Liverpool vow to stand by Gerrard

Premiership club offer support to captain charged over nightclub fracas
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The Independent Online

Liverpool Football Club threw the full weight of its lawyers and management behind Steven Gerrard yesterday, after the team captain was charged with assault and affray in connection with a bar brawl that left a DJ in hospital.

Gerrard, 28, was released in the early hours of yesterday morning after almost 24 hours in custody.

He was charged under Section 47 of the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861, an assault charge that can carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Two other men, John Doran, 29, and Ian Smith, 19, both of Huyton, where the player grew up, were also charged with assault. All three will appear at North Sefton magistrates' court on 23 January.

Shortly after the footballer left Southport police station, his club released a statement saying Gerrard had "all the support he needs" in the wake of the charges. Liverpool FC commented: "Steven has been an outstanding servant to Liverpool for the past 10 years and the club will give him all the support he needs at this time."

Gerrard declined to speak to waiting media as he left the police station yesterday and also remained silent when he and his wife, Alex Curran, left their home in Formby, Merseyside, in a black Range Rover later in the day.

His arrest after a fracas in a Merseyside bar in the early hours of Monday morning came as a shock to many fans because the player, capped 70 times by his country, has a reputation for shunning the hedonistic excesses for which many top footballers are renowned.

Police were called to Southport's Lounge Inn when a fight broke out which resulted in 34-year-old Marcus McGee being taken to hospital with facial injuries. He allegedly lost a tooth, required stitches to a face wound and suffered a swollen eye. Mr McGee, a businessman who regularly frequents the Lounge Inn, has permission to choose the music at the club and it is believed a dispute over a song triggered the brawl.

Gerrard and five of his friends were celebrating at the venue after Liverpool's 5-1 victory against Newcastle United at St James's Park on Sunday. Three other men who were arrested following the fight were later released without charge. The Lounge Inn, which turns into a nightclub late in the evening, is run by Dario Curcillo and Mack Naidoo and is a popular haunt for local celebrities and footballers. In 1991, it was the setting for an attempted murder by a Liverpool underworld hitman.

The Football Association yesterday said it would not be making any comment on the case other than to stress that Gerrard's position with England was not under question.

*A Championship footballer has been arrested in connection with a Christmas Day motorway crash which killed the former coach of the Somali basketball team. Jordan Robertson, 20, a Sheffield United striker on loan to Southampton, was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving after a crash on the M1 near Lutterworth killed Omar Mohamed. Mr Robertson was granted bail.