NILE Ranger was not worth the risk to keep on the books at Swindon Town, according to a supporters’ group.
On Friday night the club officially broke the news they had terminated Ranger’s contract by mutual consent with immediate effect.
The club had held a disciplinary meeting with the player on Thursday night, but would not be drawn on the outcome for 24 hours.
A brief statement on the club’s website read: “Following on from yesterday’s disciplinary meeting with Nile Ranger and his PFA representative, Swindon Town Football Club can confirm that both the club and Nile Ranger have mutually agreed to a termination of Nile’s contract with immediate effect.”
The decision draws a line under a catalogue of footballing and off-the-pitch episodes involving Ranger, including him missing training sessions.
Roger Bunce, chairman of the Swindon Town Supporters Club, said the club had been patient enough with the controversial striker.
He said: “I think this was inevitable. The football club have given him chance after chance, and it was impossible for them to keep making excuses for him.
“I think he was very lucky the club kept him on for so long, and you can understand them feeling let down by his actions.”
Ranger will be a loss to the club, Roger said, but his volatility could not be defended.
“We are going to lose his playing ability for sure, but he has all these allegations around him,” he said.
“Having released him from his contract now the club have been seen to be acting on something.
“We took a chance on him so someone else might do the same. He had the ability to score 15 or more goals this season if he had been playing regularly, but it was important to take a moral stance and cut ties now.
“If he had stayed in Swindon then people will ask why the club allowed him to. We can’t take that chance because it is not worth it.”
Justin Tomlinson, MP for North Swindon, said behaviour such as Ranger’s could not be tolerated.
“Swindon have taken the right decision in putting the club, the fans and the community first, and rightly so,” he said.
“Our footballers are role models first and foremost, and judging by recent events this was the right decision to make.”
The 23-year-old was cleared of rape charges at Newcastle Crown Court in March but will face several more court appearances this year.
Later the same month he was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage to a taxi in Liverpool, before appearing at court in Cwmbran on a drink-driving charge, although he has denied both.
The latest incident, where he was accused of criminal damage at his flat in Gordon Gardens, seems to have been the final straw for the club. The player formally pleaded not guilty at Swindon Magistrates’ Court last week.
Ranger himself will leave with no hard feelings. In a tweet posted after the announcement was made, he thanked the club publicly.
He wrote: “NOT 1 bad THING TO SAY ABOUT SWINDON FOOTBALL CLUB..
BENT OVER BACKWARDS FOR ME... GOOD CLUB!!! THANKS!”