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Joe Jones
Joe Jones

Joe Jones: I would rather Notts County miss out on promotion than sign Nile Ranger

We're edging towards the end of February and Notts County's forward problems continue following the backfiring of our January gamble.

Bringing Mason Bennett in on loan seemed a great idea at the time, given he's a highly rated and clearly talented footballer, very much admired by most fans of his parent club Derby.

Unfortunately, Bennett is also injury prone, something which plenty of Rams fans I spoke to mentioned in sighing tones - were it not for his injury issues, he would probably be an established first-team despite his young age.

And he showed his quality on his Notts debut against Crewe, getting the final goal in a superb 4-1 win, but then, the harsh reality of his injury record kicked in as he had to be taken off early on against Barnet with a hamstring problem, on which he has needed an operation.

It's a bad situation for all three parties - Bennett is injured and must now go through the healing and rehabilitation process, Derby will be gutted to see one of their most talented youngsters suffer another setback, and Notts are back to square one in terms of their striker conundrum.

So we have Shola Ameobi and Jon Stead, who simply haven't got the legs to do 90 minutes week in week out (sometimes twice a week); Jonathan Forte, who remains overlooked by Nolan and, if we're being especially critical, hasn't had the same impact as a starter as he does off the bench; Lewis Alessandra, who hasn't got the quality in front of goal and finishing touch of a centre-forward; Callum Saunders, who is too raw and inexperienced to be thrown in at the deep end now; and Alan Smith, the footballing equivalent of using a plaster to fix an amputation.

With the transfer window now closed and the emergency loan system very kindly phased out by the suits up top, that leaves us having to root through the dumpster that is the free agent market in order to find somebody.

Maybe that's a little harsh - after all, Shola Ameobi was snapped up last February after the transfer window closed, but Ameobi has always been a model professional who was unsure whether to hang up his boots until former teammate Nolan persuaded him to link up with Notts, and his attitude at the club has been superb ever since signing on the dotted line.

This year, the free agent market is noticeably less impressive, and a name that Nolan has mentioned in terms of prospective signings should ring alarm bells among all the fans.

Nile Ranger. The talented, prodigious forward who could now be leading the line for Newcastle United, and perhaps England, but who instead finds himself without a club after being dismissed by Southend United due to "reoccurring disciplinary issues".

Now, I'm very much one who believes in second chances in any walk of life, and if an individual is genuinely remorseful and shows proper contrition, they should be given another shot instead of being thrown onto the scrap heap, which as a society we are quick to do.

Ranger has been given numerous chances by clubs in hope that he could have knuckled down and delivered as per his talent, but every time, it's simply not happened, hence why a player who should be gracing the higher leagues now finds himself without a club.

Even if we discount the multiple charges he's had over the last 10 years, some of which have resulted in convictions (the latest just last year for online banking fraud, which resulted in him being tagged and not being able to play evening games due to a curfew), there's also the general attitude issues.

Do Notts really want a player who has celebrated a goal by using his boot to mimic a machine gun, or whose timekeeping and disciplinary issues led to his latest club cancelling a contract midway through the season despite having committed to 2020 just a year earlier?

And yes, Alan Hardy did confirm on Twitter today that Ranger "was on a list, along with several others, but none of those are being pursued", which seemingly puts paid to that speculation, but let's not forget how Liam Noble wasn't "being pursued" either.

So no. Personally I would not like to see Ranger signed by Notts, where he could risk disrupting the dressing room and potentially making the wrong headlines, which by proxy means Notts will make the wrong headlines, before an unceremonious mid-season cutting of ties further down the line.

And aside from that, there's got to be a level of principle in the club. And I would personally rather see Notts not get a reinforcement and run the risk of not getting promoted than giving a chance to a player who's spurned far too many over the years.

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It's bizarre, really...

I'd be the first to admit if it worked out that I was wrong, however I think his track record shows what kind of a player and person he is. If he causes trouble, not only will it look bad on the club but it will be a negative thing for the dressing room. Considering we need focus, Nile Ranger doesn't seem the person we need.

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This won't be popular , sorry in advance but its my opinion , I'm for giving people a chance till the penny drops , he has had plenty of opportunities that is true , he wouldn't be my choice either but in all circumstances that we have , I would take a gamble , give him the chance at notts a good club with excellent standards and with people around him who know him who maybe can reach him , if it doesn't work then we have tried also , it would not look bad on notts in my view for giving someone a chance and trying to help them and themselves naturally .

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9 minutes ago, Who r ya?? You Pies!! said:

I would take a gamble , give him the chance at notts a good club with excellent standards

Did none of the clubs before us not have excellent standards?

He is the type of person who would laugh at gullible fans, I hope we don't take this any more seriously. He has shown that people have worked with him and he lets them down.

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People change , he hasn't true to say this far maybe never will , I can't say he will anymore than anyone can say he won't , and I'm not as green as ya may think either , certainly not gullible , I guess the goals did it for many where Hughes was concerned , some would say no comparison , I would say really !! 

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