Former Manchester United footballer Chris Eagles has joined Alcoholics Anonymous after he was found drunk in the drivers’ seat of his £70,000 Audi.
The father-of-two, 35, was shoeless when police found him slumped over his steering wheel outside the home of his then-girlfriend Jennifer Metcalfe at 3am.
A police breath test found Eagles was almost three times the legal alcohol limit when he was found by officers at the scene in Broadheath, near Altrincham.
At Manchester Magistrates’ Court this week, Eagles claimed he needed his vehicle to take his two children to school.
Eagles admitted being drunk while in charge of the Q7 vehicle and said he was attending AA meetings after splitting up with his Hollyoaks star girlfriend earlier this month following a series of rows.
Once a rising star in Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad, Eagles has suffered a dramatic fall from grace with a flurry of controversies including a fiery bust-up with Roy Keane.
Chris Eagles (pictured outside court), 35, was shoeless when he was found slumped over his steering wheel outside the home of his then-girlfriend Jennifer Metcalfe at 3am
Ms Metcalfe and Eagles were pictured leaving Warrior Club in Cheshire in February this year, where they spent 55 minutes at the gym together
The former footballer was banned from driving for three months, fined £1250 and ordered to pay £275 in costs and surcharges.
The court heard the arrest took place on March 21 after a man called Ben Bishop contacted police at 3.15am after speaking with Eagles.
Mr Bishop found the player sat in the car asleep with his seat belt buckled and the engine turned on.
Prosecutor Nick Smart told the hearing: ‘In the small hours of the morning, at 3:13, police received a call to report a potential drink driver.
‘The car that was thought to be under suspicion was a black Audi Q7. The information was passed to officers who were on patrol. Two officers located the vehicle and they saw the engine was running.
‘The defendant was sat in the driver’s seat, slumped over the steering wheel. They smelled intoxicants coming from inside the vehicle. They roused the defendant. He appeared to be sleeping. He was slurring his words. Officers thought he would be unable to provide a specimen. So, they took him to the local police station.’
The court heard Eagles, who lives in a £3million house in Bowdon, Cheshire, already had three points on his licence following a speeding conviction.
Eagles admitted being drunk while in charge of the £70,000 Q7 vehicle (pictured, Eagles and his former girlfriend Ms Metcalfe inside his Audi) and said he was attending AA meetings
Ms Metcalfe is pictured in January 2020. She and Eagles split after a series of arguments
Court heard the arrest took place on March 21 when a man called Ben Bishop contacted police at 3.15am after speaking with Eagles. Pictured, Eagles played for Oldham Athletic in 2019
At an earlier hearing he said he tried to get into his girlfriend’s house and she didn’t answer so he got into his car to have a nap and switched on the engine to charge his phone.
He initially denied being drunk in charge of a motor vehicle.
His lawyer Jeremy Spencer said in mitigation: ‘He has attended Alcohol Anonymous meetings in Altrincham.
‘The officer stated when he saw him in the car, he didn’t have any shoes on, and his socks weren’t properly on his feet. He has three points on his licence from a fixed penalty matter. He tells me he had received the forms, and because it was a ’37 in a 30’ offence, he was offered an opportunity of a speed awareness course.
‘He’s in a position to argue exceptional hardship at this stage. Mr Eagles has two children from a previous relationship, aged five and three. He has shared custody with the ex-partner. These two children are at different schools.
‘If disqualified he won’t be able to take them to their separate schools.’
Mr Spencer said Eagles was ‘concerned about what happened to him’ and its affect on his family.
Sentencing District Judge Bernard Begley told Eagles: ‘You were very intoxicated on the occasion in question and you were partially in a state of undress. It’s a high level of intoxication and that’s highly relevant to the way I will deal with this case.
‘In regard to the question of disqualification, disqualification for this offence is at my discretion. I have been urged on the basis of your mitigation, put forward by Mr Spencer, not to impose that course of action and progress matters with you getting 10 points on your licence. It is not my view that’s the appropriate approach bearing in mind the nature of the events and circumstances.
Eagles split with his fiancee and the mother of his children Danielle Mitchinson, 30, in October last year following an eight-year romance.
He later began dating Metcalfe, who had broken up with her long-term boyfriend Greg Lake, after the pair became part of a support bubble.
They were first seen together in January, a month after rumours surfaced that they were dating, with sources claiming at the time that Jennifer was ‘smitten’ with Chris.
But the pair fell out during a holiday to Portugal last month and last week agreed to ‘take some time apart’.
Chris Eagles: Man Utd prodigy aged 14 was taken under the wing of Alex Ferguson and tipped to be the next Beckham – before busts-up with Roy Keane and AA meetings
Eagles is pictured during his time at Old Trafford in 2007
Manchester United prodigy Chris Eagles once likened himself to David Beckham and described how he was one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s favourite players.
But the father-of-two’s career took something of a nosedive in the wake of a series of controversies.
From 2000, Eagles spent eight years on the Red Devils’ books and previously likened the trajectory as being similar to Beckham’s, with further claims Sir Alex had a ‘soft spot’ for him.
He told Ladbrokes earlier this year: ‘Sir Alex Ferguson had a lot of involvement with me as a kid because he knew I’d moved away from home.
‘I wasn’t too dissimilar to David Beckham in that respect because we’d both moved from London to Manchester as youngsters.
‘Sir Alex had his certain players like me, Darren Fletcher and Kieran Richardson who he had soft spots for.’
During the same interview he revealed he once got into trouble aged 15 for driving a car.
Later in his career he would come head to head with then-captain Roy Keane, according to fellow player Rio Ferdinand.
Ferdinand told Vibe with Five: ‘He (Eagles) went in late on Roy once or twice and Roy said to him, “Listen, slow down”.
‘The ball comes in again, Eagles was trying to impress, trying to leave his mark and left a little bit on Roy again and pulled his jersey. Roy just turned round and went bang in the jaw.’
Later in his career he would come head to head with then-captain Roy Keane (pictured recently on Sky Sports), according to fellow player Rio Ferdinand
By 2008 Eagles joined Burnley for a reported fee of £1.2million.
He scored 25 goals during three seasons, helping Burnley win promotion to the Premier League in 2009. He then joined Bolton Wanderers two years later.
After three seasons came another argument, this time with then-manager Dougie Freedman.
Next, Eagles faced short-term spells with Blackpool, Charlton Athletic, Bury, Accrington Stanley, Port Vale and Ross County.
After 15 months out of the game he signed a one-year deal with Oldham in 2019, but he lasted just six months.
The termination of his contract – six months early – appeared to spark a sad fall from grace.
Eagles, 35, left Oldham by mutual consent in January 2020 and ten months later his relationship with the mother of his children and then-fiancée Danielle Mitchinson ended.
Since then Eagles, who joined the Manchester United Academy aged 14, has been dating Jennifer Metcalfe – although the couple also agreed to part ways last week.
More recently still, it was revealed Eagles has been attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings.
He was also banned from driving for three months and handed a hefty fine for being found drunk in the drivers’s seat of his luxury Audi.
Despite his struggles, Eagles is now hoping to break into broadcasting – with his sights set on working with Sky to share his footballing expertise.