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Former Newtown star says he was abused by football coach

Created on 29/11/2016 @ 17:25
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Former Newtown star Mark Williams is the latest footballer to come forward claiming he was abused as a youngster by convicted paedophile Barry Bennell.

Williams joined Newtown at Latham Park on loan from Crewe, later making the move permanent, before going on to play for Shrewsbury, Chesterfield, Watford, Wimbledon, Stoke City, Milton Keynes and Rushed & Diamonds. He also won 36 caps for Northern Ireland.

The footballer said he "cannot just sit back and watch my former team-mates suffer alone" following a series of allegations made against Bennell, a former football coach who is a convicted paedophile.

Williams, whose family came from Newtown, alleges he suffered abuse as a teenager when he was training at Crewe Alexandra FC and Manchester City.

Manchester City has said it is aware of Williams' allegations, and announced last week that it is investigating any links between the club and Bennell.

In his statement, Williams, who was known as “Bomber” in his Newtown days, said: "My life has been affected irreversibly both personally and professionally and it has been soul destroying to carry this burden for 30 years. I have felt chained down by fear of speaking out against Barry Bennell."

Williams has called for stringent measures to be put in place to protect children in football.

"Barry Bennell's systemic abuse has affected a whole generation of young footballers. No child should ever have to suffer as we and many others have," he added.

His remarks come as Cambridgeshire Police became the seventh force to launch an investigation into the historical allegations of abuse being made.

A hotline set by up by the Football Association and the NSPCC has received more than 250 reports of abuse since its launch less than a week ago.

The FA has also begun an internal review into the scandal, with chairman Greg Clarke describing it as "the biggest crisis I can remember" in the game.

Mr Clarke said he could not rule out whether there had been a cover-up in the sport, but said his organisation were taking the historical allegations "extremely seriously".

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