A former Chelsea FC footballer, Gary Johnson, has claimed he was sexually abused at the club and paid to keep quiet about it.
57-year old Johnson revealed that he was molested at the club by then Chief Scout Eddie Heath when he was just 13 years old. The assaults lasted for 3 years, and happened as frequently as three times in a week.
“When we had summer holiday games, the kit locker was in the changing rooms and he was always there, you thought nothing of it then, but word was going around to be wary of him – but at 12 you did not know that meant. I was just too young.
“He came to the house to meet my parents, he would have been to a game.
“He built up a personal relationship with them. Then he would say, ‘I am going to a game, can I take Gary?’ and that was the start, I realise it is grooming now but that term was not around then.
“The first encounter sexually was around 1973, I was about 13 or 14. I had a row with my father, bad day at school and I confided in Eddie when he turned up at the house.
“I said to him, ‘Can I come and stay at your house?’ because I had stayed a couple of times before and nothing had happened.
“He always had boys staying with him at his house in Leytonstone. I went with him this particular time and went up to his house and he sat me down with a Coke, crisps, chocolate, saw I was still upset.
“He said, ‘This will make you feel better’, and he put on a pornographic film. I had not heard of that, they were under the counter, and I thought ‘why not’ but I got aroused and the next thing I knew, my trousers were around my ankles.”
He said Heath performed a sex act on him, adding: “I felt embarrassed. But he got me from that point on. Then, every -opportunity he would take it – the same thing would happen. Then he would get me naked in bed, try more adventurous things.
“He said he was in love with me, he was hooked. I know of at least three others.
“During the course of this three to four years, he got me to perform in -threesomes with other boys, so I know there are other victims out there – it is now up to them if they come forward.”
“I felt shame, I felt my childhood had been taken away. I spent my late teens in turmoil, absolute turmoil,” Johnson said. “I think that they were paying me to keep a lid on this.”
Johnson said the club paid him £50,000 last year to keep mum over the incident while speaking to the Daily Mirror. He said that he had previously reported the incident to the police and the Professional Footballers Association, to no avail.
“Millions of fans around the world watch Chelsea. They are one of the biggest and richest clubs in the world.”
“All their fans deserve to know the truth about what went on. I know they asked me to sign a gagging order and how many others are there out there?
“They may have paid others for their silence. I hope and pray no clubs are allowed to cover this up – no one should escape justice. We need total transparency now for the good of the game.”
Chelsea have also released a statement in reaction to the allegations. The statement reads:
“The club have retained an external law firm to carry out an investigation concerning an individual employed by the club in the Seventies, who is now deceased.
“The club have also contacted the FA to ensure that all possible assistance is provided as part of their wider investigation. This will include providing the FA with any relevant information.”