Ex-Southampton FC coach is accused of carrying out 25-year campaign of sexual abuse against boys as young as 11
'A former youth footballer has told a jury that the ex-Southampton FC coach Bob Higgins sexually assaulted him hundreds of times starting when he was only 13.
The player, who can only be identified as complainant X, said he feared that if he resisted, his chances of becoming a professional would be ruined and he was too embarrassed to confide to anyone what was happening.
He told the jury that Higgins called him “son” and encouraged him to address him as: “Dad”. When the former player, who is now in his 50s, became an apprentice at Southampton, X inscribed the back of a picture of himself for Higgins with the message: “To my dad, from your everlasting son.”
X also told the jury that other boys were encouraged to sit on Higgins’ lap and named the former Chelsea and England star Dennis Wise as one of these. There is no suggestion that Wise is a victim and he is not a complainant in the case.
The prosecution at Bournemouth crown court has claimed that Higgins, 66, was a “predatory paedophile” who used his power as one of the sport’s “kingmakers” to carry out a 25-year campaign of sexual abuse against boys as young as 11.
Higgins, 66, who also worked at Peterborough United and for the Maltese FA, as well as running his own football academy, denies 51 counts of indecent assault against 24 boys between the early 1970s and mid-1990s. The alleged assaults are said to have taken place in a variety of settings including training camps, Higgins’ home and his car.'
Read more: Bob Higgins 'sexually assaulted youth player hundreds of times'