Football star's driving ban shame

IPSWICH Town's youngest ever player and former England Under 21 Jason Dozzell today warned his fans to learn from his mistakes after he was banned from driving and fined more than £1,000.

IPSWICH Town's youngest ever player and former England Under 21 Jason Dozzell today warned his fans to learn from his mistakes after he was banned from driving and fined more than £1,000.

An apologetic Dozzell, who is now the manager of Ridgeons League team Ipswich Wanderers, spoke of the "error of judgement" which saw him get behind the wheel of his friend's silver BMW on September 4 after drinking a number of beers.

"I thought that (with) the amount of beers I had on the way home from football that I was okay," he said.

Dozzell, who remains the youngest player to have scored in the top flight of English football, was arrested after police pulled over the BMW.

A breath testing machine failed to work properly and officers asked him to provide a specimen.

During a hearing at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court yesterday Prosecutor Adele Cook told the court: "He refused to give a specimen and said that officers were taking the p***."

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Dozzell pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to provide a specimen when he appeared before District Judge David Cooper.

The court heard that since the end of his playing days, which saw him play for Ipswich Town, Tottenham Hotspur, Northampton and later at Colchester United, Dozzell had embarked on a career as a football coach and manager and that career would now be hampered by his driving ban.

Sentencing, Judge Cooper told Dozzell he had taken into account the impact the ban would have on his career and the community work he undertook by playing in charity matches.

He said: "Mr Dozzell you do have a previous driving conviction, albeit outside the 10-year period.

"In normal circumstances you would face a minimum ban of 18 months."

Judge Cooper disqualified Dozzell, of Larkhill Drive, Rushmere, from driving for 12 months, fined him £1,000 and ordered him to pay costs of £55.

Dozzell, who turned 37 on Sunday, said he had been drinking after his team's game on September 4 but had thought he was still okay to drive.

"It was the hottest day of the year…it was a recipe for disaster," he said.

He warned others not to make the same mistake and acknowledged that as a high profile footballing figure he had a responsibility to set a good example.

He said: "It's an easy mistake to make but one which could end you up in a lot of trouble.

"It's a massive mistake and for people who are looking at me it's a mistake they shouldn't make themselves."

Dozzell, who ended his playing days in 2002, entered the record books when he scored for Ipswich Town against Coventry in February, 1984, just 57 days after his 16th birthday.

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Jason Dozzell career factfile:

Ipswich Town's youngest ever player, he entered the record books when he played and scored for the Blues against Coventry in February, 1984, just 57 days after his 16th birthday.

Still the youngest player to have scored in the top flight of English football

Played for Ipswich Town from 1984 until 1993

Transferred to Tottenham Hotspur for £1.9million in 1993 and played for Spurs until 1997

Returned to Ipswich during October and November, 1997, before playing for Northampton, Colchester United and Canvey Island

He is a former England Under 21 player

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