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Sir Alex reads the riot act

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will “read the riot act” to his senior players over the “drunken and sleazy” Christmas party that ended with a junior player being accused of rape.

The footballer, named as Jonny Evans, 19, was kept in custody by police for more than 15 hours before being freed on bail.

The Belfast-born defender, who earns around ú500,000-a-year, was questioned over claims that a 26-year-old woman, understood to be a model from London, was raped at a luxury boutique hotel in Manchester.

Police were reportedly called by her boyfriend, who told them that the alleged attack had taken place in one of the hotel rooms at 4am on Tuesday.

Evans denied all claims and has gone into hiding at a safe house in Manchester, accompanied by security guards employed by the club.

Meanwhile, Sir Alex was said to be “furious” as details emerged of a decadent all-night celebration organised by senior United players where pink champagne flowed and some girls were allegedly treated like “pieces of meat”.

A 15-hour session on Monday began at lunchtime and ended at the Great John Street hotel with a group of 100 “hand-picked” women in a bar and reception area, and 30 bedrooms booked and available for private use.

Wives and girlfriends were not invited and multi-million pound stars from the world’s biggest club, including Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs, Owen Hargreaves, Michael Carrick, Gary Neville and Wes Brown were all in attendance.

Almost all of them had left the venue when the alleged rape took place, and they were said to be “stunned” at the claim.

However Sir Alex, who begrudgingly allowed the party to go ahead but warned his squad to behave themselves, was said to have felt “let down” by his top players.

An insider said: “As far as the junior player is concerned, he is innocent until proven guilty and Sir Alex will stand by him.

“But the party was in the hands of the senior players and when the boss is not there he expects them to take charge. They will be read the riot act.”

The source said the wives and girlfriends, known as WAGs, also reacted angrily as full details of the “seedy” night emerged. One guest said how the mood of the party altered during the early hours as it descended further into a drunken and sleazy affair.

The man, who did not wish to be named, believed there were gatecrashers and others hell bent on boisterous behaviour.

Evans reportedly flew to Monaco on a shopping trip with a relative after the party but upon hearing about the rape claims, he flew back to the UK to voluntarily go to the police late on Tuesday night.

He was formally interviewed with Manchester United club lawyer Maurice Watkins at his side and is due to surrender himself to police again on February 23.

An Old Trafford insider said: “All he wants to do is clear his name of any wrongdoing.”

Even though Evans was disciplined by the Irish Football Association in September when he was fined for a disciplinary offence following a defeat by Iceland in the European Championship qualifiers, he is described as a “mature and educated” young man whose behaviour was always “exemplary.”

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