Early Doors

Moyes wine bar incident sparks newspaper frenzy of claims and counter-claims

Early Doors

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David Moyes

Twelve months ago David Moyes was walking on air: a decade of graft at Everton had earned him a job that any football manager in the world would kill for - namely, taking over as Manchester United boss.

But in his worst nightmares, he wouldn't have conceived of things going as badly as they have since.

As if abject failure in his first - and, as it turned out, only - season as United manager was not enough, things have taken a further turn for the worse after reports emerged on Thursday that Moyes was being investigated by police in connection with a bar brawl in Clitheroe.

Friday's newspapers have jumped all over the story:

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The most eye-catching coverage comes from The Sun, who have spoken to a man who claims he was attacked by the 51-year-old football boss:

"A builder last night claimed he was floored in a bloody bar brawl with sacked Manchester United boss David Moyes.

"Shocked Josh Gillibrand, 23, said Moyes grabbed him from behind and hit him.

"He said: 'It was a total surprise. He grabbed me round the neck and struck me in the back of the head.

"'I ended up face-down on the floor. I felt like I was going to die. There were tables flying everywhere and glass all over the place.'…

"Josh, who lives with his parents in Dutton, Lancs, had been enjoying a drink with pal Dan Houlker, 22, and two girls. He said he saw Moyes walk past and asked him: 'All right, what brings you to these parts?'

"Josh went on: 'The next thing he says is, ‘You f***ing what?’ I tried to shake his hand but I could see he was angry. He mumbled something else and me and my friend both looked round and said, ‘Excuse me’. I thought he’d gone in, so I sat back down and that’s when it happened.'"

The Daily Mirror has a completely different take on the same story, however. After repeating the allegations that Moyes "punched Joshua Gillibrand, 23, three times after being upset by taunts", they spoke to an unnamed friend of the Scot.

"A friend of Moyes said: 'David had a meal with two friends and afterwards, at about 9.30pm, they were both walking past a bar when two lads started giving David abuse about Manchester United.

"'David grabbed one of them by his lapels, but didn’t hit him.

"'A police car happened to be parked opposite, so they were on the scene very quickly and no one was arrested or cautioned.'"

The Mirror also reports quotes from the alleged victim's brother, Oliver, giving his version of events:

"Hours after the incident, Joshua’s brother Oliver, 24, who drove him to hospital , claimed: 'Joshua was in the bar catching up with a friend when they noticed David Moyes there.

“'He said, ‘Hello David, what are you doing round here?’ David took offence and told him to f*** off and hit him on the back of the head with a punch which took him to the floor.

“''The police were on the scene within a matter of minutes. There were lots of witnesses and CCTV from the bar.

“'The police interviewed Joshua at the scene, took a statement and left him to his own devices to make his way to hospital.

"'He is concussed, very sick and has some swelling to the back of the head. The Emporium is a very nice place – there’s never any trouble there.'"

The Daily Mail finds its own eye witness, who alleges that Gillibrand had a conversation with Moyes before things turned ugly:

"'Josh was giving him banter, I think it might have been a chant about him leaving Manchester United, nothing very offensive, and initially Moyes just walked past him into the bar.

"‘But moments later Moyes came back outside, squared up to Josh and just threw him across the table – we couldn’t believe what we’d seen...

"'Josh is a well-built lad but he’s not particularly mouthy, and he’s not really a football fan at all. I think he was too stunned at what had happened to react.'"

Lancashire police contradicted that in their own statement, however, claiming that Gillibrand did not need a trip to A&E:

"Police are investigating a report of an assault at the Emporium wine bar in Clitheroe.

“Officers attended the bar at about 10pm on Wednesday and it was reported that a 23-year-old local man had been assaulted by a 51-year-old man. He did not require hospital treatment.

"Inquiries are ongoing and we are speaking to a number of people to try to establish the circumstances.

"There are a number of differing accounts which we need to work through to try to establish exactly what has happened.

"No one has been arrested at this stage."

The venue in question, a bar called The Emporium, played down the incident in their statement:

"There was an incident outside the building.

"However, it did not affect any of our customers or staff and has been dealt with by the police ."

The Guardian describes the atmosphere inside The Emporium, and provides its own evidence from a different witness:

"'I was having a meal with one of my own friends. It was a really nice evening so we started off outside. We saw David Moyes arrive with his friends at around 8pm. He seemed really relaxed and casual. We thought nothing of it.

"'The three of them left at about 10pm and went across to the Emporium. My friend went outside to take a phone call, and it all happened then.'”

The Daily Star claims that the whole affair was sparked by jibes aimed at Moyes over "having never won anything", while the Irish Independent cites an eye witness claiming that the manager's failure at Manchester United was the catalyst:

"Peter Brass, 51, who was dining inside when he saw a commotion, added: 'I go to the Emporium every night for a meal after work and I was sat at my table. One of the waitresses had pointed out that David Moyes was inside when I arrived.

"'Suddenly I saw two uniformed police officers turn up and approach Mr Moyes’s table, where he was sat with a friend to the right of the front door. They then spoke to him at length.

"'The same waitress came over and told me that David Moyes had pushed somebody outside and the lad has overbalanced and glasses have been knocked onto the floor and smashed. She said the lad had been giving Mr Moyes some stick about Manchester United.'"

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