EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Southampton FC coach accused of child sex abuse is employee at Fareham charity

Former Southampton FC football coach Bob Higgins.  

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Former Southampton FC football coach Bob Higgins. � Solent News & Photo Agency UK PPP-160912-193451001
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A former football coach accused of historic sexual abuse against young players is employed by a Fareham-based charity which supports vulnerable adults, The News can reveal.

Bob Higgins is the housing manager for Two Saints, which helps homeless and at-risk people across the Portsmouth area.

Former Southampton FC youth officer Higgins is at the centre of a police investigation after being named by former youth players at the club over alleged abuse by the coach.

The 63-year-old denies any wrongdoing.

Ex-youth footballer Lee Smith waived his anonymity to tell The News on Saturday he believes he was groomed by Higgins during their time together at Southampton.

Two Saints confirmed to The News that Higgins is an employee but made no further comment.

A statement from Steve Benson, chief executive of the charity, read: ‘We can confirm that Robert Higgins is employed by us but he’s not currently working in the business.’

Higgins worked with Southampton in the 1980s and was accused of indecent assaults against the young players, leading to court cases.

He left in 1989 and a letter was sent to all clubs warning them to avoid the Bob Higgins Soccer Academy.

Higgins was charged with six indecent assault charges against boys in 1992 but cleared on the direction of a judge.

Three years later, he joined Peterborough United as youth team manager but left in 1996 by mutual consent.

Following an investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches, Hampshire Police and social services sent out a warning letter about Higgins.

Hampshire Police said it could not give any more details on its current investigation and refused to confirm if officers had visited Higgins’ home.