Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has been cleared of affray charges stemming from an infamous dust-up over a DJ’s choice of records, causing the Guardian’s Barney Ronay to observer, “The nuts and bolts of life as a Premier League footballer have long been an object of popular fascination: the high-spec girlfriends, the trophy cars, the house with its two-tonne stone bath and plasma-screened broom cupboards.” In the aftermath of the hearings, however, “one of our most distant Premier League millionaires has been made to look, if not exactly very nice, then at least recognisably everyday.”
For a start The Lounge Inn, scene of Gerrard’s misadventures, sounds reassuringly terrible. Is it a lounge? Or an inn? One Southport website describes it as a hangout for “wannabe gangsters and Sunday-football hardmen” and photographs show a gloomy joint with beech-veneer cladding and UPVC double glazing. Gerrard entered the Lounge last December in search of some fairly standard all-male group revelry, which he found in the company of two Accrington Stanley footballers (one 18 years old), four other youngish men and “ oddly, but entirely innocent in all this “ the 58-year-old former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish.
CCTV footage shows the group drinking bottles of beer on the dancefloor, singing football songs and downing those Jammy Donut shots, a grisly thing made with Baileys, raspberry liqueur and sugar syrup. Gerrard’s actions at this time have been described as “waving his arms in the air”, rather than the more charitable “dancing”, and throughout he remains crammed into a skin-tight powder-blue V-neck, despite the fact that it’s the wee hours and he’s in a crowded basement.
So far, so normal. In fact, even the climactic dust-up with the bar’s temporary DJ has an appealing mundanity. In Gerrard’s evidence, the exchange runs like a whiny late-night teenage altercation: “He basically said to me ‘I am not putting your music on’. It was quite aggressive, and I said ‘What’s the fucking problem, why can’t I put my music on?’” The identity of the exact song Gerrard was so infuriatingly refused has already been widely debated. Here’s what we know: his favourite artist is Phil Collins. He also likes “dance music”. The person he’d most like to meet is Britney Spears. The fact remains, we may never know the exact truth.