Fulham to investigate abuse allegations made by former youth player Max Noble

Tom Doyle
·2-min read
<p>Fulham confirmed the club

Fulham confirmed the club

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Fulham are investigating claims that a former youth player was abused and threatened during his time at the club.

In an interview with the i newspaper, Max Noble says 150 people have contacted him to report similar treatment in different academies.

Noble says he was told he would be dropped if he did not sign with an agent Fulham had recommended to him, and was administered painkillers in order to train and play.

He also alleges the club refused to pay for a knee operation just before his scholarship deal came to an end, and is calling for clubs and the football authorities to ensure aftercare for academy players who are released.

Noble also claims there were occasions when white players were afforded preferential treatment at training, and black players were told to eat their lunch in a dirty dressing room rather than the canteen.

Noble says he has suffered from severe anxiety and depression after leaving Fulham, and after producing a video called 'Chasing Shadows' about his experiences says he received messages from 150 former academy players who had gone through the same thing.

Fulham said in response to Noble's allegations: "We condemn bullying, racism and discrimination in any form and work hard to ensure that they have no place here. The club will investigate the historic claims and liaise with all relevant parties."

Noble told the i: "The only thing I want to change is if you take a boy out of school you owe him aftercare. That's it. You can't promise them the world, then ignore them when they're depressed, or they're going through what I had to go through. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

"The academy system is failing, you can see just by the numbers, it's completely failing."

Noble likens the process to grooming: "People don't like that word because it sounds sexual.

"But for an adult to lie to children, to groom them into something and then all of a sudden sweep the rug from under their feet and then say: 'It's your fault you didn't make it, you didn't work hard enough, you didn't listen, you didn't stay out on the training ground long enough, or get in early enough'...

"It's always an excuse that is used by the abuser: blame the victim. It's an abuse scandal."

Additional reporting by PA.