The Football Association’s (FA) Inquiry into sexual abuse has been told that Graham Taylor, the ex Aston Villa manager was warned about the abuse of young players in the 1980’s.
Ted Langford who died in 2012 worked as a scout for Aston Villa for almost 2 years after staff there was warned about him, the Inquiry has heard. In 2007, Langford was convicted for historical sexual offences against boys, 3 of whom were linked to Aston Villa. The offences date back to between 1976 and 1989.
Tony Brien, who is a victim of Langford has waived his right to his anonymity has disclosed that he was abused on numerous occasions by Langford when he was 12 years old and played for a local youth team. At the age of 16 he signed for Leicester City on the recommendation of Langford who was a part time scout for the club.
In the summer of 1987, Dave Richardson joined Aston Villa as an assistant manager and Langford also joined the club as a scout. It was at this time that Tony Brien decided to tell Dave Richardson about Langford’s behaviour.
Tony Brien was aged 18 or 19 years at this time. He recalls a number of conversations with Dave Richardson and one conversation with Graham Taylor. He was discouraged from, “going public with the allegations.” He was, “advised to sweep it under the carpet and not tell the Police.”
At the Inquiry Tony Brien gave evidence; “They discouraged me from going forward and never offered me a chance to go to the police or anything like that.”
In a recent interview Tony Brien has also disclosed that Graham Taylor said to him, “Look, you’re a young lad starting out in the game. I know you’ve just made your debut. Could you really be dealing with all the obscenities from the terraces? So I just suggest you sweep it under the carpet.”
In December 2016 Tony Brien provided a statement to the Police about the abuse he suffered by Langford and the response of Aston Villa to his allegations.
Dave Richardson has stated that he, “he could not recall having a conversation with Tony Brien and strongly denied he would have advised the player he should not go public. The bottom line is once he’d rung me, [I would have said] ‘We’re dealing with it, it will be dealt with in such a way whereby you don’t have to worry. I wouldn’t brush it under the carpet.”
“He was first made aware of “alarming allegations” against Langford shortly after he joined Aston Villa in the summer of 1987. He said he spoke to Graham Taylor and Chairman Doug Ellis and an internal investigation took place. “I took these extremely seriously and began making inquiries. These led me to speak to the parents of two young footballers at Aston Villa who each told me their sons had been abused by Ted Langford,” he said.
“Dave Richardson said the parents involved did not want the matter reported to the police but, after consulting with Mr Taylor and Mr Ellis, Langford was sacked by the club. As soon as we got more information, as soon as I knew, we brought him in and we got him out of the way.”
However, it is understood that Langford remained with Aston Villa acting as the club’s official representative until March 1989. This is 2 years after Dave Richardson has stated that he was first made aware of the allegations. Dave Richardson has said that it would be inappropriate to comment further whilst the FA’s Inquiry was continuing.
The BBC has confirmed that they believe that a second victim has also come forward with allegations against Langford and that he was deterred by Graham Taylor and another man from taking his allegations any further.
A spokesman for Aston Villa said: “Aston Villa would encourage anyone with any allegation or concern regarding safeguarding or other potential wrongdoing to contact the relevant authorities. Allegations relating to Ted Langford and involving the club are subject to ongoing legal proceedings and it is therefore not appropriate for the club to comment further on this matter.”
Jordan’s Solicitors represent a number of victims who have suffered abuse as a boy whilst involved with youth football teams. Jordans Solicitors can provide expert support and legal advice in relation to compensation for the abuse which has been suffered. We would encourage you to speak to a child abuse Solicitor specialising in child abuse claims at Jordans to see if you are entitled to pursue a claim for civil damages.