Steven Gerrard admits punching club DJ in 'self-defence' - video
Published 00:00 23/07/09 By By Paul Byrne
Steven Gerrard admitted he "threw a punch or three" at a clubber in an angry bust-up over music, a court heard yesterday.
But the Liverpool and England star told police he acted in self-defence because he thought "arrogant" Marcus McGee was about to attack him.
Gerrard said the confrontation came when Mr McGee, who was in control of the bar's sound system, refused to let him change the music.
Gerrard, 29, said: "He stood up quite aggressively out of his stool and I thought to myself, 'I am not going to be able to sort this out in the way I wanted'.
"I thought he was going to give me a smack. His facial expression was quite aggressive, so I threw a punch, maybe three. He threw some back - one on the side of my head.
"I am right-handed, but I threw with my left. He sort of ran at me throwing digs back."
CCTV of the incident:
In a police statement read to the jury at Liverpool crown court, Gerrard admitted he'd had a few drinks after scoring two goals in Liverpool's 5-1 away victory over Newcastle United.
Earlier he had been singing "The Fields of Anfield Road" as he partied with pals at the Lounge Inn in Southport, Merseyside, on December 29.
Arresting officer Det Const Peter Tynan asked Gerrard: "On a scale of 1 to 10 - 10 being legless and one being sober as a judge - how drunk were you?"
Gerrard replied: "I was a six/seven. I'd been drinking Budweiser bottles and one shot called a Jammy Donut."
He went on: "The majority of the lads are good lads. My close mates are
protective and they don't like the mither [trouble] that arises. I'm bright enough not to get any mither and this is the first bit of mither I've got since I've been going out."
He added: "It was getting on to about half past 12 and we were all having a laugh. But I wanted an input with the music as it wasn't my cup of tea.
"I feel I know the staff well enough to have an input in the music."
The Liverpool skipper said he had a heated exchange with Mr McGee about a "menu" of CDs. He told police: "He is standing right next to me and he grabs my menu off me.
He grabbed it quite aggressively - almost snatching really.
"So I said to him. 'What's your problem?' and he said, 'You are not allowed to do it'. I said, 'I've had permission'.
"I couldn't tell if he was drunk. So I turned to a member of the bar staff and said, 'Did you see that?'
"He told me to forget about it. I spoke to my mates and told them someone wouldn't let me have my music on.
"I told them, 'Some p***k has just upset me for nothing'.
"I pointed him out and they said, 'Oh, just forget it'. But I wanted to know what his problem was. I walked over to him and asked 'What right have you got to tell me I can't have my music on?' It changed my mood. My mate followed me but I didn't know.
"I wanted to sort this problem out. Ideally, I wanted to straighten it out. I didn't want it to spoil the night.
"I just basically asked him, 'Have you got a problem?' We were at arm's length. He stood up out of his stool aggressively. I thought he was going to give me a smack. John Doran [one of Gerrard's friends] tried to split it up.
"But this time Lee, who is a member of the bar staff, pulled me away.
"I thought I was going to be hit, so I hit him. I didn't go over with the intentions of starting a fight. As soon as I spoke to him it became confrontational. He was off his stool quick - in my face. I didn't want to turn my back in case he gave me a belt. He probably thought I was steaming in."
Gerrard told officers he was filled with remorse over the incident. He said: "I was gutted it had happened. I wanted to round my mates up and get off. I hadn't gone over to start a fight. The last thing I want is problems, or people getting hurt."
Earlier businessman Mr McGee, 34, told the jury how he lost a front tooth after being hit with a flurry of blows. But he admitted his recollection of the incident was unclear.
He said: "I remember a barrage of punches coming in at my face but I didn't know who has done what.
"Having watched the CCTV it was obvious Steven Gerrard hits me a couple of times, maybe three times, but I couldn't honestly say on the night.
"I didn't know who did what."
Mr McGee said the row started when Gerrard tried to grab the card that controlled the music system. He was also offended at being addressed as "lad".
He said: "Mr Gerrard said something to the effect of, 'Here you are, lad, give me that'. He made a move to try to grab the card and I remember it slipped on the floor at one stage.
"He then walked away, that was the end of it." Gerrard later returned to Mr McGee, who was sitting alone at the bar.
Mr McGee said he stood up because Gerrard had earlier asked, "Who the f*** do you think you are?" He said: "When someone says something like that to you, well, I felt threatened and vulnerable sitting down and looking up so my instinct was to stand up and talk to him."
Asked if he could remember what was said, he added: "Not really. I was
just asking him what he was talking about. I gave my statement in the 100 per cent firm belief it was Steven Gerrard who hit me first.
"I was concentrating primarily on Steven because he was so close to me.
"The next thing I knew there was a bloke at the side of me. I gave that statement in good faith but changed it after watching the CCTV."
Cross-examined by Gerrard's barrister John Kelsey-Fry, Mr McGee denied he ever had any intention of benefiting
financially from the case. He admitted a solicitor initially acting for him had advised him to start a civil claim against Gerrard, but said he had dispensed with the lawyer's services.
Mr Kelsey-Fry asked: "On your behalf, did your solicitor speak to Mr Gerrard's, saying that, as far as you were concerned, this had all been a terrible misunderstanding - and you were wondering if there was any way this could be sorted out amicably?"
Mr McGee replied: "Definitely not. I never said those words."
The case was adjourned until today, when Gerrard, who denies affray, is due to give evidence.