'It isn't easy admitting you were one of Barry Bennell's boys'

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Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, has expressed his sympathies with the victims of Barry Bennell after the former coach's conviction for the sexual assault of children.

On Tuesday, Bennell, 64, had been convicted of 36 counts of sexual offences, relating to 10 victims.

Almost 800 victims have come forward against more than 100 coaches, leading to accusations that some of the game's most famous and loved clubs covered up allegations of abuse of boys in their care.

Hushed cries of "yes" came from the public gallery where six of the victims sat with family members, as an 11-person jury returned guilty verdicts on Thursday to the remaining seven sex charges brought against Bennell by a complainant. "For decades we held our silence just like our abuser told us to".

They were abused at Bennell's home - described by one complainant as a "paradise" for young boys, with a pool table, fruit machine, big televisions and unusual pets - as well as on the way to matches and in changing rooms.

Bennell, who will be sentenced on Monday 19 February has pleaded guilty at the start of the trial to seven further offences.

"For decades we lived in fear". We are no longer afraid of you, Barry Bennell.

He said: "If we use our phones we can't take pictures of the children and put it on the Stoke City Twitter or Facebook page".

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In a statement issued this afternoon the club said that the review team that they set up in November 2016 had identified serious allegations of child sex abuse in respect of two identifiable individuals with potential historic connections to Manchester City.

"How can it be that no one realized something was wrong?"

He regularly drove some of his victims to the club's then Maine Road stadium and Platt Lane training ground - although there was no evidence that abuse took place at either location.

Mr Barnes told Dispatches: "He said we've had one or two reports about him. mucking about with kids or something like that".

"I knew he was prolific, I knew he was on an industrial scale, I didn't know so many people would have the courage to come forward", Woodward said outside Liverpool Crown Court in northwest England.

He coached locally at Stoke City FC and Crewe Alexandra.

Man City offered its "heartfelt sympathy to all victims for the unimaginably traumatic experiences they have endured".

It's particularly problematic when applied to sexual abuse of the sort suffered by Barry Bennell's young footballers, many of whom were interviewed by Deborah Davies - who had first covered Bennell's crimes 20 years ago - in a shattering Channel 4 Dispatches: Football's Wall of Silence.

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