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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 July 2006, 14:37 GMT 15:37 UK
Footballer admits to drink battle
Gary Charles
Mr Charles's career was ended by a knee injury
An ex-England footballer on trial for a drunken attack on a stranger has admitted being an alcoholic.

Gary Charles, 36, allegedly assaulted a woman while waiting for a taxi in Clay Cross, Derbyshire, in September 2005.

Derby Crown Court heard how he battled a drink problem after his career, which included spells at Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest, ended in 2002.

Mr Charles, of Stretton, Derbyshire, denies assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Violent flashback

Giving evidence, Mr Charles, who played twice for England, said: "I am an alcoholic. It took a long time to understand what an alcoholic was but with all the trouble I was getting into, it was totally out of character for me.

"I spoke to a few people, a doctor, and it started to sink in that I did have a problem with alcohol.

He added: "For seven months I was not drinking. I was coming to terms with it.

"I have tried so hard and I was disappointed with myself. I was gutted because I have really sorted my life out."

The prosecution alleges that Mr Charles punched Elizabeth Wedge, 43, after she joked he had not been good enough to play for Manchester United.

He said he could not remember what happened, the court heard, because he was too drunk to remember a thing.

Mr Charles told the jury: "All I remember was a flashback. I remember being hit at some stage, but that's about it."

The trial continues.


SEE ALSO
Footballer 'hit out after jibe'
03 Jul 06 |  Derbyshire

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