Andy Woodward: who was footballer abused by Barry Bennell - and when is BBC documentary Floodlights on TV?

Floodlights is a new BBC drama about the true story of a professional footballer who experienced sexual abuse as a youth player

Andy Woodward is a former professional footballer with a career spanning from the 1990s to the early 2000s.

He became a whistleblower for sexual abuse in football when he spoke about grooming and abuse by coaching staff.

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While Woodward accused one person of abuse he has also said that there were multiple perpertrators.

Gerard Kearns as Andy Woodward in Floodlights

Who did Andy Woodward play for?

Woodward began his professional career playing for Crewe in 1992 and joined Bury in 1995 making 135 appearances for the club over five years.

In 2000, Woodward was signed by Sheffield United but only played four games for the team.

He was on loan for Scunthorpe on two occasions and was signed by Halifax Town in 2011.

He was dropped by Halifax Town when the club went into administration in 2002 and joined Norwich Victoria, making eight appearances for the team.

Was Woodward a victim of sexual abuse?

In an interview with The Guardian in 2016 Woodward alleged that he had been a victim of sexual abuse while a trainee at Crewe Alexandra in the 1980s.

The allegations shone a light on the national scandal of abuse in football and hundreds more male victims came forward after Woodward spoke up.

Andy Woodward spoke out about his abuse in 2016

Bennell was a scout for Manchester City and coached their feeder teams in the 1970s and ‘80s.

He is currently serving a 34-year jail term for sexual offences committed against 22 boys, although more than 100 victims are believed to have made allegations of sexual abuse by the paedophile.

In his 2019 biography, Position of Trust: A football dream betrayed, Woodward details how Bennell groomed him and his family.

Woodward also explains that he and others experienced multiple rapes while trainees at Crewe Alexandra.

Bennell also married Woodward’s older sister, Lynda, in 1991 after the abuse had taken place.

What did Woodward do after he left football?

After retiring from football in 2003, Woodward entered the police force, working in Lancashire.

He spent 12 years in the police force but was dismissed in November 2016 for having a relationship with the adult sister of the victim of a crime.

What is Floodlights about?

Floodlights is a dramatic retelling of Woodward’s life, from his time as a trainee at Crewe, through his professional career and to his decision to go public about his abuse.

The 80 minute special stars Gerard Kearns, known for his role as Ian Gallagher in Shameless, and Jonas Armstrong, who played the titular role in the BBC series Robin Hood, as the predator Barry Bennell.

The drama was made with the cooperation of Woodward, who said that he hopes the film will help to end abuse in football at all levels.

When is Floodlights on TV?

Floodlights will air on BBC Two on 17 May at 9pm and will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer shortly after it is first broadcast.