A football coach accused of using a mobile phone while driving in Southampton has been cleared of the allegation in court.

Kevin Bond, 66, who announced his departure from Bristol Rovers last week, was acquitted of not being in proper control while driving a grey Land Rover in Southampton on December 20, 2022.

During a short trial at Southampton Magistrates’ Court on Friday, the court heard that a police staff investigator had seen the driver looking down and having a dark item in their left hand while he was trying to cross the road.

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The former Bournemouth manager said it could have been his glasses case or a coffee and that he uses hands-free only in both the cars he drives.

He told the magistrates: “I do an awful lot of driving in my car, I never hold my phone in my hand in my car. I have car play in my car, I have a cradle which my phone sits in.

“I only know I wasn’t holding a mobile phone, I was in control of the car, if I did look down it would be a moment, but that would have been it.”

Mr Bond, of Chilworth, also told the court the vehicle was shared with other people and he could not recall where he was that day but that he accepted responsibility that he was the driver.

The magistrates told the football boss he was free to go, adding: “Because of the evidence and credible evidence you have [given], we find you not guilty.”

Mr Bond started his career as a footballer, and was an apprentice at AFC Bournemouth, when his father John Bond was manager in the early 1970s.

He spent four years playing for Southampton FC between 1984 and 1988, where he made 140 appearances for the club and scored six goals.

He did make a return to Saints, this time as a coach under Harry Redknapp during his tenure as manager.