Ex-youth footballer tells ITV News of abuse by Barry Bennell in early 1970s

A former footballer has told ITV News about the abuse he suffered at the hands of coach Barry Bennell.

Yan Nowacki fears he may have been one of Bennell's first victims as early as the 1970s and said he feels "very bad" about not speaking up before.

Mr Nowacki was 13 years old when he was first abused by Bennell, who was the coach, trainer and kit man at the Sunday league team in Manchester he played in.

Bennell, who was 18 or 19 at the time, was known as "Benny" by the boys in the two youth teams he coached in the early 1970s in the Hulme area of the city.

Mr Nowacki said the first incident happened in 1973 after Bennell invited him round to his mum's house to watch football videos.He told ITV News: "The first time he said to come round to his mum's house in Fallowfield because it was only round the corner (from where I lived).

"I just walked round there and spent the evening looking at films and football magazines and then he more or less said 'you're staying the night.' I said 'OK'.

Yan Nowacki at 13 in 1973. Credit: ITV News/Yan Nowacki

"I ended up in his bed. It was supposed to be head-to-toe, it certainly wasn't. And all night, if I was dropping off, I was woken by him fondling me. And this was going on for hours and eventually I'd had enough and ended up sleeping on the floor to escape him."

Mr Nowacki said he was left confused and blamed himself. But the culture at the time meant he had no one to talk to.

He said: "It wasn't something you didn't bring up then because you're only 13 and you accused your coach of doing what he did. And who would you speak to?

"I could have been the first, or one of the first.

Over 20 players have now approached the FA with allegations of historic sexual abuse. Credit: PA

"If I was really brave, I could have stepped up. I could have stopped him, or at least slowed him up a bit."

Mr Nowacki, 57, believes there are others out there who were abused at a similar time.

He said: "If anything's happened to you please step forward and tell your story, because if it isn't Barry Bennell, it could be somebody else that's abusing everybody and getting away with it now."

Bennell was convicted of raping a British boy at a football camp in Florida in 1994. He was deported back to the UK where 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.

The Football Association said that so far 20 people have come to them with allegations of historic sexual abuse, most dating from the 1980s.