Football child sex abuse: Ex-Newcastle player David Eatock latest to speak out

image copyrightDavid Eatock
image captionDavid Eatock said he had been groomed over a three-year period by coach George Ormond

A former Newcastle United footballer has said abuse by coach George Ormond left him a "shell" of his former self.

David Eatock, now 40, told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire show he had been groomed by Ormond from age 18 to 21.

Mr Eatock was not part of the court case that saw Ormond convicted in 2002 for assaulting seven boys, but has now filed a complaint to the police.

New England football manager Gareth Southgate said a former teammate was among those to have spoken of abuse.

It comes as the NSPCC said its hotline - set up to offer support to victims of child sex abuse within football - had received 860 calls in its first week.

'Exceptional bravery'

At his first news conference as England manager, Southgate revealed he had played alongside one of the footballers who has spoken out about being sexually abused in their youth - although he did not identify him.

Asked if he had been aware of any abuse going on, he said: "The reality of that, as they have said, is that they [abuse victims] haven't felt able to speak about that until this moment, and that's completely understandable.

"And of course with the benefit of hindsight you always relay then things that you have seen from the past and have an understanding, 'oh, okay, that's why we saw the things we saw'."

He said the allegations of abuse were "heartbreaking", and the bravery of the men coming forward was "exceptional".

There had been "enormous strides" made in protecting young players, he told reporters.

Speaking as a parent, he added: "If I'm a parent sending my child to a game over the weekend, I feel they are in a much better place than we were 15, 20 years ago."

Alongside Southgate at the conference, Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn said he did not believe there had been a "cover-up" at the FA.

Asked about allegations of "hush money" being paid to abuse victims, he said: "If the FA have made errors, we'll own up to them, as must the rest of football.

"Do I think there's been a cover-up in the game? I doubt it.

"I think the FA has, since the late 90s, taken safeguarding extremely seriously; we wrote it into the standard chartered rules that there should be safety officers, and at a time when society was very different," he said.

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

Within the first three days of it launching, the organisation made more than 60 referrals to a range of agencies across the UK.

That was more than three times as many referrals as in the first three days of the Jimmy Savile scandal, the NSPCC added.

Jon Brown, the charity's lead on tackling sexual abuse, suggested that some of the calls to the hotline were about current abuse.

It would be naïve to assume that all the concerns were in the past and that there was not "an ongoing problem in football and in sport generally" that needed to be dealt with, he told the BBC.

There are now 15 police forces investigating allegations.

David's story

media captionDavid Eatock: "I literally just froze - could not speak with fear, with shock, with disbelief"

David Eatock signed for Newcastle United in 1995, at the age of 18. He regularly played for the club's reserve team until the age of 21, when a knee injury ended his professional career.

Mr Eatock - who has waived his right to anonymity - said he had been groomed by Ormond during this period, adding that the coach masturbated in front of him.

He said Ormond had "preyed" on him because he had been vulnerable, as his father had been seriously ill with bowel cancer at the time.

"I was an adult, but really just a boy," he said.

The former footballer said: "I never had reason to see Ormond, but he sought me out.

"I trained with the main team, and Ormond was a youth team coach.

"He'd seen me previously when I was at another club and had scored a hat-trick.

"He told me I'd make a fantastic player, and he'd keep an eye on me, so when I went to Newcastle he sought me out."

Mr Eatock said on the first occasion he had been groomed, Ormond "worked out what guest house I was staying at and just turned up".

"I was on my own most of the time in that guest house - only saw people at meal times," he said.

"So then he turned up, took me for a drink and kept buying me drink, after drink, after drink. I thought, 'This is what footballers do.'"

Mr Eatock said the conversation "turned to sex... and he talked about my penis".

He said: "He invited himself back to my guest house. Within moments, he unzipped his pants and started masturbating."

The former Newcastle United forward, who played alongside the Premier League's record goal scorer Alan Shearer, said this "began to happen about once a month".

"He'd take me out for a drink. He'd get me so drunk I'd be sick, and he'd talk about sex and my penis," he said.

image copyrightDavid Eatock
image captionDavid Eatock signed for Newcastle United at the age of 18

Mr Eatock said the grooming continued until his contract at Newcastle United expired, in 1998.

He said when Ormond realised the player would not be kept on, he sexually assaulted him.

"He put his hands down my pants. You'd like to think that you'd hit him, fight back, but I was in shock. I couldn't speak," he said.

"I've spent 20 years wondering why I didn't do anything.

"I signed for Newcastle as a really confident boy, and when I left I was a shell."

On Wednesday, former Newcastle United footballer Derek Bell said he was abused hundreds of times by Ormond in the 1970s, while playing for the Montagu and North Fenham boys football club.

Mr Bell went on to have a short professional career, which was ended by injury. But years later, in the late 1990s, he discovered that his abuser had become involved in youth coaching at Newcastle so he reported the original incidents to police.

'Anxiety and depression'

He also visited Ormond at his home and secretly recorded a conversation between them. This evidence led to the conviction of Ormond for sexual assaults on seven different boys and he was sentenced to six years in prison.

Sentencing Ormond, the judge Esmond Faulks told him: "The evidence demonstrates you were a predatory abuser of young boys."

At the time of sentencing, Mr Eatock said his wife had asked if he had known Ormond - at which point he had opened up to her.

"She told me to go the police, but I didn't," he said. "I thought, 'He's been punished anyway.'"

Mr Eatock said he had lived with anxiety and depression for the past 10 years "because of what [Ormond] did to me" and now saw a therapist.

The BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme is broadcast on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News channel.

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