A Doncaster Rovers player told a jury Sheffield Wednesday striker Gary Madine threw a punch at another man in a club only after he had a drink thrown at him.
Kyle Bennett said the drink went directly into Madine’s face when they were out in the Paris bar in Sheffield on February 5 last year.
“He didn’t know what was in the glass, and that’s when Gary stepped forward and punched him,” he told Leeds Crown Court yesterday.
He denied under cross-examination by Ian West prosecuting that he was lying to help his friend, with whom he shared a house as a lodger.
Madine, aged 23, denies inflicting grievous bodily harm to Daniel Beresford on February 5 and an alternative charge of assaulting him causing actual bodily harm.
He also pleads not guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent, and not guilty to the alternative of inflicting grievous bodily harm to another man, Reece Hall, on March 11 in the Viper Rooms, Sheffield.
Both men were knocked out, Mr Beresford suffering a broken nose and Mr Hall a fractured cheekbone.
The Rovers winger told the jury he was on a night out with Madine and two of Madine’s friends from Newcastle when the incident happened in the Paris bar.
He told Alison Dorrell, defending Madine, that the public often recognised players when they went out and would pass comments about how they were playing.
“I’ve been a professional five or six years and it happens quite a lot, it is just banter.”
Mr Bennett, also 23, said he was chatting to the others when he noticed Madine becoming distracted and looked to see by what.
He said there was a man standing six feet away who asked in an aggressive tone what he was looking at.
He told the court Madine shrugged his shoulders as though not sure it was referring to him, and stepped aside.
The man’s friend stepped in and put his arms out as if to stop the encounter, but ‘then the guy stepped forward and threw a drink in Gary’s face’.
“I’m definitely not lying,” he said.
The trial continues.