Saints Issue Statement On Bob Higgins
Thursday, 23rd May 2019 20:54
Following his conviction for offences against young Saints trainees back in the 1980's Saints have issued a statement, here we take a look at the case.
Bob Higgins has been found guilty at Bournemouth Crown Court of sexual offences against young players at Saints back in the 1980's.
Questions about Higgins behaviour first surfaced 30 years ago when Dave Merrington overheard some youth team players talking and informed the club's then board of directors.
Higgns was then confronted and after alleged heated exchanges he left the club.
The club paid the price because by then Higgins was in a position of power not only in the club but with the Wallace brothers whom he had become their agent, the upshot was that the two remaining Wallaces at the club Rod & Ray Wallace refused to sign new deals and saw out the remainder of their contracts and left.
An investigation followed and Higgins was charged but found not guilty and the case seemed to have faded from view although the stigma was always attached to Higgins.
A BBC documentary looking at the case brought it back into view and an intensive investigation not only brought up old evidence but new statements and more evidence.
During the ensuing investigation detectives took 176 witness statements and videoed 56 interviews which produced a total of 48 hours of footage.
The inquiry also produced 225 exhibits and 838 documents.
When the case went to court Higgins faced a total of 50 charges resulting from allegations made by 24 victims over a period between 1970 & 1996 both before and after he was employed by Saints and indeed after the allegations first surfaced at the Dell and he had left.
This was traumatic for some of Higgins old trainee's but many bravely came forward and gave their stories.
Now Higgins has finally been brought to justice and as he awaits sentence he will be well aware that a contemporary of his Barry Bennell was last year found guilty of sexually abusing boys in his care at Crewe Alexandra at a similar period in the 1980's to Higgins and received a sentence of 31 years of which he is expected to serve around half on licence.
Aged 64 Higgins i receiving a similar session could well die behind bars.
Saints have issued a statement and it should be noted that the club is very different today than it was during Higgins time and the ownership has changed hands several time.
The club offers our sympathy and support to any player who suffered any kind of abuse or harm while under our care.
We have been working closely with the police, the FA and the Sheldon review for nearly three years to help to uncover the truth.
While the offences cited are historic, the club is committed to constantly reviewing our current safeguarding provision to raise standards.
Southampton Football Club and our academy works closely and tirelessly with the Premier League to promote the safeguarding of children and other vulnerable people who are under our care or using our facilities, and their well-being is paramount to all our staff.
We will continue to offer our full, open and unconditional support to the police, Premier League, FA and community processes relating to this matter.
Photo: Action Images
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