Byline: ROBERT MENDICK
THE full details emerged today of the Manchester United Christmas partywhere a woman was allegedly raped.
Players were said to be out of control after 13 hours of drinking and gamblingat a top hotel where 100 specially invited women attended a private function.
Stars were said to be stunned today over the arrest last night of a 19-year-oldfringe player who can be held in custody for 36 hours after presenting himselfto police. A 26-year-old woman claimed she had been raped in the early hours ofyesterday.
Women at the party, to which players' wives and girlfriends were not invited,complained of being treated like "pieces of meat in a cattle marketatmosphere". Rio Ferdinand is alleged to have boasted of raising [pounds sterling]4,000 eachfrom 25 of the most senior players to pay for the party. All the top stars,including Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez and Paul Scholes, were there with theexception of Cristiano Ronaldo. The party began on Monday at Manchester's 235casino with a Christmas lunch.
At the end of their meal, the 35 players in the squad were understood to havebeen entertained by dancers and two drag queens. They then went to The Grapespub owned by Coronation Street actress Liz Dawn. The players then moved on tothe main event, an invitation-only event at the [pounds sterling]395-a-night Great John StreetHotel. Defender John O'Shea, it was claimed, spent at least part of theevening, propped up at the bar, ordering free beer and champagne, and liftingup the skirts of girls passing by.
One eyewitness told how Rooney tried to chat her and her friend up. Accordingto The Mirror, Rooney told the girls: "I bet you two were naughty together atuni. Did you do threesomes? You know two girls and a lad?" At around 2am it isclaimed Daniel 'Simmo' Simpson, a squad player, got into a fight with anotherpartygoer. A witness to that incident said: "Everyone was on the dancefloorwhen Simmo was pushed through the crowd by an older man. "Simmo was f-ing and blinding.
Van der Sar [the United goalkeeper] pulled them apart. But Simmo was draggedoff the dancefloor by security and wasn't let back in until he had calmeddown." One female guest described the party as "a horrendous cattle market".She said: "I like the United players but they were out of control. They weretreating girls like pieces of meat. …