Weather watcher ‘Windy’ Wil­son cleared of as­sault

Trainer cleared of threat­en­ing boy says old of­fences should not mat­ter

The Sunday Post (Inverness) - - News - By Rus­sell Black­stock RBLACKSTOCK@SUN­DAY­POST.COM

Ay­outh football coach has been sus­pended after be­ing ac­cused of as­sault­ing a young player.

Robert Wil­son, who once served four years in prison for a vi­o­lent at­tack, was cleared in court of grab­bing and threat­en­ing the young­ster but has now been sus­pended as the youth game’s gover ning body in­ves­ti­gates.

The busi­ness­man – who runs a pop­u­lar weather blog as “Windy” Wil­son – vowed to clear his name yes­ter­day but chil­dren’s char­i­ties called for a change in the cul­ture to give young play­ers max­i­mum pro­tec­tion.

Wil­son, of Auchter­arder, was given the green light to con­tinue coach­ing by the Scot­tish Youth Football As­so­ci­a­tion in De­cem­ber when they dis­cussed his pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions.

But, around the same time, he was ac­cused of shout­ing at a 12-year-old player while drag­ging him by the scruff of the neck.

He was sus­pended by the SYFA last week de­spite be­ing cleared of the of­fence in court.

After his trial at Perth Sher­iff Court, Wil­son, 50, ar­gued his con­vic­tions should not bar him from coach­ing. He said: “You’d actually be sur­prised at the number of coaches with pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions. It doesn’t make them bad peo­ple.”

Wil­son, who was jailed at the High Court in 1991 for as­sault and has a number of other con­vic­tions for vi­o­lence, said he ad­mit­ted his crim­i­nal record when he at­tended a hear­ing at the SYFA at Ham­p­den.

His trial heard how he al­legedly hurled abuse at a 12- year- old and grabbed him by the scruff of the neck in front of a youth team.

Wil­son de­nied as­sault­ing the child in De­cem­ber last year. He was cleared of at­tack­ing the boy, seiz­ing hold of him by the cloth­ing, pulling him and push­ing him on the body.

Wil­son, who runs play­ground equip­ment com­pany Tay­play, has built up a cult fol­low­ing as a weather ex­pert, boast­ing 140,000 Face­book fans and 27,000 Twit­ter fol­low­ers.

He in­sisted he would fight to be re­in­stated as a coach. “I am bit­terly dis­ap­pointed I have been sus­pended,” he said.

“The kids are also dev­as­tated. It is 26 years since I had the big conviction. I made mis­takes when I was younger which I deeply re­gret and I have been fully open with ev­ery­one about my past.”

The SYFA last night de­clined to com­ment on Wil­son pre­vi­ously be­ing al­lowed to coach but said he would not be per­mit­ted to do so un­til the cur­rent in­ves­ti­ga­tion was com­pleted.

The youth football club where Wil­son coaches are back­ing his bid to be re­in­stated. They said: “His con­vic­tions hap­pened a long time ago and we are per­fectly happy to have him con­tinue here.”

Wil­son said he was orig­i­nally given the green light to coach four years ago after pass­ing a Pro­tect­ing Vu ln e ra bl e Gr o u p s check by Dis­clo­sure Scot­land.

But chil­dren’s char­i­ties are call­ing for more strin­gent reg­u­la­tions to be in­tro­duced.

A spokesman for the NSPCC said: “We want the in­tro­duc­tion of en­hanced back­ground checks with a greater fo­cus on the be­hav­iour and suit­abil­ity of adults seek­ing to work with young peo­ple.”

And Linda Jar­dine, act­ing di­rec­tor of Chil­dren 1st, said sports or­gan­i­sa­tions must send “a clear mes­sage that there is no place for vi­o­lence in football.”

Robert Wil­son has vowed to clear his name, claim­ing the young foot­ballers he coaches, left, are dev­as­tated he has been sus­pended

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