Crewe Alexandra, one of the clubs most heavily implicated in football’s sexual-abuse scandal, have announced they have sacked one of their academy coaches because of a police investigation that has led to him being convicted of attempting to groom an underage girl.
Carl Everall, formerly Crewe’s head of foundation, was suspended by the club in September because of what the Football Association described as “a safeguarding and police matter” and appeared at Chester crown court last Thursday to face a charge of engaging in sexual communications with a child. Everall, 28, pleaded guilty and received a three-year community order with a 35-day rehabilitation activity requirement. He was also ordered to go on a sexual offenders’ treatment programme and told to sign the sexual offenders’ register for five years.
In a statement released to the Guardian, Crewe said: “Carl Everall was suspended immediately after breaking safeguarding rules in September and his contract was terminated in February.”
Everall, who had been coaching in Crewe’s academy since 2013, was suspended from all football-related activities by the FA while the governing body conducted its own inquiries into allegations relating to his behaviour.
His court case heard that he had started sending the girl, who was in her early teens, inappropriate Snapchat messages in January last year. The messages became “steadily more concerning” and stopped only after he was arrested eight months later.
“The victim, with the support of her family, has shown great maturity throughout the investigation,” Detective Constable Gail Burndred of Cheshire police said. “Everall had undergone safeguarding training through his coaching career and knew full well the effect that this conduct can have on young people.”
Everall was previously an academy coach at Port Vale and left his position as joint manager at Whitchurch Alport, of the North West Counties League, to start working full-time for Crewe in 2017. His coaching qualifications include the FA advanced youth award and he is well known within Crewe for his football work in the community and the charity game, the Everall Derby, he organises with his twin, Simon, a former Crewe trainee.
The latest court case is another damaging blow to Crewe’s reputation at a time when they are facing multiple high court actions over the Barry Bennell affair and have already made out-of-court settlements to some of the players who were abused in the club’s youth system during the 1980s and 1990s.
Bennell was convicted of 50 specimen charges relating to 12 boys, aged eight to 15, in the junior set-ups at Crewe and Manchester City, from 1979 to 1991. The man described by a judge as “the devil incarnate” is 15 months into a 31-year prison sentence.
Dario Gradi, Crewe’s director of football, has not returned to work since being suspended by the FA in December 2016. It has never been made clear, however, whether that related to anything that had happened at Crewe, as the man who brought Bennell to the club, or if it went back to claims that in his coaching days at Chelsea he had visited the house of a 15-year-old youth-team player to “smooth over” a complaint of sexual assault against Eddie Heath, the club’s chief scout. Heath, who died in the mid-1980s, has been identified as a repeat offender in the 1970s.