I was on Coventry pre-season booze-up – it got so messy we all ended up in prison cell

Stephen Warnock celebrates scoring against Ipswich
Stephen Warnock has opened up about a wild night out during Coventry pre-season -Credit:Coventry Telegraph

Former Coventry star Stephen Warnock has revealed that a pre-season drinking session ended with him and his team-mates in a prison cell.

The 42-year-old, who also had stints at Liverpool, Aston Villa and Leeds, was on loan at the Sky Blues during the 2003/04 season. Manager Gary McAllister had put the players through a rigorous training regime over the summer but allowed them to let off steam with an end-of-tour squad night out.

Warnock shared the story on the Undr The Cosh podcast, explaining how the night of revelry descended into chaos after the players were refused entry to a nightclub. "We were on tour [in Germany], and we'd had a tough pre-season so [McAllister] said we needed to have a bit of team bonding," the former full back recalled.

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"We had almost like a raft with a bar on it going down a canal, and we were just going to go out and have a day on the booze and get to know each other. Anyway, we've gone out on the p*** and later on we were like, 'Can we go out tonight? ', and [McAllister] said, 'Absolutely, make sure everyone's there'."

"So a few of us wandered down to the local nightclub, it was like a five minute walk, and we get chatting to the doorman or the owner or whoever it was and we were like, 'We're a football team from England, we've got about 30 lads, are we alright to come in tonight with shorts on and stuff?'

"And he was like, 'Yeah yeah no problem'. So we go back to our hotel and we're drinking for few more hours, and when we get back to the club he said, 'You're not coming in', and we were like, 'Why not? We spoke to you face to face', and he was like, 'Nah nah'."

Things quickly escalated, the Mirror report, when Coventry ace David Pipe confronted the doorman, who retaliated by hitting him in the face with his nightstick.

"The fella's just whipped a cosh out and smacked him [Pipe]," Warnock recalled, "and it'd have knocked anyone else out, killed them. But he just stood there, took a blow to his face and then he's just knocked [the doorman] out, Pipey just floored the fella."

The players, understandably, made a swift exit, but the police were soon on their trail. After wandering alone through the streets, Warnock stumbled upon some of his team-mates catching their breath at a petrol station.

"I found like five of the lads and we were all buzzing thinking we'd got away with it. But then a riot van comes round the corner and lashes us in the back and all the lads are in there, they've all been caught."

Warnock made 49 appearances for Coventry in his sole season at the club, scoring three goals. He returned to Liverpool at the end of the season, and spent two further years in the Reds' first team squad before being sold to Blackburn in 2007. He later played for the likes of Villa, Leeds, Derby and Wigan before retiring in 2018.

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