Crewe Alexandra were not aware of Bennell’s offending.
This week Barry Bennell has been convicted of a string of horrific sexual offences against young boys.
These offences took place over several years at his home and at several football clubs.
When the story first broke attention focused on our football club, Crewe Alexandra, as it panned out other clubs would find themselves implicated in a far great way than Crewe.
Many fans were angry at the way our club was been singled out given there have been allegations of his offending at other clubs. Fans didn’t want special treatment for their club, they want the facts reported, other clubs locally had cases to answer, namely Stoke City and Manchester City yet the attention was firmly on Crewe.
Fans were also angry with the treatment of Dario Gradi the club’s former manager. On more than one occasion he was door stepped by the BBC’s Dan Roan.
Roan knew Gradi could not comment, yet seemed to take great pleasure in thrusting a microphone into the former managers face desperately hoping for a headline.
Crewe also featured heavily in the Guardian’s coverage, their focus was obvious, even today
Today the club have issued a statement, in that statement the club have said:
Because of their investigations, the police found no evidence to corroborate that the Club was aware of Mr Bennell’s offending.
So not only did the club have no knowledge of the offending by Bennell, they also didn’t cover up what he did, how could they, they did not know of his past or his actions at the time.
The first they knew of Bennell’s offending was when they cooperated into an investigation into him which subsequently saw him convicted and sent to prison, hardly the actions of an organisation trying to sweep things under the carpet as many have suggested.
Manchester City ignored the warnings.
Whilst Crewe Alexandra were not aware of Bennell’s history, others were, and they did nothing, their silence has meant children who could have been protected became victims of Bennell.
As far back as 1972, almost 15 years before Bennell came to Crewe, another football club, Manchester City were aware of Bennell and allegations made against him.
Despite these warnings Manchester City ignored them and hundreds of children later became victims of his grotesque abuse.
Back in the early 90’s Greater Manchester Police were also aware of the allegations made against Bennell whilst he was employed by Manchester City. Employees of the club told GMP of their concerns, for whatever reason the club kept this quiet and the police took no action even though people had come forward raising concerns about Bennell.
Bennell left the employment of Manchester City under a cloud, City cited “irregularities”, now we know what these irregularities were, the systematic sexual abuse of children.
Bennell moved to Crewe but City kept quit about him.
Given their knowledge of Bennell and the allegations made against him, why did they not pass on this information to Crewe? Why did Greater Manchester Police not inform Cheshire Police and Crewe Alexandra of the allegations made against Bennell?
More than one member of staff raised concerns about Bennell while he was at Manchester City, sadly we will never know why these warnings were ignored.
It is clear from what has come to light that the focus of this deeply disturbing case now needs to be shifted. The people with the most questions to answer are not Crewe Alexandra but those at Manchester City.
Bennell was prolific paedophile who operated under right under the nose of Manchester City and they did nothing. It is time for City to be under the spotlight.