Eric Bristow apologises for football sex abuse tweets after losing role with Sky Sports

The now-deleted tweets labelled footballers who had suffered abuse as children as "wimps"

Eric Bristow

Image: Dave Thompson / PA Archive/PA Images

Former darts world champion Eric Bristow has apologised for tweets he sent which referred to former footballers who were abused as children as "wimps". 

In a series of offensive tweets, Bristow said: "Might be a looney but if some football coach was touching me when I was a kid as I got older I would have went back and sorted that poof out."

He went on to say: "Dart players tough guys footballers wimps".

The tweets refer to more than 20 former footballers coming forward to share their stories of being abused as young children, some by notorious paedophile Barry Bennell.

Andy Woodward's interview with Daniel Taylor of The Guardian was the first of a series of former professionals speaking out about abuse they have suffered and only now have they felt strong enough to tell their harrowing stories.

The 59-year-old faced backlash on Twitter over the tweets and appeared on ITV's Good Morning Britain this morning to apologise for what he had said.

"I apologise, it was a mis-wording," he said. "I want youngsters now to go out and complain straight away. There’s no point complaining 30 years later."

In a statement released on Twitter, he added: "On GMB [Good Morning Britain] I described myself as a bull in a China shop and that has always been the case. It makes me furious to think that an abuser can get away with it for so long and to so many when they should always be looking over their shoulder in fear, waiting to be confronted.

"I don't use PR people to run my social media account like some do, and now appreciate my wording was wrong and offended many people when all I was doing was venting my anger at the abusers and encouraging kids to act ASAP. 

"I know why I've been vilified but if one child comes forward quicker or one abuser thinks twice about the likelihood of being confronted, then it will have been worth it.

"Any monies offered or received for interviews with me will be donated in full to a relevant charity."

Also on this morning's show was Marilyn Hawes, a mother of three sexually abused children and founder of the Enough Abuse charity, who confronted him over the tweets.

"I find you the most deeply offensive man that’s breathed oxygen and quite frankly, if I had a set of darts, I would stick them where the sun don’t shine," she said.

"I sat with people last night that you have harmed immeasurably and if you think that what you have said is clever, let me take you through what a bully is. You are a bully."