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England star Steven Gerrard pleads not guilty to nightclub brawl charge
April 3:
Published on 4 Apr. 2009 12:44 AM IST
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England footballer Steven Gerrard denied any involvement in a nightclub fight. The Liverpool FC captain formally pleaded not guilty to affray when he appeared at Liverpool Crown Court. Gerrard, 28, was accused of being part of a group that injured Marcus McGee, 34, at the Lounge Inn, Southport, in the early hours of December 29 last year. Asked how he pleaded, the father of two, dressed smartly in a single-breasted dark blue suit, said in a loud voice: 'Not guilty.' He appeared alongside six other men who also denied affray, which stemmed from a melee after Gerrard celebrated Liverpool's 5-1 destruction of Newcastle United. Today, the Recorder of Liverpool Henry Globe QC adjourned the trial to July 20. Because of Gerrard's standing as Liverpool captain, there had been discussion in legal circles about whether the trial would be moved to another city. Gerrard, pictured arriving at court with his lawyer and a policeman, appeared alongside six other men who also denied affray But Judge Globe, saying careful consideration would be given to jury members' interests, kept the case in Liverpool. He checked with prosecuting barrister Brian Cummings QC and the rest of counsel today whether his own interest in football - and visits to Anfield - had any bearing on him presiding over the trial. He said: 'I want to make it quite plain, my own position; I want it to be clearly understood. 'I am not a season ticket-holder, nor regular attender at Anfield, but it would be right to say I have been a visitor at Anfield as a guest on occasions.'I have a general interest in football and watched many football matches, though not live, with many different clubs not just Liverpool.' The assembled barristers agreed that was fine. The seven defendants were given bail with conditions not to contact witnesses nor to enter the Lounge Inn unless with a legal representative. As Gerrard was at court, his manager Rafael Benitez announced he had agreed a two-year contract extension to 2013.He told the club's website: 'This is fantastic news for the club. 'Steven has once again shown his commitment and it was an easy deal to agree.

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