Page last updated at 11:54 GMT, Friday, 7 August 2009 12:54 UK

Six sentenced over Gerrard brawl

Lounge Inn, Southport
The row started over music being played in the bar

Six friends of footballer Steven Gerrard have been given suspended prison sentences for a nightclub brawl.

The Liverpool captain was cleared of affray for his part in the fight at the Lounge Inn in Southport in December.

Five men who were with him that night, including two Accrington Stanley players, pleaded guilty to affray and a sixth admitted threatening behaviour.

At Liverpool Crown Court the six men were sentenced to 18 weeks in prison, suspended for a year.

They were also ordered to perform 150 hours of unpaid work.

Ian Smith, 19, of Hilary Avenue, John Doran, 29, of Woodlands Road, and Paul McGrattan, 31, of Linden Drive, all Huyton, and Accrington Stanley footballers Robert Grant, 19, of Enstone Avenue, Litherland, and Ian Dunbavin, 28, of Guildford Road, Southport, all admitted affray.

It was unnecessary, unruly, ugly and unlawful group violence
Judge Henry Globe QC

John McGrattan, 34, of Rimmer Avenue, Huyton, admitted threatening behaviour.

The fight broke out on 29 December when Mr Gerrard, 29, and his friends were celebrating the Liverpool's 5-1 win over of Newcastle Utd.

The row started when businessman Marcus McGee, 34, who was in charge of the music at the bar, refused to let Mr Gerrard pick a song.

Mr Gerrard returned to argue with Mr McGee when Doran elbowed Mr McGee in the face.

A skirmish followed, with Mr Gerrard punching Mr McGee before his friends punched and kicked him on the dancefloor.

Mr Gerrard was cleared of affray last month after arguing the attack was in self-defence.

'Unswerving loyalty'

Recorder of Liverpool Henry Globe QC said: "It was unnecessary, unruly, ugly and unlawful group violence in public which caused injury to the victim, was a disturbing and frightening experience for onlookers and caused embarrassment and unwanted attention to the occupiers of the premises."

Accrington Stanley footballer Grant admitted punching the victim in the head.

Steven Gerrard outside Liverpool Crown Court
Steven Gerrard said he hit Mr McGee in self-defence

His barrister Trevor Parry-Jones said he acted angrily, perceiving a threat to Mr Gerrard who is "as much his hero as his friend".

Smith kicked Mr McGee on the floor "in a momentary loss of temper".

Accrington Stanley goalkeeper Dunbavin threw two punches at the victim, for which he expressed "remorse and shame", said his barrister Keith Sutton.

McGrattan admitted affray on the grounds of pushing over a table and chair, throwing a punch and smashing a glass door.

His barrister Simon Killeen said McGrattan had a "unswerving loyalty" to Mr Gerrard, but that his behaviour was "wholly inappropriate."

McGrattan's brother John ran over to the dance floor and threw a number of punches.

He admitted threatening behaviour, but his involvement was the same as the others, said the judge.

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