Two former Southampton schoolboy footballers have alleged they were groomed and abused by a former club employee.
Dean Radford and Jamie Webb waived their right to anonymity to tell BBC South Today about their experiences.
Radford said he was forced to ‘snuggle up’ with a club employee on a couch and added: ‘It was very odd for me because this was the first experience I’d had of that sort of closeness and whatever else you want to call it.
‘The reasons he gave were that we needed to trust him, he needed to be like a second father to us. If we trusted him, and it worked both ways, then the chances were there that we could become a professional footballer.”
Radford also alleged he was sexually assaulted when he was asked by the employee to lie down for treatment on a back injury.
Webb said: ‘I recall clearly he tried to move down and put his hand in between my shorts and my tracksuit that I was wearing and I just blocked him.”
He added: “You don’t live every day of your life crying your eyes out and walking around with your head down, you get on with life as normal, but you still have it there, it’s buried there deep, and it comes up, and it will keep coming up for the rest of my life.’
The BBC report said Southampton would co-operate fully with any police investigation.
Football Association boss Martin Glenn has promised that any club guilty of ‘hushing up’ sexual abuse to protect their image will be punished.
The FA chief executive was speaking at a news conference after it was revealed that a dedicated NSPCC helpline for football received 860 calls in its first week.
Seventeen British police forces, including Hampshire, have confirmed they are investigating fresh allegations of historic abuse.