4 September 2006
ALAN Brazil tells how abuse at the hands of Jim Torbett destroyed his hopes of playing for his boyhood heroes and how he helped jail his attacker 30 years later
4 Jun 2007 by Alan Brazil (Author), Mike Parry (Author)
I WAS leaving York races when I spotted him. His big white pasty face was burnt on my soul. I have only hated one person in my life, and it is him.
This was an opportunity I was not going to miss.
I pushed through the crowd of race-goers making their way to the exit-gates shouting: "B*****d, you b*****d, I'm going to have you." I was unintentionally baring my teeth.
My mates tried to hold me back. "Let go," I screamed, shaking them off.
My quarry spotted me and was away. But he was a bloated, overweight creature and I was a former professional footballer. I'd get him.
I pushed through with an urgency that should have come from a man who was fleeing, not one in pursuit.
But there were too many people and my quarry was soon putting distance between us.
I concentrated on what I could see of his white mac. He had always worn a white mac.
After a few minutes, I realised he was gone. I was panting with the physical effort and the emotional turmoil into which I had been thrust.
What was he doing here? Surely he wasn't mad enough to be stalking me?
He knew I had vowed to kill him. And I swear I still would to this day.
The loathsome individual who had triggered my explosive behaviour was a man called James Torbett.
I cast my mind back 30 years to the incident that blotted my life.
When I was 13, Torbett sexually assaulted me.
It scarred me for decades and may have prevented me from playing for the team I loved, Celtic.
As a kid, my parents had trusted this man to look after me.
He was the boss of Celtic Boys' Club - a highly respected figure at Celtic Park, a millionaire businessman in the Scottish community, a so-called pillar of the establishment.
That is probably why Torbett got away with his despicable acts for so long.
Many years later, I nailed him in a courtroom when his misdeeds came to light.
That was some form of retribution but I knew I could never expunge my hatred for him until the day he was no longer walking the Earth.
While he is alive, the shadow that has blighted my life will still be there.
When I passed the trials to be admitted to Celtic Boys' Club, it was a dream come true.
But, from the first moment I met Torbett, I knew there was something funny about him.
Torbett was the general manager of the club but he didn't look like he had a footballing past, and I often wondered why he was involved.
He tried to be this fatherly figure but I didn't like it.
I didn't like the fact he was always taking a gang of us off for hamburgers after training or after a game and he was always giving lifts to the lads.
He would often invite a group of us to his home too.
That was the thing I really didn't like. He would give us ice cream and biscuits. He even had boxes of toys, which I thought were meant for kids much younger than us.
On one particular occasion, we were all at his place because there was a big European youth tournament coming up and he said he wanted to talk to us about tactics.
The man who was supposed to be the head of Celtic Boys' Club would be putting his hands all over the lads.
|He would be kissing them and giving them little pecks.|
Not for the first time, I wondered what was going on.
What went through my mind was that the lads he was paying all the attention to must have been related to him.
He must be their uncle or something.
Why else would he be doing that?
HE found me sitting on the sofa on my own in the lounge. I was bored and wanted to go home when Torbett sat down next to me.
He sat down on the sofa close to me, much closer than I was comfortable with.