Page last updated at 13:33 GMT, Tuesday, 21 July 2009 14:33 UK

Gerrard 'struck with boxer speed'

Steven Gerrard arriving at Liverpool Crown Court
Steven Gerrard had been celebrating a win over Newcastle United

Liverpool footballer Steven Gerrard "totally lost it" and hit a man "with the style and speed of a boxer" during a row over music, a court has heard.

Marcus McGee, 34, was assaulted by the England midfielder when he refused to hand over control of a CD player at the Lounge Inn, Southport, it was alleged.

Mr Gerrard, 29, took offence when his request was ignored by the businessman, Liverpool Crown Court was told.

The footballer, who denies affray, told police he hit out in self-defence.

The midfielder, from Formby, had been celebrating Liverpool's 5-1 Premier League win over Newcastle United at the Lounge Inn in the early hours of 29 December 2008.

Mr Gerrard was with friends when his party clashed with Mr McGee.

David Turner QC, prosecuting, told the court that Mr Gerrard asked Mr McGee for a card that controlled the CD player, saying: "Here y'are, lad. Give me that, lad."

Mr Turner said: "Mr McGee took offence at his attitude and the expression 'lad' and he refused.

Steven Gerrard joined in the attack with a succession of well aimed uppercut punches
David Turner QC

"Not many people on Merseyside, or indeed anywhere else, would refuse a request from Steven Gerrard but Mr McGee did.

"He (Mr Gerrard) walked away back to his party but the CCTV shows how much his mood had changed."

After about six minutes Mr Gerrard returned to the victim and confronted him, the court heard.

Mr McGee, who was in charge of music for the night, stood up to Mr Gerrard and the pair were head-to-head, the court was told.

One of Mr Gerrard's friends, John Doran, who has admitted affray, pushed Mr McGee away but "could not resist following through with his right elbow into Mr McGee's face," said Mr Turner.

"We say at this stage Gerrard totally lost it," he told the court.

'Lost self-control'

"Almost immediately after the blow from John Doran, in fact 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."

Mr Turner said there was "no doubt" Mr Gerrard struck Mr McGee and said the issue for the jury to decide was whether he was acting in self-defence.

He said: "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.

Lounge Inn, Southport
The violence erupted at a bar in Southport

"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."

The jury watched CCTV footage that showed Mr Gerrard and his friends dancing, singing and drinking in The Lounge Inn.

It showed the footballer talking to Mr McGee at the bar for 23 seconds, then Mr Doran elbowing him, and then Mr Gerrard apparently throwing punches.

During his police interview, Mr Gerrard admitted punching Mr McGee but said it was because he believed he was going to be attacked, the jury heard.

In conclusion, Mr Turner told the jury: "If you consider Steven Gerrard was or even may have been acting in self-defence you will acquit.

"But we say on this occasion Steven Gerrard's fists, not his feet, did the talking. This was never self-defence in a hundred years."

Mr Doran, 29, of Woodlands Road, Ian Gerrard Smith, 19, of Hilary Avenue and Paul McGrattan, 31, of Linden Drive, all Huyton, admit affray.

Accrington Stanley footballers Robert Grant, 19, of Enstone Avenue, Litherland, and Ian Dunbavin, 28, of Guildford Road, Southport, have also admitted affray.

John McGrattan, 34, of Rimmer Avenue, Huyton, has admitted threatening behaviour after denying affray.

The trial was adjourned and will resume on Wednesday.

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Gerrard affray trial is adjourned
20 Jul 09 |  Merseyside

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