Ex-Manchester City and Everton striker Branch jailed for seven years following drug charge

The former professional pleaded guilty after being caught handing over just under three kilos of amphetamine and 1kg high-purity cocaine being seized at his home in Otterspool
Former Manchester City and Everton striker Michael Branch has been jailed for seven years following two charges relating to drug dealing.

The 34-year-old, who also used to play for Midlands sides Birmingham City and Wolverhampton Wanderers before ending his career at Northern Premier League side Burscough, appeared at Chester Crown Court and pleaded guilty to the two charges.

The prosecution was brought by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), and a spokesman said: "The message here is that entering the illegal drugs trade is a route to prison, not to financial gain and a celebrity lifestyle."

"This was significant criminality committed by someone who would once have been viewed as a role model."

Branch broke into the Everton first team in 1996 when he was 18, and was charged with handing just under three kilograms of amphetamine to another man in a Liverpool car park.

The second charge was based on a seizure at his home in Otterspool when 1kg of cocaine was taken.