A former Chelsea player claims the club paid him £50,000 hush money after he was sexually abused by chief scout Eddie Heath .
Ex-forward Gary Johnson says he was abused hundreds of times over a three year period from the age of 13.
And he says the club paid him £50,000 last year to keep quiet after he had previously approached the police and Professional Footballers Association (PFA).
Now, in an exclusive interview with the Mirror , brave Gary has waived his right to anonymity to share his horrific experiences to support other victims of the soccer abuse scandal.
The striker was part of the Chelsea first team from 1978 to 1981, and also had spells in Brentford and Aldershot.
The 57-year-old said Heath groomed him and sexually assaulted from the age of 13: “I felt shame, I felt my childhood had been taken away. I spent my late teens in turmoil, absolute turmoil.”
And speaking of the payment from his old club, he said: “I think that they were paying me to keep a lid on this.
“Millions of fans around the world watch Chelsea . They are one of the biggest and richest clubs in the world.
“All their fans deserve to know the truth about what went on. I know they asked me to sign a gagging order and how many others are there out there?
“They may have paid others for their silence. I hope and pray no clubs are allowed to cover this up – no one should escape justice.
"We need total transparency now for the good of the game.”
Gary, from Peckham in south London, joined the club as an 11-year-old schoolboy in 1970, and said the attacks at the hands of Heath, who is now dead and unable to defend himself, started in 1973.
He claims at least two or three other youngsters were also abused.
Gary recalled: “When we had summer holiday games, the kit locker was in the changing rooms and he was always there, you thought nothing of it then, but word was going around to be wary of him – but at 12 you did not know that meant. I was just too young.
“He came to the house to meet my parents, he would have been to a game.
“He built up a personal relationship with them. Then he would say, ‘I am going to a game, can I take Gary?’ and that was the start, I realise it is grooming now but that term was not around then.
“The first encounter sexually was around 1973, I was about 13 or 14. I had a row with my father, bad day at school and I confided in Eddie when he turned up at the house.
“I said to him, ‘Can I come and stay at your house?’ because I had stayed a couple of times before and nothing had happened.
“He always had boys staying with him at his house in Leytonstone. I went with him this particular time and went up to his house and he sat me down with a Coke, crisps, chocolate, saw I was still upset.
“He said, ‘This will make you feel better’, and he put on a pornographic film.
“I had not heard of that, they were under the counter, and I thought ‘why not’ but I got aroused and the next thing I knew, my trousers were around my ankles.”
He said Heath performed a sex act on him, adding: “I felt embarrassed. But he got me from that point on.
“Then, every -opportunity he would take it – the same thing would happen. Then he would get me naked in bed, try more adventurous things.
“He said he was in love with me, he was hooked. I know of at least three others.
“During the course of this three to four years, he got me to perform in -threesomes with other boys, so I know there are other victims out there - it is now up to them if they come forward.”
The Mirror say Chelsea has waived the clause in Gary’s settlement banning him from speaking about abuse after details of his claim were leaked to the media.
On Thursday (December 1) night it was suggested the club, owned and bankrolled by billionaire oligarch Roman Abramovich, may have broken Premier League rules by -sanctioning a secret payment to Gary.
Under the regulations, teams are obliged to notify the league and the Football Association of any evidence they obtain of child abuse.
It is not known if the club made any attempt to contact authorities about his allegations or if any other former players have approached with similar claims.
The sex abuse scandal has been rocking English football over recent weeks.
Ex-Crewe player Andy Woodward was the first to come forward to accuse former coach Barry Bennell of sexual abuse in the 1980s.
Former England international Paul Stewart also revealed he was a victim (see video above).
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