Former Man Utd football manager Ron Atkinson in court

Ron Atkinson arrives at Calderdale Magistrates Court, Halifax.
Ron Atkinson arrives at Calderdale Magistrates Court, Halifax.

Ex football manager and TV pundit “Big Ron” Atkinson was cleared of failing to provide information regarding a driver’s identity when he appeared before Calderdale magistrates.

Mr Atkinson, 72, of Barnt Green, Birmingham, denied the charge at the Halifax court.

Another charge of exceeding a 50 mph speed limit was dismissed.

The court was told a 4x4 vehicle with the number plate RON260 was caught by a speed camera on the M606 southbound at Bradford at 5.52 pm on August 14 last year.

It was alleged Mr Atkinson failed to reply to a notice - and a reminder letter - requiring the details of the driver of the vehicle.

Mr Atkinson said he received the initial letter but no reminder.

“I do remember receiving it. The driver was my daughter who was visiting a friend in Bradford,” he said.

“When the form came I filled it in and took it myself to the Post Office and got the guy at the Post Office to give me a certificate confirming posting and I put the first class stamp on myself.

“I would have done that very quickly.

“I’m quite good with post and a great believer in getting things done quickly.”

Mr Atkinson said he was unable to provide the proof of postage.

“I seem to have misled the certificate. We have had big changes around the house and a lot of stuff has been moved around,” he said.

His solicitor Barry Warburton said once a defendant had posted such a letter his official function was over and Mr Atkinson had taken all steps to ensure it was posted and obtained a certificate of postage.

He said his client had a clean driving licence, was completely honest and of impeccable character and the Royal Mail said itself it lost 14.4 million letters a year.

“There is not a scintilla of evidence to say Ron Atkinson did not return the letter,” said Mr Warburton.

Chairwoman of the magistrates Sue Procter told Mr Atkinson: “Bearing in mind your good character and clear evidence we are not satisfied the prosecution case is proved.”

Afterwards Big Ron said; “I had a fair trial.”

A glittering managerial career saw him manage several clubs including Manchester Utd, West Bromwich Albion, Sheffield Wednesday and Atletico Madrid.

He was a regular pundit on TV until resigning in April 2004 amid a storm of controversy over a remark made about the Chelsea player Marcel Desailly.