Dublin man to be sentenced for racially abusing Man Utd player on Aer Lingus flight
Cole, 42, was returning to the UK on a flight from Dublin to Manchester on December 29 when the incident happened.
Police were called to Manchester Airport following reports that two passengers were drunk and would not co-operate with Aer Lingus cabin crew.
Lee Byrne, 28, from Dublin, and Gregory Horan, 26, of no fixed abode, were arrested on landing.
Byrne pleaded guilty at Trafford Magistrates Court to a racially aggravated public order offence and being drunk on an aircraft.
Horan also admitted being drunk on an aircraft.
Both men could be imprisoned for the offences with a maximum five-year term for being drunk on an aircraft.
Ex-striker Cole, from Cheshire, is now a club ambassador at Manchester United and is also involved with other black footballers in the Kick It Out campaign, which aims to stamp out abuse from the stands and in the dressing room.
Sentencing takes place at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court.