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Liverpool football player Steven Gerrard on trial for affray

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-07-23

A businessman allegedly attacked by England and Liverpool star Steven Gerrard described Wednesday in court how he was subject to a "barrage of punches" during the bar brawl last year.

AFP - A man allegedly attacked by England and Liverpool star Steven Gerrard described Wednesday how he was subject to a "barrage of punches" during the bar brawl last year.

On the second full day of the Liverpool captain's trial on a charge of affray, Marcus McGee said Gerrard threw the first punch in a fight over control of what music was playing in the bar.

The 29-year-old England midfielder is accused of being part of a group that injured the 34-year-old businessman at the Lounge Inn nightclub in Southport near Liverpool, northwest England, in December last year.

Gerrard was celebrating Liverpool's 5-1 win at Newcastle United at the time. He denies the charge of affray. An initial charge of assault was dropped at a court hearing in March.

"I remember a barrage of punches coming in at my face," said McGee, adding that he didn't immediately know who hit him, but "having watched the CCTV it was obvious Steven Gerrard hits me a couple of times, maybe three times."

The row erupted after Gerrard asked McGee for a card controlling the CD player, saying: "Give me that, lad," the court heard.

McGee took offence at his attitude and the expression 'lad' and refused to hand it over. Gerrard was left fuming by the exchange, and six minutes later came back over to McGee and squared up to him.

One of Gerrard's friends, John Doran, initially struck McGee, but then the footballer lost his cool, and "joined in the attack with a succession of well aimed uppercut punches delivered with the style and speed of a professional boxer rather than a professional footballer", the court heard Tuesday.

Questioned by Gerrard's lawyer John Kelsey-Fry on Wednesday, McGee said he had not expected to have a fight with Gerrard.

"When I saw him walking over to me, because he's a famous person I didn't think I'm going to have a fight or trouble, so when I saw him walking over I didn't think there was going to be any trouble," he said.

But the way Gerrard asked for the music controller was aggressive, he said.

"His request, his attitude I would describe as bad, it was bad and it was rude, it was bad tempered, so straight away I was acting proportionate to how his attitude was," he said.

McGee, who was with his girlfriend, said he had been asked by the bar manager to be in charge of the music -- so he declined Gerrard's request.

"It wasn't my permission to be giving it out to somebody else, it was my job so I didn't hand it over," he said.

The businessman denied he had sought to make money from the incident: Kelsey-Fry asked McGee if he had got his solicitor to speak to the footballer's lawyers, "wondering if there was any way this could be sorted out amicably?"

"Definitely not, I never said those words," said McGee.

Gerrard is facing trial alone, after five co-defendants admitted affray, and one admitted a lesser charge of threatening behaviour.

The other five were Accrington Stanley players Robert Grant, 19, and Ian Dunbavin, 28, as well as Ian Gerrard Smith, 19, Paul McGrattan, 31 and John McGrattan.

Date created : 2009-07-23

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