Ranger’s Southend future in doubt

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Southend United are weighing up the future of striker Nile Ranger, after he was given an eight-month jail sentence for committing online banking fraud.

The ex-Newcastle forward was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud by obtaining bank details and transferring money, and the court heard that a woman lost in excess of £2,000 in the scam, which was carried out in February 2015.

The 26-year-old joined the Shrimpers in August 2016, and before signing him, boss Phil Brown described how the attacker was on an initial one-month ‘test period’ at Roots Hall, and that he was in the ‘last chance saloon’.

The target man impressed Brown enough for the 57-year-old to tie him to a longer deal in Essex, with Ranger putting pen-to-paper on a three-and-a-half year deal on December 1st.

Netting eight goals in 28 games during his inaugural season on the south coast, it looked like Ranger had finally turned his career around after a very troubled past; with the latest off-field revelations, he may now have terminated any hope of future employers for good.

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In a statement released on www.southendunited.co.uk, chairman Ron Martin revealed that his club will assess “the impact of this startling, unexpected, outcome”, and conceded that Ranger is “Unlikely to ever be a model professional”. He did however credit Ranger for his “acceptable and improved” behaviour during his time at United.

Martin went on to say: “As I have said previously, this offence occurred long before Nile joined the club and everyone deserves a second chance, which the club has afforded Nile.

“We have worked hard at rehabilitation and Nile has responded well to his team mates both on and off the pitch.

“At the time of writing, the club is awaiting details of the court hearing and will review the details before coming to any decision surrounding Nile’s future.”