When Football’s Darkest Secret was aired on UK terrestrial television a few weeks ago, no one who watched it could’ve failed to have been moved by the terrible ordeals that certain young players had to go through at some football clubs, Manchester City being one of them.
The programme, uncomfortable as it was at times, centred around the abuse of Barry Bennell, a convicted paedophile, and one or two other football coaches in a similar position of trust.
Though Bennell has never pleaded guilty to the charges levelled against him, he has been convicted of them and is currently serving time in prison for them.
Now, however, in light of a compensation claim by eight of Bennell’s victims for personal injury, loss and damages, Man City have made a quite extraordinary decision.
According to the Daily Mail, the club, via their insurers in the case, intend to bring Bennell back to court to testify as a defence witness.
‘At a late stage in this litigation, (the defence) has apparently taken the extraordinary decision to call Mr Bennell, presumably intending to put him forward as a witness of truth, despite the fact that he has repeatedly pleaded not guilty but been convicted of numerous sexual offences, including being convicted of 52 criminal offences in 2018, many on these claimants,’ a court document noted, cited in the Daily Mail.
If nothing else, it shows the contempt with which the club regards such an action, given that they seem prepared to ensure the accusers suffer once again at the hands of Bennell, this time from across a court room.