Footballer Glenn Whelan spared driving ban for speeding as it could ‘jeopardise’ his career
Footballer Glenn Whelan has escaped a driving ban for speeding – so he can keep travelling 156 miles to play and manage.
Former Republic of Ireland star Whelan, who began his career at Manchester City and went on to play for Bury, plans to become a player-coach at Bristol Rovers, magistrates heard.
But his lawyer said a ban would cost him about £200 to travel by train each time – and it wouldn’t be worth doing the journey from his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, to help the League Two side.
Whelan, 38, who also played for Sheffield Wednesday, Stoke City and Aston Villa, already had nine points on his licence, all for speeding, a court heard.
Paul Reddy, defending, said Whelan drove 30,000 miles-a-year on average.
He had been returning from a ferry trip to Ireland to see his sick mother, early on May 20 last year, when his Audi car was caught doing 49mph in a 40mph temporary speed limit at roadworks on the A55 at Aber, near Bangor in Gwynedd.
Prosecutor Brian Robinson said at Mold magistrates’ court: “Mr Whelan has nine penalty points on his licence, all being speeding matters.”
The player admitted speeding, but pleaded ‘exceptional hardship’ to keep his licence.
Mr Reddy said there had been a ‘momentary lapse of concentration’ through the roadworks.
Whelan has five months remaining of his existing one-year contract at the club, the court heard.
“He wants to play as long as he can,” his lawyer remarked.
Mr Reddy said Whelan, earning £4,000-£5,000-a-month, would be unable to get home by train at night following mid-week games.
He is also coach for his son’s Sunday football team, the court heard.
“I request you consider giving him a further lifeline, allowing him to keep his licence,” Mr Reddy asked magistrates.
“He will be an extremely careful driver for the foreseeable future.”
Court chairman John Perera fined the footballer £307 with £144 costs and three points.
The magistrate said Whelan had an ‘unusual’ lifestyle.
If he were banned, he said, it could affect his son’s football team, jeopardise his potential role as a player-coach, and he was the breadwinner for the family.
But the exceptional hardship argument couldn’t be re-used for three years.
“Make sure you drive very carefully,” the magistrate warned Whelan, who has more than 90 caps for Ireland.