Six men involved in Southport bar brawl with Liverpool FC captain Steven Gerrard walk free

SIX men involved in a bar room brawl with England footballer Steven Gerrard walked free from court today after being given suspended prison sentences.

Five of the men admitted affray and one admitted threatening behaviour in a fight with businessman Marcus McGee, 34, at the Lounge Inn in Southport last year.

Today, at Liverpool Crown Court, Recorder of Liverpool Henry Globe QC handed down sentences of 18 weeks imprisonment but suspended them for 12 months.

The defendants were also ordered to perform 150 hours of unpaid work.

The fight broke out in the early hours of December 29 as the Liverpool captain and his friends were celebrating the club's 5-1 win over Newcastle Utd.

The six initially denied the offence but changed their pleas on the first day of trial in which Gerrard, 29, was acquitted.

Mr McGee, who lost a front crown and suffered facial cuts in the fight, "unwisely" refused to let Gerrard pick a song on the stereo he was controlling, said the judge.

"Equally unwisely", Gerrard returned to argue with Mr McGee.

It was at this point that the player’s friend, John Doran, 30, of Woodlands Road, Huyton, appeared behind Gerrard and elbowed Mr McGee in the face.

A skirmish followed, with the midfielder punching Mr McGee three times in self-defence.

He left the fight spot and returned to his friends, who later punched and kicked Mr McGee, of Southport, on the dance floor.

Judge Globe told the men: "I am satisfied, from the evidence in the trial and movements of arms and legs on cctv, that more violence occurred off camera.

"It is the conduct of you taken together and the consequences which have followed the fighting which are important.

"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."