Former Stoke City football apprentice from Belfast wants new abuse investigation

George Blackstock pictured as a teenage football apprentice

George Blackstock pictured as a teenage football apprentice

A former Stoke City trainee from Belfast is hoping to have historic abuse allegations investigated by police following the latest claims against Barry Bennell.

Bennell, a former youth coach at Crewe Alexandra, has been charged with a number of sexual assaults on boys under 14 in the early 1980s.

Barry Bennell has been charged with eight offences of sexual assault against a boy under the age of 14

Barry Bennell has been charged with eight offences of sexual assault against a boy under the age of 14

George Blackstock, 46, was a 16-year-old apprentice with Stoke in the early 80s where he claims he was subjected to a “humiliating and degrading” practice known as “gloving”.

Last year, Mr Blackstock had his civil claim for damages dismissed – having alleged that club goalkeeper Peter Fox twice put Deep Heat on the finger of a glove before inserting in into his back passage as a punishment.

Following the court’s verdict, Stoke City said the club had “robust safeguarding policies” in place for the protection of all individuals associated with Stoke City.

On Wednesday, Mr Blackstock’s solicitor Kevin Winters said his client had been “completely traumatised” by his ordeal, and said he hoped the Blackstock allegations will be included in any new inquiry into sexual abuse within football.

Mr Blackstock said: “I take great comfort now knowing that I am not a lone voice after seeing so many former players having the bravery to come forward. Perhaps the police and the authorities will now listen to what I have to say”.

His solicitor said he had contacted both the Professional Footballers’ Association and the FA and intend making an application to have a new police investigation independent of Staffordshire police, and that his office has been instructed to make an application to set aside the ruling in the civil court.