Former Crewe Alexandra player and current Mildenhall Town manager Dean Greygoose has given a robust defence of himself and other players who were at the club during the historic child abuse allegations.
Greygoose, who is also a Norwich City Academy coach and former King’s Lynn player, has revealed he is a good friend of Steve Walters, one of four players who emotionally opened up about child abuse at the Gresty Road club’s academy in the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show.
I did not know, even the families did not know, so how could the players be expected to know?
The pair played together at Crewe Alexandra during the late 1980s and early 1990s as well as at two other clubs and have remained friends.
Greygoose, who began his career at Cambridge United before going on to play 205 games in goal for Crewe Alexander between 1987 and 1993 as well as coaching in their academy for the last few years, said: “I cannot say what I want to say until the investigation is completed at Crewe, but I knew nothing about it.
“Steve Walters is a very good friend of my family and someone I played with at three different clubs.
“It was a shock and I did not know — our families even spent Christmas together.”
With police forces beyond the north west, including Cambridgeshire, already confirming they have opened their own investigations into historic football child abuse, the Eastern Counties Thurlow Nunn League manager said he is sure a lot more clubs than just Crewe were affected.
“There is more to come, no doubt about it,” he said, “there is a lot more to come.”
It has been suggested, from within those who have suffered abuse, that the players around them must have known what was going on.
But Greygoose, who includes Bury Town and Histon among the non-League clubs he has played for, is defiant that was not the case.
“I would not have turned a blind eye to it, I had a family of my own in Crewe,” he said.
“If I would have known I would have gone straight to the police. I did not know, even the families did not know, so how could the players be expected to know?
“The only ones who knew were the people who were being abused.
“One of them said the experienced players knew, but I can honestly say I did not know.”
But Greygoose now hopes the media spotlight shone on the scandal since Andy Woodward, a player he also played with at Crewe, sparked the revelations in the Guardian, can help the players to get justice and help them to move on from the trauma.
“These people, if guilty, need to be named and if they are still alive, they need to be put away.
“It tends to be a British thing to sweep things under the carpet, but they are not going to get away with it this time and I hope the people who did these things get caught and punished.”
The Cambridge-based Mildenhall manager also recalls how he had stood up to one occasion where he saw the youth players being miss-treated at Crewe.
In an incident which Walters has described himself, when youth team coach Barry Bennell dropped some of the team off at Beeston Castle, some 15 miles from Crewe, and told them to walk home following a bad performance against Manchester United’s A team, Greygoose said: “I have always been known as a bit of a loud mouth and I was not happy about the players being dropped at Beeston Castle. None of the experienced players were.
“I remember thinking ‘that is not right, that is eight miles (sic) back’.”
He added: “I have done a lot of soul searching in the last week or so and I am trying to see if there is anything I can remember that will help in any way, but I cannot.
“My wife went to every game with me as well but she cannot remember anything either.”
Asked if he had been in contact with the players who have spoke out, he said: “I have only just sent them text messages but I will speak to them properly when everything calms down a but.
“They are very brave people trying to attack this in their way.”
When asked what he would say to other players who have been abused who might be weighing up whether to go public, he replied: “It is up to them. But people can talk to someone in confidence now, that is the thing now, they can talk to someone who will listen.
“There is no reason to suffer in silence anymore.”