SCOTLAND’S FOOTBALL ABUSE SCANDAL ON BRINK OF EXPLODING! Questions raised over organised paedophile rings who went from club to club raping boys

EXCLUSIVE: Scotland’s football abuse scandal is expected to explode with more details coming out that some coaches perhaps acted together in an organised paedophile ring, being either protected or moved on from club to club after raping and molesting boys with big dreams of being professional footballers, writes Gary Johnston.

There is nothing uglier, than inchoate hatred. Hard though it may be to believe, even old, moon-faced Barnaby Joyce is more attractive.

Hatred, based on prejudice, soaked in bigotry, marinated in racism, brought to a rolling boil in a foul fusion of animosity and sectarianism, is a repugnant commodity no measure of tolerance and rationale can ever excuse.

In our world of relentless social media activity, hatred, served up with lashings of ignorance and narrow-mindedness, perpetrated by faceless, single-digit, keyboard lame-brains, is the new fascism, which is rather disappointing, since we haven’t altogether lanced the boil of old fascism yet.

Anonymous people, seemingly bereft of compassion, empathy and good humour, who get their kicks sticking the boot into those whose only crime is to have experienced agony, hardship and ill fortune.

What’s so funny, as the great Nick Lowe once said, about peace, love and understanding?

Earlier this year, True Crime News Weekly broke the story, in Australia at least, of the sexual abuse scandal which has rocked the world of Scottish professional football. Our reporting has since made a significant impact in Scotland, with families of victims as well as media outlets and blogs picking up on or sharing our articles. Indeed, outside of Australia, Scotland has this year been the nation where this website has received most of its readership from.

The Celtic Boys Club, an unofficial feeder of the celebrated team, first British side to lift the prestigious European Cup, forerunner of the Champions League, was revealed to be a dysfunctional, corrupt organisation whose coaches systematically and with apparent impunity molested a tranche of young men over the course of a number of years with, all of the evidence suggests, the tacit, or at least tolerated, acquiescence of high profile, legendary figures within the mighty Celtic FC itself.

RELATED: FOOTBALL CLUB HOME TO SOCCEROOS STARS UNMASKED AS HAVEN FOR CHILD SEX OFFENDERS! Celtic left reeling as decades long cover-up finally revealed

A significant figure in exposing the extent of abuse, was the tireless Michelle Gray whose brother Andrew, after a troubled time dealing with the consequences of his horrific experience, tragically lost his life in a dreadful accident in Perth, Western Australia.

Despite his awful demise, Andrew’s testimony, accumulated and engendered by Michelle and her mother Helene, was delivered at the subsequent criminal trial of the most prolific perpetrator – one James Torbett – and had a powerful effect on the subsequent conviction of Torbett, who is currently – and rightly – serving a sentence of 6 years imprisonment at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

Following that judgement in November 2018, one of Torbett’s contemporaries, Frank Cairney, another youth coach linked to Celtic was also earlier this year sentenced to four years in prison for abusing young boys connected to the club. All up, at least four Celtic youth coaches have been identified as having been involved in the sexual abuse of young footballers under their guidance and care.

Cue an incredible – for people unaware of the tribal associations of Scottish culture – backlash against the Gray family, accused of ‘disloyalty’ towards Celtic, exemplified by social media trolling alluding to shady personal vendettas aided and abetted – orchestrated according to the blindsided faithful – by supporters of Celtic’s traditional rivals, Rangers FC.

To a lesser extent, far lesser compared to the Gray’s experience, True Crime News Weekly was even drawn into the argument, with a number of Celtic fans accusing us of prejudice and even worse for this writer, a life-long Celtic supporter, of being a “half-baked bluenose”.

For those of you not in the know, a ‘bluenose’, is a semi-pejorative term for a staunch, some would say immutable, Rangers supporter.

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Amongst other suggestions made to us by Celtic acolytes, was a request that we investigate the behaviour of one time Rangers coach Gordon Neely, also accused of being a long time sexual abuser of young aspirant footballers. What’s more, it was said, we should report on the significant evidence that suggested Neely’s conduct was well known and apparently given the seal of approval by principal figures at Rangers FC, including, amongst others, Walter Smith, a successful – though, not all that successful – manager of the club in the 1990’s.

In addition to working at Rangers, Neely also coached at two other Scottish clubs, Hibernian and Dundee United, where his disgraceful conduct – biting young players, subjecting them to private ‘spanking sessions’ and, it’s alleged, much, much worse – was not only tolerated, but, it seems, actively encouraged, in the name of “character building”.

SCOTLAND'S FOOTBALL ABUSE SCANDAL ON BRINK OF EXPLODING! Questions raised over organised paedophile rings who went from club to club raping boys

Rangers youth coach Gordon Neely (Image: BBC)

Even more worrying, if that’s possible, are well-founded rumours that Neely was a close acquaintance of the notorious Barry Bennell, a scout and coach at both Crewe Alexandra FC and premiership giants Manchester City and a convicted child rapist whose victims, said to number in the hundreds, were all teenage – and younger – would-be footballers, meticulously selected and groomed by Bennell over the course of a number of years.

The strong possibility that there might have been a cohort of top level football coaches operating a sexual abuser’s ring, trading in information and – quite possibly in children – and that it may well have been covered up by some of the biggest names in the round ball game is, you might think, a major story that any right-minded football supporter – any person with a concept of justice – would automatically acknowledge as being serious as deserving of further investigation.  We agree, wholeheartedly.

The Torbett affair at Celtic Boy’s Club however, suggests that is not universally, the accepted conclusion. Instead, for some ‘fans’, it seems affiliations, connections with football clubs, are seen as being much more important than the basic premise of fairness, equitability and due process.

RELATED: CHILD SEX ABUSE COVER-UP RATTLES ‘CULT’ OF SCOTTISH FOOTBALL! Fans harass families of abuse victims in extension of never-ending Old Firm derby between Celtic & Rangers

Bennell and Torbett – and others like Cairney – are in jail. Neely isn’t, having assumed room temperature in 2014, but for any reasonable person, that surely cannot be the end of the narrative.

A full, frank and exhaustive enquiry into the nature and scale of abuse, is patently required, incorporating representatives of every club, to find out what happened, how it happened, who knew about it and, most importantly, to recommend and invoke measures that ensure such a situation can never be allowed to occur again.

Questions such as this are being continually asked by the indefatigable Michelle Gray but at no little personal cost. 

Regularly, daily, on social media Michelle, her family and supporters are subjected to a level of invective that has to be seem to be believed.

At best, the criticism focusses on a perception that the Gray family has attacked Celtic FC without applying the same proportion of  judgement to bitter rivals Rangers FC, employers of the aforementioned Gordon Neely, at worst, the accusations are far more pointed – and personal – alleging that the Gray’s quest for answers has its genesis in personal financial gain.

Many of the posts are heartlessly vindictive, referring to the death of Andrew Gray, suggesting the tragedy, which occurred after a number of years during which he had suffered from medically diagnosed PTSD directly related to being sexually abused at Celtic Boy’s Club, was Michelle’s fault and ‘nothing do with Celtic’.

Let’s get this straight.

Firstly, the victims of abuse are never to blame.

And secondly, loyalty, support for a football club, for any abstract institution, no matter how important it is to you, no matter how ingrained its history, trials, tribulations, successes and misfortunes has in your life, should not, cannot, take precedence over basic humanity.

RELATED: THE AUSSIE CONNECTION! With lid lifted off Celtic, Scotland’s sexual abuse scandal spreads far & wide

It’s not ‘disloyalty’ to expect your club to assume responsibility for mistakes, oversights, concealments or cover-ups. Football clubs, like every organisation, have responsibilities towards individuals wronged, discriminated against or abused.

Ignoring this is wrong.

And people who do so are not acting like true fans, a faithful supporters, or even, rational individuals. They’re acting like brain-washed dolts.

You don’t like people who have been the recipient of criminal behaviour asking questions about the how, why and when?

You’re in denial. And you need to ask yourself why.

Hate if you must. Haters gonna hate. But restrict your hatred for those whose aberrant behaviour truly deserves it. People like Torbett, Bennell, Neely and the deniers, the cover-up merchants and enablers who put the potential success of a football club above and beyond the welfare of genuinely innocent children.

And even then, hatred, is no effective substitute for the perpetrators and their acolytes being subjected to the full process of the law.

Criminal behaviour has a consequence. That’s how the system, with all its flaws and foibles, works.

No matter what  associations mean to you, no matter the colour of the jersey abusers used to wear, no matter which club’s badge they represented whilst engaged on their grubby, deviant, criminal, life-ruining actions, reconciliation, answers and disclosure are much, much more important than obedience and blind loyalty.

In that place, fascism not only resides, but thrives.

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About Gary Johnston 44 Articles
Gary Johnston is an author, academic and former parole officer with decades of experience in the criminal justice system. He is True Crime News Weekly's Deputy Editor and Melbourne correspondent. His book 'No Previous Conviction' was published in May 2017 and is available on Amazon.

3 Comments

  1. Right off the bat, I will declare that I am a “bluenose”. Not, as you quite rightly say in your article, should matter.
    In my previous occupation I dealt with both victims, and perpetrators of Child Sex Abuse.
    I hate paedophiles and anyone who abuses children and 100% believe they should be dealt with to 100% of the power of the law and the victims receive all help required to help them “recover” from that abuse.
    I am not naive enough to think that any institution, club, place of employment, can be 100% sure they dont have an abuser within their ranks and no system put in place to stop such an occurrence can be “water tight”. However, when the system fails or the abuser is discovered they should take whatever responsibility they have (under the law), put in place systems to stop it occurring again and learn from mistakes made, take appropriate steps with law enforcement etc.
    That is the right thing to happen and I do not care if its my business, my institution, my club or the football team I support. I do and would however care BIG TIME, if something I was associated covered up, hushed up, actively allowed etc such behaviour to continue.
    I have personally witnessed the abuse Michelle, her mother and other family members have received from people, including so-called Celtic fans, purely because of her wish for justice. A wish any right thinking person would want, PARTICULARLY when the victim is a family member. Some of that abuse is beyond belief, and is as you accurately describe.
    Also, as you rightfully describe, those who support the Gray family and their RIGHTFUL call for an inquiry are abused too, particularly if you happen to be a Rangers supporter.
    I have never personally met Michelle or her family, but I have conversed with them regularly for over a year, to be an ear, to offer support and YES to try and “defend them” (NOT that in a normal society you should ever need to.). If the family are “in this” to get qa “financial gain” they are excellent at hiding it. I dont believe for one nano second that their driving factor is financial gain. They simply want justice, want those responsible brought to justice and to lessen the chances for someone elses child doesn’t become a victim. Simple as that.
    Your story is very accurate and describes what is happening very accurately. However, it is even worse than that…..

    We have had an MSP (Minister of Scottish Parliament) call those who want an inquiry “bigots” – James Dornan @glasgowcathcart

    We have the Scottish Justice Minister Humza Yousaf basically ignoring the Gray family and refusing “point blank” to hold an inquiry DESPITE the convictions and evidence you highlight in your article and their is lots more, ignoring the methods paedophiles operate within. That decision is totally bereft of any sense. He even had the audacity today of making comment about the Epstien situation WHILST ignoring Historical sex abuse with even more victims involved, involving a definite paedophile ring – https://twitter.com/HumzaYousaf/status/1196893681959211008

    We have the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon ignoring it.

    The SNP government passed responsibility for an “enquiry” to the SFA (Scottish Football Association) to carry out an enquiry. However, their is evidence to suggest that they themselves were involved in “covering up” or “knowingly doing nothing” about it at the time the abuse was taking place. Maybe that isnt true, but how can ANYONE, in their right mind allow a groupd to carry out an investigation into themselves and the clubs they control, WHILST their is evidence that at least suggests their involvement?

    The whole thing is frightening. The evidence is overwhelming of a cover up of Child Sex Abuse. Overwhelming evidence shows that their was CSA taking place at CBC / CFC, but who knows if other clubs were involved or how far and where that ring existed. The ONLY way to find out, get true justice for the victims and their families, learn from “mistakes made”, etc etc is to hold a court led inquiry.

    Yes I happen to be a Rangers supporter and yes it HAPPENS to be Celtic seem to deeply embrtoiled in a paedo ring operating “within their walls”, BUT I am a normal thinking human being with proper ethics and morals first and foremost. An inquiry MUST be held. If it leads to showing the club I support being involved in such behaviour, to whatever extent, so what!!!

    The big question is – WHY despite all the evidence etc are the powers that be NOT having an inquiry carried out, WHY the powers that be (i.e. the Scottish Government and even the UK Government) NOT doing so??? Who or what are they protecting? Are they frightened as to who an inquiry will lead to OR where the inquiry will lead?

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