Former Blackpool football Trevor Sinclair described the night he hit a woman in his car while drink-driving – before wetting himself in a police van and hurling a racial insult at a police officer – as “just a bad night, a terrible night when I lost control.”
The 45-year-old, of Victory Boulevard, Lytham, avoided jail after pleading guilty to drink-driving and a racially-aggravated public order offence in January, and has now given an interview to a national newspaper.
In it, he said he went home and called police after a woman at a bar called him a “little chocolate man” and rubbed his head – but admitted: “I got a bad feeling and I panicked. I needed to get away and I should have gone on my bike.”
Officers went looking for Sinclair, and found his electric Tesla X60D car in the middle of Clifton Drive, where the ex-England international had hit a woman who had stepped out in front of him.
“I told them I’d had a drink and they put me in the back of the car,” Sinclair said. “I was there a long, long time.
“I banged on the window to tell them I needed the toilet but they wouldn’t listen.
“I don’t want to blame them for anything — I was the one who lost control and if I hadn’t done so, then none of this happens.”
Sinclair, who played in the Premier League and and for the Three Lions at the 2002 World Cup, avoided jail after pleading guilty at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court.
He was sentenced to 150 hours of community service and banned from driving for 20 months.
He was also ordered to pay PC Gareth Evans, who he also asked whether he was being arrested for being black, £500 compensation, as well as court costs of £170.
“What happened that night was not the real Trevor Sinclair,” District Judge Jeff Brailsford told Sinclair as he was sentenced.
“You have worked long and hard to eradicate racism; racism you must have suffered as a player. You have also expressed genuine concern.”
In a statement to the court, PC Evans said: “I asked Mr Sinclair what had happened. It appeared to me he was drunk, unsteady on his feet, and his eyes were glazed.”
Sinclair was arrested after failing a roadside breath test, which returned a reading of 72. The legal limitis 35.
“Before his arrest he was very calm, polite, and courteous,” PC Evans’ statement said.
“He started asking if it was because he was black. He started getting more confrontational. He was getting more aggressive.”
Celebrity lawyer Nick Freeman, said Sinclair, his client, had ‘suspended himself from his work as a TV pundit’, including appearances on Match of the Day.
His conviction “may well have a terminal effect on his TV career”,he added.
“There was an accident but it was a no fault accident,” he told the court.
“The woman stepped into his path and he stopped and showed concern for her.
“He had taken alcohol and he should have kept his views to himself.
“After all, he is an active member of Show Racism The Red Card, which wants to kick racism not just out of football but in general.”
In his interview with the Mail, Sinclair said he pleaded guilty to “accept it and get it dealt with quickly by magistrates”, and said: “I just thought, people know me, they can make their own minds up.
“Protecting my family was the main thing.”
He said he had tests to see if his drink that night had been spiked, and saw a counsellor “who suggested I may have unresolved issues from my mum’s death”, and added: “The main thing for me is my control, which I’ve tried to adjust when I go out. Be a bit more sensible.”
Sinclair’s community service was at Oxford. “I loved every minute,” he said, and worked an extra month “just to say thank you.”
He has since returned to punditry but “doing a little bit for Yahoo, which I’ve enjoyed,” he said.
“Look, it’s difficult for the BBC,” he added. “I’ve not rushed into anything. They’re in talks with my representatives so we’ll see what happens.
“Drink driving is a disgusting thing to do. I’m really disappointed in my actions and I’m blessed nobody was hurt.
“I’ve let people down but I’ve got my health and my family, which are the two most important things in life.”