Gerrard 'struck with speed of boxer'

CCTV footage shows Liverpool footballer punching businessman after celebrations in bar, court is told
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The Independent Online

He may have beguiled defences from Madrid to his native Merseyside with his silky ball skills but his late-night moves on the dance floor at a local watering hole revealed another all together more flat-footed side to Steven Gerrard yesterday.

CCTV footage released at his trial for affray showed the Liverpool captain shuffling uncertainly at the centre of a fist-pumping gaggle of revellers before launching an alleged attack on a local businessman over who should have control of the choice of music. Wearing a tightly-fitting blue jumper, Mr Gerrard is seen enthusiastically celebrating a 5-1 victory in which he scored two goals helping secure the Premier League top spot for his team last December. But just moments later the England player is accused of lashing out, "with the style and speed of a professional boxer".

The security pictures showed the violent exchanges unfolding in the early hours of the morning at the Lounge Inn in Southport, Merseyside, in which it is alleged Marcus McGee was on the receiving end of a flurry of uppercuts from the Anfield star. The jury at Liverpool Crown Court, who had filled out a questionnaire agreeing to put aside football loyalties, heard how the dispute flared following the win over Newcastle United. David Turner QC, for the prosecution, claimed Mr Gerrard, 29, had taken offence at Mr McGee's failure to respond to his request to hand over a card controlling music for the bar's CD player.

The footballer had indicated he wanted the device, saying: "Here y'are lad. Give me that lad," it was claimed. Describing the millionaire father-of-two's reputation, Mr Turner QC described the Liverpool captain as a "hero". He said: "Wherever you go in Liverpool and indeed in the world there are little boys proudly wearing a Liverpool shirt with No 8 and the name Gerrard on the back of it."

But he said: "Mr McGee took offence at his attitude and the expression 'lad' and he refused. Not many people on Merseyside, or indeed anywhere else, would refuse a request from Steven Gerrard but Mr McGee did. There can be no doubt that this refusal astounded Steven Gerrard."

The prosecution claimed that the security cameras in the bar showed dramatic evidence of the millionaire star's mood changing. Earlier in the evening he had been celebrating with the former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, while shortly before the alleged attack he had been and singing and dancing with friends at the popular nightspot

"He was no longer the centre of that high-spirited party. He was clearly walking around pondering, musing over what had happened – about the man who said 'no' to Steven Gerrard," said Mr Turner.

CCTV images showed Gerrard returning to Mr McGee who was sitting alone at the bar and allegedly confronting him with the words: "Who the fuck do you think you are?"

CCTV footage of the attack





Mr McGee stood up and the pair were head to head, Mr Turner said, "in the sort of hostile confrontation that is often seen between professional footballers". One of Mr Gerrard's group, John Doran, who has admitted affray, pushed Mr McGee away but, "could not resist following through with his right elbow into Mr McGee's face," the court heard.

Mr Turner said: "We say at this stage Gerrard totally lost it.

"Almost immediately after the blow from John Doran, in fact within seconds, Steven Gerrard 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."

In a police interview Mr Gerrard admitted punching Mr McGee but said he believed he was going to be attacked. However, Mr Turner said: "If you consider Steven Gerrard was or even may have been acting in self defence you will acquit. But we say on this occasion Steven Gerrard's fists, not his feet, did the talking.

"This was never self-defence in a hundred years."

Five other men involved in the incident, including Doran, have already admitted affray.

The case continues.