A brave and moving account by football’s first whistle blower, breaking the silence on the scandal of sexual abuse in youth clubs and junior teams. Andy Woodward was a wide eyed, hopeful footballer playing for Stockport Boys, when Barry Bennell first noticed him. Andy was 11 years old, and Bennell a youth coach with a big reputation for spotting and nurturing young footballing talent.
The clubs Bennell worked for and the parents of the boys he coached, trusted and believed in him, inviting him into their lives and their homes. But behind the charismatic mask was a profoundly evil man willing to go to any lengths to satisfy his own dark appetites. Andy has been heralded a hero for speaking up about his horrific experiences at the hands of Bennell, but also at going further to expose the long hidden abuse buried within our nations’ best loved sport.
His story is only the tip of the iceberg. Andy’s childhood was shattered by what happened to him and by the fear and silence that surrounded it. His youthful dreams of playing the game he loved were utterly broken, and years of living with the terrible secret and shame all but destroyed him.
He hopes that by coming forward he might encourage others in similar situations to find the courage to speak out. A compelling and relevant story of the dark secret at the heart of football and another chapter in the ongoing expose of institutionalised corruption.