GERRARD EXCLUSIVE: The trial changed me. It was frightening

28 September 2009 10:09
As Steven Gerrard surveyed his surroundings in courtroom 4:1 he was sure of only one thing. Whatever happened, he would not come back here again.

No more mither, as he described it in Liverpool Crown Court, no more situations; change was the only answer.

Gerrard has never talked about the emotions surrounding the confrontation in a Southport bar that instigated a charge of affray and began an eight-month ordeal but, despite the exoneration of a not guilty verdict, it is clear the episode has left a mark on him.

The judge, Henry Globe, said that the accused could walk away with his reputation intact, and plainly this mattered greatly.

'I'm the sort of player who likes to keep it clean,' Gerrard told me, in a tiny ante-room at Liverpool's Melwood training ground.

'I was always very decided about the way footballers should behave. I do think it is important. It is not about image, or putting on an act, but I know a lot of kids look up to me, I get a lot of fan mail from them and at the time I thought I'd let them and a lot of other people down, just by being in this position.

'I was concerned that people wouldn't think as much of me and that was why the verdict was so crucial. During the trial when the prosecution was having its say there were a couple of days when I was reading the reports and thinking 'I hope people don't think that is what I am like.'

Leading the way: Gerrard in training at Melwood with Dirk Kuyt (left) and Glen Johnson (right) on the eve of Liverpool's match against Hull City

The continued threat of civil action means Gerrard cannot talk about the incident itself, or the accusations made by Marcus McGee, a 34-year-old businessman. He admits that his policy throughout has been to immerse his mind in football, but that has not precluded thoughts on how to ensure this remains an isolated chapter in his life.

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Source: Daily_Mail