Former Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom has been banned from driving for six months after accumulating more points on his licence than he won in the Premier League this season.
Heckingbottom, 46, was disqualified for having 12 points on his licence and insisted his hunt for a new job would be impacted by the penalty. He was sacked at Bramall Lane last month after picking up five points from Sheffield United’s opening 14 games.
Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard he was caught driving at 57mph in a temporary 50mph speed zone on the M1 by a mobile speed camera on July 15 last year. Heckingbottom pleaded guilty to speeding and was fined £1,510.
But he made an ‘exceptional hardship application’ to be spared a ban during his court appearance, pleading that a ban could impact his future job prospects.
He told the court: “Between now and the next five months is when football manager jobs become available. You can gain or lose a job at the drop of a hat. It can be a phone call. You never know when an opportunity will arise.
“[Disqualification] will outright stop me getting a job, because of the competitive nature of the market.”
Heckingbottom confirmed he was not employed when he was examined by his solicitor, Helen White, and said he was currently a “stay-at-home dad”. He had added that during January he had been “preparing for a new role in football”.
When asked why he could not get a driver, he said: “I have been in some very good football clubs, but only the top clubs have the resources for the manager to have their own driver.”
Sheffield United chief executive Steve Betts wrote a letter in Heckingbottom’s defence about how a driving ban would impact a manager’s work. Heckingbottom further argued that a ban would keep him from supporting Weston Park Cancer Charity and from studying for a professional doctorate at Leeds Beckett University.
“This would affect me the most. I’ve got four girls with my wife Claire, and we share the load in raising our kids,” added Heckingbottom.
“All the after-school clubs, school runs, GCSE studies... It’s down to me and Claire that we are available to pick them up after school.”