Gerrard accused of hitting man 'like a boxer'
LIVERPOOL: Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard lashed out at a man "with the style and speed of a professional boxer" after losing his cool in a bar brawl, a court heard Tuesday.
The 29-year-old England midfielder is accused of being part of a group that injured businessman Marcus McGee, 34, 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.
The row erupted after Gerrard asked McGee for a card controlling the CD player, saying: "Give me that, lad," the court heard.
"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," said prosecutor David Turner.
Gerrard was left fuming by the exchange, and six minutes later came back over to Mr. McGee, squaring up to him "in the sort of hostile confrontation that is often seen between professional footballers," and asked him: "Who the fuck do you think you are?"
"Steven Gerrard had clearly lost his cool: he was angry with Marcus McGee," said Turner.
Gerrard's friends came over to help, and one of them, John Doran, pushed McGee away and "could not resist following through with his right elbow into Mr McGee's face", said Turner.
"We say at this stage Gerrard totally lost it.
"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."
Turner said the key question was whether Gerrard was acting in self-defence.
"Steven Gerrard is a world class footballer. He has the honour to be captain of Liverpool FC and to play for England. He is a star. He is Liverpool born and bred and here on Merseyside is a hero," he said.
"We do not say that Mr. Gerrard is normally an arrogant man, we don't say that he is a bully.
"What we do say is that that night he just lost his self control and joined in an attack which should never have taken place. He let himself down."
Gerrard is facing trial alone, after five co-defendants admitted affray, and one admitted a lesser charge of threatening behaviour.