Spalding United

Nile Ranger, the 29-year-old controversial former Premier League striker, has left Spalding United after just one appearance to rejoin League Two side Southend United.

Ranger, who only joined the Northern Premier League Division One South East club in October, scored in his only competitive appearance at the Lincolnshire side.

The goal came in a 3-3 draw with Belper Town on October 31, before the season was postponed due to coronavirus lockdown.

He will now look to revitalise his professional career in the EFL, with Southend United, where he spent two years between 2016 and 2018.

The 29-year-old has joined Southend on an incentivised month-to-month contract.

Ranger is a player who has been hailed for his abilities, but criticised for his conduct, regularly having run-ins with the law during his life.

When he was just 15-years-old, the former Newcastle United striker spent 11 weeks in a Young Offenders Institute for a robbery charge.

As well as this, he has been charged with being drunk and disorderly, assaulting a man in Newcastle, and served a prison sentence in 2016 for conspiracy to defraud and commit money laundering.

Ranger previously tweeted denying rumours that he was joining Southend, but the deal has been finalised.

He has been included in their 25-man squad for the rest of the season.

Southend boss Mark Molesley said that Nile Ranger has been training with the Shrimpers for two months to keep himself fit.

Molesley said: “Nile has still got to earn the right to play for this club and he knows that himself. Everyone has to earn the right.

“He has got to repay the faith I have shown him on the pitch, and I am excited to see a fully fit Nile play for this football club.”

A former Premier League striker with a controversial past has joined Spalding United in a week that has seen the non-league club sign four other new players and appoint a new management team.

Nile Ranger, whose former clubs include Premier League side Newcastle, joined the Northern Premier League Division One South East club on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old, who also played for Blackpool, Swindon and Southend, joins with a troubled past having been sentenced to 11 weeks in a Young Offenders Institute over a robbery when he was just 15-years-old.

In 2011 he was questioned by Newcastle for posing with a replica gun in a photograph and later that year he was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a man in the city centre, leaving the victim unconscious on the street.

In October 2011 he was charged with being drunk and disorderly in Newcastle’s Cathedral Square and in March 2012 he was fined by the FA for making homophobic comments on Twitter.

He was also arrested on suspicion of rape in a Newcastle hotel room in January 2013. He was charged with rape in July 2013 before being cleared of the charge in March 2014.

The long list of incidents also includes being arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage to a taxi in Liverpool, which he later pleaded guilty to and was fined £1,000. He claimed that he was angry at being called a rapist by the driver.

Most recently, he was charged in December 2016 with conspiracy to defraud and to commit money laundering. In May 2017 he was sentenced to eight months in prison, but he was released after 10 weeks of his sentence due to “his consistently excellent custodial behaviour”.

Former DR Congo international Gabriel Zakuani was appointed as the new first team manager at Spalding earlier this week, with Neal Spafford taking the role of assistant manager.

On the signing of Ranger, Zakuani said: “I’ve known Nile for many years and we grew up in the same area. He has all the talent in the world and knows he has a point to prove! In the conversations we have had, he wants an opportunity to get himself back on the map.

“I believe he can easily play for any team in League One and most Championship clubs.

“He has promised me he will get his head down and prove to everyone that the penny has dropped. This opportunity will allow people to see he still has the hunger to succeed”

Meanwhile, former Newcastle and Portsmouth striker Lomana Tresor Lua Lua joined the Tulips as an attacking coach,,with Ronayne Marsh-Brown taking the role of first team coach. Shane Spafford remains at the club as physio.