward.
“Those boys are now men and I really understand that this could destroy your family.
"But I’m pleading, pleading that for the sake of their children, people like Barry Bennell and these other abusers are brought to justice,” he said.
Bennell, now 62, was a respected scout and youth coach throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
He worked with Crewe Alexandra, Manchester City, Stoke and junior clubs across the midlands and north-west.
He moved to the States in 1992, but was convicted of raping a British boy at a football camp in Florida in 1994.
After being deported back to the UK he pleaded guilty to 23 specimen charges dating from 1978 to 1992, and was jailed for nine years at Chester Crown Court. He was later charged with another 22 offences in 1998 and again for a sexual offence committed against a 21-year-old man in 1980.
He faces fresh allegations after players have come forward over sex abuse claims relating to Bennell and other coaches. The Football Association said on Sunday that so far more than 20 players had now approached them with allegations of sexual abuse.
Gordon Taylor, the Professional Players’ Association chief executive, told ITV News: “Perhaps in the light of what has been revealed in other area sat that time, we shouldn’t be surprised. But we will wait to see how many players do come out.”