Former football coach Barry Bennell carried out the "systematic and persistent" sexual abuse of young boys, including assaulting two youth footballers in the changing rooms at Crewe Alexandra's ground, a court has heard.
The 63-year-old, who worked as a youth coach in Cheshire, Derbyshire and Manchester from the late 1970s and into the 1990s, is accused of 48 counts of child sexual abuse.
He denies the offences of indecent assault, buggery and attempted buggery against 11 complainants, who were aged between eight and 14 at the time of the alleged offences.
Nicholas Johnson QC, prosecuting, told a jury at Liverpool Crown Court that the ex-Crewe Alexandra coach, who has since changed his name to Richard Jones, was a "predatory and determined paedophile" who targeted pre-pubescent boys.
He said: "As such, he had pretty much unfettered access to large numbers of young lads who dreamt of a life in professional football.
"Although it seems that Mr Jones/Bennell was a skilled and relatively successful coach, he had a much darker side."
The jury heard one complainant alleged he was abused in the changing rooms at Crewe Alexandra's ground following a youth team game when Bennell allegedly put his hand in his shorts.
That alleged incident was interrupted by a team-mate who Bennell then pinned against a wall and threatened he would never play football again if he spoke of what he witnessed, the jury was told.
Bennell is also alleged to have performed oral sex on another youth footballer in the changing rooms at Crewe.
Many of the alleged offences took place at the home addresses of Bennell, who met some of the complainants while working as a scout for Manchester City, the court heard.
His home, where he would invite boys to stay over, was described by one complainant as a "paradise" for young boys with a pool table, fruit machine, big TVs and unusual pets, which the court heard included a wild cat and a monkey.
Complainants also alleged being abused in his car on the way to and from training and on football tours.
One described staying in a house "in the middle of nowhere" on a tour where Bennell would play horror films and one of the boys would end up with a sheep's head in his bed, the court heard.
The jury heard that part of the evidence in the case involved serious sexual allegations made against Bennell by young footballers in the past, some of which he had pleaded guilty to and served prison sentences for in this country and the United States.
He has pleaded guilty to seven counts of indecent assault related to his current trial.
When interviewed about the allegations he faces, said Mr Johnson, the defendant claimed he was the victim of a "concerted effort" by people to make false allegations.
During interviews, he told police he had been attracted to 13-year-old boys because they were "pedigree footballers who were athletic and good looking".
Bennell is due to appear on video-link for the trial as he needs to be frequently fed through a tube due to illness, the court was told.
The trial, which is expected to last eight weeks, will continue on Wednesday morning.
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