A statement the Liverpool footballer Steven Gerrard gave to police after being arrested for his part in a bar brawl reveals that he admitted punching a man who refused to give him control of the pub's CD player.
The witness statement, which was read out at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday, showed that Mr Gerrard told police he threw three punches at Marcus McGee but only connected once. The England international told officers he was acting in self-defence, believing that he would be hit if he didn't punch Mr McGee first.
Mr McGee, 34, was injured in the Lounge Inn, Southport, on 29 December last year after a row over music.
Mr Gerrard, who was in the bar celebrating his team's 5-1 win over Newcastle United, told the officers he had spent the night drinking bottles of Budweiser and a "Jammy Donut" shot. He said that on a drunkenness scale of one to 10 he was a seven.
He said that he was reading a "music menu" when Mr McGee "grabbed my menu off me and said 'You are not fucking deciding what music goes on in here'."
Mr Gerrard continued: "When he grabbed it I said 'What's your problem, why can't I change it?' He basically said to me 'I am not putting your music on.' It was quite aggressive, and I said 'What's the fucking problem, why can't I put my music on? He said 'Because you fucking can't, you're not allowed.' "
Mr Gerrard, 29, said he was upset and "gutted" that Mr McGee would not let him choose the music. He told police that Mr McGee then stared at him through a gap in a partition wall.
The Liverpool captain said he wanted to sort the problem out so went back to speak to Mr McGee: "I didn't go over there intentionally to have another argument or start fighting. I was having a good night but I was gutted and just wanted to straighten it out with him."
Mr Gerrard said he then thought Mr McGee was going to attack him, adding: "He stood up quite aggressively out of his stool and I thought to myself, 'I am not going to be able to sort this out in the way I wanted.' I thought he was going to give me a smack. He was shouting back and I didn't know what he was saying but he started arguing and I thought he was going to hit me so that's why I threw a punch."
CCTV apparently shows that Mr Gerrard's friend John Doran struck the first blow, elbowing Mr McGee in the face, and a brawl ensued. Mr McGee lost a front tooth crown. Mr McGee said Mr Gerrard was "rude", "bad-tempered" and "aggressive", and attacked without provocation.
Giving evidence, Mr McGee, 34, told how he saw the midfielder approach him, but he did not expect any trouble because of Mr Gerrard's fame. Mr McGee also denied claims from the midfielder's barrister that he had planned to benefit financially from the incident by suing Mr Gerrard.
Mr Gerrard, who is standing trial alone after six of his friends admitted the charges against them, will go into the witness box tomorrow morning. He denies affray. The trial continues.