Lancashire

Blackburn Rovers boss Steve Kean banned from driving

Steve Kean
Image caption Steve Kean passed a police car at 90mph on the M6 in Cheshire

Blackburn Rovers manager Steve Kean has been given an 18-month driving ban after admitting drinking and driving.

The 43-year-old pleaded guilty at Macclesfield Magistrates' Court earlier, but tried to escape a ban claiming his drink had been spiked.

A district judge rejected his "special reasons" application, saying he had failed to prove the drink had been spiked.

Kean, of Weybridge in Surrey, was also fined £1,800.

Wine with Ferguson

He had changed his plea to guilty of driving with excess alcohol shortly before his trial was due to begin on Monday.

Kean was almost twice the legal limit when he failed a breath test, after being stopped on the southbound carriageway of the M6 in Cheshire on 14 May.

The prosecution said he had sped past a police patrol car, near Knutsford, at 90mph.

His team had been playing Manchester United in the Premier League just hours before.

The officers, who were driving at 50mph, pulled his Mercedes over and a breath test recorded a level of 65 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.

The legal limit is 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath.

Kean admitted drinking two-and-a-half glasses of red wine with Sir Alex Ferguson after the game, and later a bottle of Budweiser at a pub in Blackburn.

Kean told District Judge Nicholas Sanders there had been a "celebratory" mood at Ewood Park after the game because United had clinched the Premier League title and the 1-1 result was considered a "good point" for Rovers.

'Emotional game'

The Rovers boss had a reception in his office for Sir Alex and his staff.

"When I first went in I poured Sir Alex a glass of red wine and I poured one for myself," said Kean.

He said Sir Alex had later poured him a second glass and he had had a further half glass.

"I was well aware that I was driving so I had two-and-a-half glasses over the course of an hour," he told the court.

After collecting some clothes for his drive south from his Lancashire address, Kean then met some friends at the Whalley Arms pub where he had a bottle of beer.

Questioned by counsel for the defence James Harrison about how he felt as he left the pub, Kean said: "Football is an emotional game and your adrenaline is rushing but I felt fine."

A medical expert said the amount of alcohol Kean said he drank over the period of time would have been insufficient to cause the breathalyser reading.

Mr Harrison argued that one of his drinks must have been spiked.

Judge's verdict

Rejecting Kean's case, Judge Sanders said: "There is no direct evidence of lacing of drinks or tampering of drinks.

"Mr Kean says that must have been the case because he only had two-and-a-half glasses of red wine and a bottle of beer."

The judge said that explanation was "not convincing".

"There is another possible explanation and that is that he had more to drink than he has admitted today," he added.

"It is my view that Mr Kean has failed to meet the burden of proof that his drinks were laced."

A Blackburn Rovers spokesman said the club would not be commenting.

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