Vale chiefs left ‘disturbed’ by Neely abuse claims

Hutchison Vale Football Club, Saughton Enclosure,Picture; Neil Hanna

Hutchison Vale Football Club, Saughton Enclosure,Picture; Neil Hanna

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A LEADING amateur football club in the Capital has been left “disturbed and upset” after a former player claimed he was raped by ex-Hibs talent scout Gordon Neely during his time at the club as a coach.

Hutchison Vale spoke out after 49-year-old Colin Anderson alleged that Neely, who died two years ago, groomed him for more than a year before carrying out three sex attacks in a treatment room.

Hibs team pic 1985-86

Gordon Neely is second from the right in second row (beside Tommy Craig)

Hibs team pic 1985-86 Gordon Neely is second from the right in second row (beside Tommy Craig)

It is the latest in a string of allegations being laid against the coach and scout, who worked for Hibs in the 1980s. He was fired by Rangers in 1990 following an accusation of inappropriate behaviour.

Mr Anderson said Neely subjected him to unnecessary groin massages before raping him. The incidents happened in the Capital when he played for Hutchison Vale in 1980.

He said he had been left tormented by Neely’s alleged abuse and even tried to kill himself because of what happened.

Speaking to a newspaper, he said: “He told me to make sure the clubhouse door was locked. I’d no idea what was going to happen – I just thought it was going to be a massage.

“He raped me. Afterwards he said, ‘That’s physio over for the night’.

“It happened another two times – I was only 13.”

Hutchison Vale leader Tam Smith previously said he had not heard of any allegations of misconduct against the coach.

Mr Smith has said he would co-operate with any investigation “to the fullest extent”.

Mr Anderson’s claims come after another man, who did not want to be named, told the News about his encounters with Neely at a training weekend at Dalguise with other young players at Hutchison Vale.

He described how Neely would take boys out for late-night “orienteering” sessions, scare them with ghost stories and tell them they could stay in his room overnight.

In a statement, Hutchison Vale said: “We are disturbed and upset to hear the reported comments from our former player, Colin Anderson.

“Gordon Neely was at Hutchison Vale more than 30 years ago and there is no record of any complaints made about him, to the club during that time. However, we will of course support any investigation that is now undertaken.

“Today, all of our coaches are registered with the Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme and we have a dedicated child protection officer at the club. We take the safety of our boys and girls more seriously than any other matter.

“It is time for football more widely to put the safety of children above all other interests and we will play whatever role we can to build confidence in the game and keep providing opportunities for young people to enjoy football in a safe and secure environment.”

Another man yesterday claimed Neely was beaten by the father of a young player he is alleged to have sexually abused in his office at a football club in the Capital.

The alleged victim, who is now in his 50s, told how Neely said he had been “bad”, pulled down his shorts and pants, put him over his knee and beat him.

The man said he was ten at the time and that the incident happened in the club rooms of youth team Edina Hibs in the mid-1970s.

Eddie Lamb, club chairman at Edina Hibs, said in a statement: “Edina Hibs have acknowledged the recent historic allegations published in the media, surrounding a former coach who was at the club in the 1970s.

“Edina Hibs will continue to correspond with all the relevant parties to make sure any individual is giving the appropriate help and guidance needed.

“We urge anyone who suffered abuse from any persons to contact the police or call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.

“Our top priority here at Edina Hibs is the safeguarding and wellbeing of children who play for the club and always will be.

“We wish to stress that all our volunteers within the club, adhere to the strictest codes of conduct, especially when dealing with children and young people. All of our coaches are registered with the Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme and we have a dedicated child protection officer at the club.”

Police have revealed they are investigating a claim of historical sex abuse from the 1980s, which the News understands is connected to Neely.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police in Edinburgh have received a report of non-recent sexual abuse that took place during the 1980s and inquiries are continuing.”

Hibs legend Pat Stanton said he was shocked to learn of the allegations. Stanton, who also managed the Easter Road side from 1982-84, said: “It’s a surprise and it’s not very nice, but it’s something to keep an eye on. I didn’t see anything suspicious at all.

“It comes as a big surprise and a concern for everybody.”

A Hibernian spokesman previously told the News: “We have not been contacted or made aware of the allegations but clearly this matter is of great concern and we will co-operate with any investigation.”

florence.snead@jpress.co.uk