Saturday, 2 March 2013

The Curious Tale of Nile Ranger

What do you call someone who has been arrested six times since May 2011?

Well, probably not a successful professional footballer.  Which I'm guessing is why Newcastle United announced they had cancelled Nile Ranger's contract last week.

Ranger's is a curious situation. A former forward for England's under-19 team - playing 11 games and scoring six goals. Yet he now finds himself without a club and possibly, without a future in the game at the age of just 21.

And the worst thing about the whole matter is the fact that it's not really a surprise.
His first serious brush with the law came at the age of 15.  The teenager was convicted of participating in a street robbery and sentenced to 11 weeks in a youth offenders institute.

Now I'm not one for judging someone by a mistake or the errors they made in their younger years, as we've all made mistakes.  None of us are infallible.

But despite the talent he is lucky enough to have and the opportunities this has afforded him, Ranger doesn't appear to have learnt anything since that very first offence.

He has continued to position himself in both compromising and illegal situations.

His rap sheet consists of; assault, being drunk and disorderly and criminal damage.  The most worrying and most recent charge is the suspicion of rape.  A case that is currently ongoing at the time of writing.

And that doesn't even include The Football Association fine for posting tweets deemed to be homophobic, the breach of bail, the photo of himself with a replica gun or the evening he kicked his front door down because he believed his girlfriend was being kidnapped.

There is an urge to giggle reading the latter or chastise him for wasting the lifestyle that so many crave, but I can't help but wonder if there is a bigger issue behind all these incidents.

As far as we know the Londoner doesn't have any addictions, but it's obvious he enjoys a drink given the incidents he's been involved in.  Maybe it is the company he keeps or his crew as the kids call it.  It is not uncommon for high earners to attract hanger-on's whose only aim is to get them to spend money.  The type of people who couldn't care less about whether Ranger will be late for training again.

Of course that doesn't make him the innocent party, he is an adult and at his age should know right from wrong.  But we all know the saying: if you lay down with dogs, you're gonna get fleas.
But any sympathy starts to wane when you also consider his conduct in and around the club.  While his 51 League appearances only yielded three goals. Habitually tardy for sessions, he had been demoted and was actually training with the reserves the week he was charged with being drunk and disorderly.  A charge that eventually led to a £135 fine and six-month conditional discharge.

Admittedly Ranger isn't the first and won't be the last to mess up, but my hope is that he is still young enough to see what's going on and redirect himself from this negative path he appears to be on.
Maybe there is an underlying issue, whether that be an addition or something relating to his mental health.  Something he can seek help for, work on and move forward from.  Both are illnesses that affect a higher percentage of sportspeople, than the national average. It's feasible that Ranger could be one of those.

In a way I hope he does have an issue, because at least then he can seek help from The PFA and others.  Then he can find a way to deal with it, rebuild his reputation and attempt to kick-start his career.

Yet at the same point; maybe there is nothing wrong, maybe that's just how he is. Maybe I'm just trying to understand why a young guy would continue to act out and make his position at a club untenable. Instead of putting yourself in situations that are preventable.  As right now, I can't understand why you wouldn't just keep your head down and put your graft in on the pitch.
And I'll tell you why.

Because the alternative is that he just doesn't care, and to me that's the scariest scenario of them all.


  1. Spot on. These young men are given huge sums of money at a very age abd it does get to their heads. There should be a law as to how much they should earn at a certain age.

  2. Thank you for your comment.

    I don't know if a law is the answer. If I was their age and successful in any business, I wouldn't appreciate my earnings being restricted.
    Sometimes it appears the money isn't the problem.

    I do think some of them need better guidance in their life to ensure they make better choices and decisions.

  3. I think he is beyond help. appearing in court and saying he profession is gangster? Dragging girlfriend around by her hair?
    Only place for such an idiot is hmp