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Cultivation of father-figure role allowed coach to get away with sexual abuse of boys for decades

Bob Higgins was the star-maker, the super-coach. He worked with the likes of the former England great Alan Shearer, the Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier and the ex-Chelsea skipper Dennis Wise when they were promising juniors, hungry for success.

He was admired – loved is not too strong – by the impressionable schoolboys who believed he was the gatekeeper to the world of football. They were “Bob’s boys”, hanging on his every word, following him around Pied Piper-like.

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