The Steven Gerrard case
Liverpool’s captain fantastic, Steven Gerrard, appeared in court again today, facing the looming charge of affray. Yesterday, CCTV footage was produced of the England vice captain as he is shown to be embroiled in the centre of a row over music.
The incident occurred on the 29th December 2008. Gerrard had gone out to celebrate a thumping Liverpool victory earlier that day away to Newcastle with the 28-year-old scoring twice in a 5-1 victory.
The victory had propelled Liverpool to the top of the Premiership and understandably left Gerrard in a jubilant mood. The millionaire footballer and a group of friends headed to the Lounge Inn in Stockport in the early hours of the morning.
Singing and dancing the group was in high spirits and the group was soon joined by Liverpool legend, Kenny Daglish. However the atmosphere of the night soon changed as an argument of the selection of music in the bar ensued.
Plaintiff, Marcus McGhee was with a different group that night and had been given control of the music selection that night for a party being held in the bar.
David Turner, QC, prosecuting told the court that Gerrard approached McGhee looking to change the music, using the expression: “Here you are lad, give me that, lad”.
McGhee took exception to the attitude of the Liverpool captain and refused to hand over control of the CD player. According to the prosecution this infuriated Gerrard who skulked off back to his mates.
Mr Turner said: “Not many people on Merseyside, or indeed anywhere else would refuse a request from Steven Gerrard, but Mr McGee did,” said Turner. “There can be no doubt that this refusal astounded Steven Gerrard. He walked away back to his party, but the CCTV evidence shows how much his mood had changed. He was no longer the centre of that high-spirited party.”
Six minutes later, it is alleged Gerrard angrily approached McGhee using the term of phrase, “Who the f*** do you think you are?”. Subsequently the two men stood head to head in a confrontation more akin to a football pitch according to Turner.
Turner then informed the court, that a friend of Gerrard, John Doran came over and intervened. It is clearly seen in the CCTV footage that Doran lands an elbow to McGhee’s face, with Gerrard alleged to have joined the brawl within seconds.
The jury was told that Gerrard “totally lost it” and joined in “with a succession of well-aimed uppercut punches delivered with the style and speed of a professional boxer, rather than a professional footballer”.
Another mate of the Liverpool ace, Ian Smith, joined in the brawl. Smith and Doran landed kicks to the defenceless McGhee. McGhee was left requiring four stitches for a head wood, a lost tooth and a black eye.
Turner was quick to add that he did not believe Gerrard to normally be an arrogant man, but on the occasion in question, he just lost control and joined in on an attack that should never have happened. “He let himself down”.
In a statement given to Police at the time, Gerrard concurred that there had been a disagreement concerning the music. Gerrard claimed that it was Mr McGhee who had acted aggressively and he had acted in self defence.
“He said he had no intention of having a fight, but when Mr McGee stood up and they started arguing he believed Mr McGee was about to hit him, so he punched him on the side of the head”.
Gerrard appeared in court today on day three as the case rumbled on. Mr McGhee took to the stand, reaffirming the words of his lawyer, Mr Turner. He told the court how Gerrard had spoken in a patronising manner to him and reacted angrily when refused control of the music.
When cross examined by the defence, McGhee denied bringing the case to court on the sole motivation of money. He also rejected claims he had acted aggressively, citing that he received several blows from his assailants.
Whatever the outcome, the case will be subject to much media coverage, as he is one of the best known football players in not just United Kingdom but in the world too.
The case continues.