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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 December 2007, 15:35 GMT
Football chairman beaten as child
Bill Bratt
Mr Bratt said he has forgiven his father
Port Vale Football Club's chairman has revealed he was a victim of domestic violence as a child.

Bill Bratt said he was beaten by his father and spent much of his early life in children's homes in Stoke-on-Trent.

His father, who was not his biological parent, died of cancer in the late 1960s he told BBC Radio Stoke.

Mr Bratt said he was three months old when his father came home after three years as a Japanese prisoner of war and he was "absolutely terrified of him".

Everything that happens in your childhood has a bearing on how you live your life later
Bill Bratt

He said his father was captured by the Japanese in Burma and kept his mother's photograph with him all the time he was a prisoner of war.

Mr Bratt, 62, said: "I didn't understand this until probably I was round about 25 to 30 and so instead of taking it out on my mother, he took it out on me. "Now when you think about it I can understand it. At the time I couldn't and I was absolutely terrified of him."

Mr Bratt, who has been Port Vale's chairman since July 2003 and was an insurance broker for 30 years, said he could not excuse his father's behaviour but had forgiven him.

He added that when his father was in his 50s and dying "he held my hand and he just said sorry".

'Broken nose'

Mr Bratt said: "That's all it took and all my hate then evaporated because I could see that he'd gone through a hell of a lot in his life."

Mr Bratt added: "Everything that happens in your childhood has a bearing on how you live your life later one way or the other.

"I had a massive complex about being not as good as anybody else for many, many years and probably even now to be perfectly honest.

"You go to school with a broken nose or a cauliflower ear or black eye and you make excuses to the teachers."



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