A relative of the coach who abused footballer Paul Stewart has apologised 45 years after his ordeal.
Paul had a message from a close relative of Frank Roper after the Mirror told how the ex-Spurs and England star was haunted by his childhood abuse.
He recalled being unable to enjoy the highs of scoring in the 1991 FA Cup final and representing his country after suffering at the hands of Roper every day for four years from the age of 11.
Paul said of the trauma: “I had some highs in my career. I never enjoyed them because I had this empty soul.”
Roper’s relative told Paul: “I wanted to get in touch to say how deeply sorry I am.
“We had no idea of the horrific nature of his actions. I am so sorry for the abuse, and the mental anguish… he caused.”
Paul, 56, brought up in Wythenshawe, Gtr Manchester, was abused after he was asked to play for the city’s Nova junior side. The star wrote back to Roper’s relative, saying: “Thank you for your message.
“I hope that the news reports have not impacted on you and your family as none of you were to blame.”
Paul first told of his ordeal in an interview with the Mirror in November 2016.
He came forward after revelations by former player and fellow survivor Andy Woodward, a victim of serial abuser Barry Bennell at Crewe Alexandra.
Paul, of Blackpool, Lancs, said: “For me, it was never about revenge, or retribution against Roper.
“I came forward to support the other victims.”
The dad of three, now a safeguarding consultant for English Football League clubs, features in BBC documentary series Football’s Darkest Secret, which starts on Monday.
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Roper, who died in 2005, was convicted of indecent assault on a minor in 1960, 1961, 1965 and 1984.
Football’s Darkest Secret begins on Monday at 9pm on BBC One and will be available on iPlayer as a box set.