Paul Stewart tells his powerful story of abuse in football
The former Manchester City, Spurs and Liverpool player details how he was abused from a young age02:07 Friday 17 November 2017, 2:07 17 Nov 2017
One year on from the day that Andy Woodward came forward, there has been a huge investigation into the unfurling abuse scandal in the world of football.
Hundreds of victims have come forward in the time since the story broke originally, and perhaps one of the most high-profile former players to speak about his experience was former Spurs, Manchester City and Liverpool player Paul Stewart.
Stewart came into studio to speak to Nathan about his new autobiography, and spoke about why he decided to tell his story now.
Damaged: My Story details how Stewart was abused at a young age by the man who had promised him a career in football, and how he struggled to deal with it throughout his life.
On the pitch, Stewart achieved his dreams, including playing for England and being named Man of the Match in an FA Cup final, but off it he was struggling to deal with issues surrounding his use of alcohol and drugs, and the story he had tried to bury in his past.
However, Stewart also added that the decision to speak now, having held on to it for so many years, has been a difficult one to take.
Speaking about his time with Blackpool when he joined as an apprentice, Stewart stated that he spotted the man who abused him, Frank Roper, in the crowd during a match.
"I noticed that there was another lad with him, who has chosen to stay anonymous, and I understand that. But that's difficult now, as a 53-year-old man, when I look back I feel the guilt. Because If I had said something, maybe I could have stopped it.
"I was 16, 17-years-old. I'd got away from [Frank Roper} and wanted to concentrate on my football career, to not sound like I was a trouble maker. Maybe it sounds like I'm making excuses, but no doubt about it, I regret not speaking up."
Stewart also added that telling his parents had been the toughest part of the process, but that his family had given him strong support during the difficult stages of coming forward with the story and writing this book.
"I said to my parents, my brothers, and my wife and children, that if they had any doubt about me coming forward, that I would respect that and I won't say a word. They all resoundingly said they wanted me to tell my story, because they see how important it has been in trying to help other people.
"I try almost daily to say to my mum in particular that 'it wasn't your fault,' but I get why she's always going to feel guilty. I have to live with that as well."
You can watch the full interview with Paul Stewart on YouTube, or listen to the podcast below.
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