Former Newcastle youth football coach George Ormond has been jailed for 20 years for sexually abusing teenage boys over three decades.
The 62-year-old worked with a prominent youth team in the city in the 1970s and 1980s, before assisting at the Premier League club in the 1990s.
He used his power over impressionable and ambitious boys, one as young as 11, to sexually abuse them and keep them silent.
Judge Edward Bindloss, sitting at Newcastle Crown Court, said: “Evidence showed that over a 25-year period, George Ormond was a man wholly preoccupied with sex who used his position as a respected football coach to target boys and young men in his care.”
Ormond was convicted on Tuesday of 35 indecent assaults and one count of indecency.
Judge Bindloss said Ormond was in a position of trust and used his popularity with the boys and their families to groom victims, some of whom he could not remember now.
Judge Bindloss said: “No one observing this trial could have failed to have been moved by the complainants and other witnesses over the six weeks of evidence, largely men in their 50s, largely from working class and sporting backgrounds, speaking with calm and quiet dignity about how they failed to understand what was happening to them and because of the times they lived in and due to their circumstances, they were unable to speak about it.”
It was clear the victims did not want to give their evidence in court, revealing to strangers the abuse they had suffered, the judge said.
And he told Ormond: “Some victims you do not even remember – what was for you momentary sexual gratification was for your victims a lifetime of difficulty.”
Statements from his victims, who cannot be named, revealed how they felt ashamed and embarrassed about what happened to them, and some expressed deep regret they had not spoken out earlier.
One said the sound of studs on concrete, the smell of liniment or seeing players getting changed reminded him of the abuse he had kept buried.
Another said his ambition had been to become a footballer – “that dream turned into a living nightmare”.
Some never kicked a ball again after being abused, the court heard.
Yet another said he had been unburdened by telling the police, explaining: “I feel from today my life starts again as I no longer have to keep that awful secret.”
Ormond had already been jailed in 2002 for abusing young footballers, among them Derek Bell, who waived his right to anonymity.
When the football abuse scandal broke in 2016, Mr Bell spoke out again and that prompted more victims to come forward for this, new investigation.
Rebecca Trowler QC, defending, said Ormond was an only child whose only close relationship now was with his mother who is in her 80s.
She said he had not been in trouble since his release from prison in 2006.
He worked full time for a filter company, but moved away and lived off his savings when details of his 2002 convictions became known.