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Footballer hurt in shooting
Friday, 8 November, 2002, 19:37 GMT
A professional footballer with Macclesfield Town has been seriously injured in a shooting in Manchester.
Chris Byrne, 27, was shot in the leg in a side street close to his parent's home in the Hulme area on Thursday night.
The bullet severed a main artery in the footballer's leg, but his injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.
Greater Manchester Police said on Friday Mr Byrne was shot after refusing to hand over his car keys to three balaclava-clad men.
Police are treating the incident, off St George's Avenue, as attempted robbery and do not believe Mr Byrne was deliberately targeted.
The gang was seen in the area and shots were heard at about 1800 GMT.
Mr Byrne was taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary in his black BMW, which was driven by his father Patrick.
He later underwent surgery and on Friday he was said to be in a serious but stable condition.
'Sack of rubbish'
Byrne's father, said the men kicked his son "senseless" in the attack.
An eyewitness is reported to have told police she saw Mr Byrne being dragged along the road "like a sack of rubbish".
Mr Byrne's father told BBC North West Today: "He only came home for a change of kit.
"He fought back against these men and they have not taken the car.
"His car is his pride and joy and when they saw him getting back up off the ground they shot him."
He said he was convinced Mr Byrne, who was losing a lot of blood, would have died if they had waited for an ambulance.
The midfielder began his career at third division Macclesfield's Moss Road ground, before stints at Sunderland and Stockport County.
He rejoined Macclesfield in June 2001.
Colin Garlick, chairman of Macclesfield Town, said: "We're very shocked that Chris has been injured in this way and we've been very worried about his health.
"He's a legend in Macclesfield because of his goal-scoring exploits.
"Without his contribution we wouldn't have left the Vauxhall Conference and got in to the football league."
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