July 2015

Perverted football manager used Facebook to encourage young players to act like men and shower naked


THE ex-manager of a football team who touched one of his young players on the bottom as he tied his bootlaces before a match has been ordered to go on a sex offenders programme.

Stephen Wild, of Hunderton Road, Hereford, also sent the player messages by text and on Facebook suggesting they should shower naked, Worcester Crown Court heard.

Samantha Forsyth, prosecuting, told the court that the boy, a 17-year-old, was keen to join the team at the start of 2013 and contacted 54-year-old Wild who invited him to join in the training.

They went into the showers together afterwards and Wild was naked but the boy kept his shorts on, Miss Forsyth said. Wild later sent him messages saying they were both men and should both shower naked.

“It demonstrated a pattern of grooming,” she told the court.

The boy got into the team and before one game as he was tying his laces, Wild touched his bottom.

The boy decided to leave the team and Wild later messaged him to say he should pay back his registration or he would be reported to the Football Association.

The boy told his parents what had happened. Wild was investigated and it was discovered he had texted other players suggesting they shower together.

“He was the manager and he had the responsibility,” Miss Forsyth said.

“They respected him and looked up to him. It was an abuse of a position of trust.”

Wild, who managed a Sunday league team, pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual assault.

Jonathan Stannisland, defending, said it was a “fleeting and minor” sexual assault but the background to it was unpleasant.

Judge Michael Cullum said: it was not a touch of someone on a football pitch as a joke.“It was a sexual activity against a background of sending flirtatious messages and then threatening the boy that he wouldn’t play football again,” he said.

Wild was ordered to undergo a 36-month sex offenders group work programme with supervision from probation. He will have to sign the sex offenders register for five years.