FORMER youth football coach Bob Higgins threatened a teenage player with his ‘gangster brother’ who could ‘make people go missing’ after the youngster challenged him over an alleged sexual assault, a court heard today.

The former youngster was 17 when Higgins allegedly gave him a ‘soap water massage’ during which the coach is accused on sexually assaulting him.

Winchester Crown Court was told that player challenged him before rushing back to his home.

The court also heard that Higgins bragged and name-dropped former Saints stars including Matt Le Tissier and Alan Shearer as players who had benefited from his “massages”.

It is alleged Higgins, who joined Peterborough United as a coach in 1994, took revenge on the youngster, ‘belittling’ him in front of team mates and forcing him to run 14 miles each day to get to and from training.

When the former footballer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was released by Peterborough in 1997, Higgins is then accused of persuading other clubs not to sign the youngster.

Higgins, 65, is accused of grooming and sexually abusing 24 boys over a 25 year period from 1971 to 1996.

The trial has now moved from Salisbury Crown Court to Winchester Crown Court.

Prosecutors told jurors Higgins was a ‘predatory paedophile’ who used his ‘supreme power’ to abuse young players, developing ‘favourites’ while also carrying out ‘opportunistic’ assaults.

Giving evidence today, the former footballer said Higgins had ‘dropped names’ such as Alan Shearer and Matt Le Tissier when explaining he was going to perform a ‘soap water massage’.

The one-time promising footballer, referred to in court as Complainant W, said: “There was nobody around; when I came out the dressing room, Bob was standing at the end of the corridor.

“He said get changed into just a towel. He said he was going to do a soap water massage.

“Bob said he had done [soap water massages] previously to Alan Shearer and Matt Le Tissier and they benefited from them. He dropped names.”

Fighting back tears, the promising footballer continued: “I had nothing on under the towel.

“I said to him ‘what are you doing? It’s not right’. I just wanted to get out of there as fast as I could.

“He stormed round the desk and shut the door and said to me ‘you know what happened was an accident. If you tell anyone, you know what will happen, I will have to make a phone call to my brother’.

“Bob had told me on numerous occasions that he had a brother who was a gangster and that any issues he had had, his brother had sorted and he had the ability to hurt people and make people go missing.”

Higgins, of Southampton, denies 50 counts of indecent assault on boys. The trial continues.