the length of time we did. It was beyond any of the sanctions that could be imposed under his playing contract so it was necessary for us to involve the PFA. They brought their lawyers in and discussed it with Eric and it was agreed that we'd have that suspension of 21 games, which was unprecedented.
"When all that had been agreed through the PFA and accepted by Eric, he was happy for me to carry on with the actual legal case."
Watkins was thrust into the limelight with sections of the media calling for the harshest of punishments for the United striker from the authorities.
"It was an unbelievable case," he accepts. "A legal periodical at the time said it was the most famous common assault in the history of the English legal system. It was one of those kind of cases you may never get - it was unique because of all the things that happened.
"Once we sorted out the initial scenario we then obviously backed Eric to the hilt, to be fair he never sought to say he hadn't done anything wrong and he set out what his position was. He never deviated from that from the beginning, through the hearing with the FA and also the court case.
"What happened when Eric appeared before the bench was he was sent down for 14 days and it was really unexpected as the sentence was imposed because of who he was rather than the seriousness of the case. It went against all the sentencing guidelines and he was put into the holding cells in court.
"We had to dash down to the Crown Court, which fortunately wasn't far away, and made an application for bail and appealed against the sentence. We'd also made an application for bail in the Magistrates Court, immediately after he'd been sent down and