Blackburn Boss Banned From Driving

Blackburn manager Steve Kean was given an 18-month driving ban and fined £1,800 today after being convicted of drink-driving.

He had earlier pleaded guilty but applied to escape the ban, claiming his drink was spiked.

But a judge at Macclesfield Magistrates' Court in Cheshire rejected the ``special reasons'' application, saying Kean had failed to prove his drink had been laced.

The 43-year-old was almost twice the legal limit when he failed a breath test just hours after his side played Manchester United in the Premier League last May.

Kean, of Weybridge, Surrey, changed his plea to guilty of driving with excess alcohol shortly before his trial was due to begin today.

Kean was breathalysed after his black Mercedes was pulled over by police on the southbound carriageway of the M6 near Knutsford, Cheshire, at 8.30pm on May 14.

The prosecution say he sped past a marked patrol car at 90mph.

The officers, who were driving at 50mph, pulled him over and gave him a breath test which recorded 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 near his Blackburn home.

A medical expert said that quantity of alcohol would have been insufficient to cause the breathalyser reading.

The defence argued that one of his drinks must have been spiked.

But the prosecution said there was another possibility, that Kean was lying about his alcohol consumption that day.

Giving evidence, Kean told District Judge Nicholas Sanders there was 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.

After both managers had taken part in their press conferences, Kean hosted Sir Alex and around 10 United officials to a reception at his office.

Also present were around 10 Blackburn officials who enjoyed food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

He said: ``When I first went in I poured Sir Alex a glass of red wine and I poured one for myself.

``I wished them all the best and congratulated them on winning the title.''

He said Sir Alex later poured him a second glass of red wine, and he 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 leaving the stadium, he went to his north-west home to pack some clothes for the drive down to his family home in the south-east.

Before setting off on the motorway at around 6.30pm, he stopped at the Whalley Arms pub to meet a group of friends who had been to the game.

He spent around 45 minutes at the pub, which was packed with Rovers, United and other football fans watching the highlights of the FA Cup final.

During that time he said a friend bought him a bottle of Budweiser which he drank out of a small glass.

He said he frequently left the glass unattended as he talked to football supporters, signed autographs and posed for photographs.

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.

``I was happy but not intoxicated, not at all.

``I have done that journey lots of times and wouldn't attempt to do it (drunk).''