PERHAPS it was somewhat inevitable Nile Ranger’s spell at Southend United would be cut short in controversial circumstances.

After all, leopards don’t change their spots and past history suggested Nile’s arrival was always going to be a decision which backfired.

But delve a little deeper and the whole situation was not as simple as that.

I’ll be honest and admit I didn’t want Blues to sign Nile back in 2016.

I had seen the damning headlines along with the long list of misdemeanours on Wikipedia and decided I didn’t want someone like that at my hometown club.

Now, Nile will be the first to admit some of his past actions cannot be defended but when I actually met him I was pleasantly surprised.

He wasn’t the rude, brash, arrogant character I was expecting and was in fact quite good company and always very polite.

However, some people in life seem to continually be able to find a self-destruct button and Nile certainly falls into that category.

The striker had gone two years without kicking a ball before teaming up with the Shrimpers and knew he was in the last chance saloon at Roots Hall.

He constantly talked the talk where that was concerned but was never able to walk the walk for a long enough period.

Despite that, there were glimpses of his quality and the way he destroyed Sheffield United on his debut last season will live long in the memory.

But for every high there was a low and a few months later came a serious breach of club discipline.

Due to legal reasons I can’t say much more other than Nile was lucky to escape a lengthy ban and to also have the club stand by him.

That was the case again in the summer when he was sent to prison after pleading guilty to online fraud.

The crime took place before Nile’s time with Blues but chairman Ron Martin still decided to keep him and could not have done more to have helped the forward turn things around.

Ron met with members of Nile’s family on several occasions in a bid to get him back on track and went above and beyond what was necessary to keep him on the straight and narrow.

Ultimately, however, you can only help people who want to be helped and Nile became more of a problem this season.

The striker was continuously late for training sessions and matches and his lack of professionalism frustrated those around him.

Manager Phil Brown opted to leave Nile out of the squad at MK Dons for time-keeping issues and it’s my understanding it was a similar story at Scunthorpe in December despite the official reason being given as an illness.

Many of Nile’s team-mates also became annoyed by his behaviour and the club were also concerned by the effect his actions were having on the younger members of the squad.

Had Nile been performing on the pitch then the club may have been more tolerant.

But Nile struggled to hit top form and netted just twice in 21 appearances before the decision was taken to terminate his contract.

The striker can have no complaints about being released from Roots Hall and is probably fortunate it had not happened before now.

However, where Nile goes from here remains to be seen.

I don’t know him well enough away from football to suggest what needs to be done for him to turn things around.

Whether or not he will get another opportunity is open to debate and so too is the fact whether or not he deserves one.

But right now it seems Nile’s career will be filed under wasted talent and that could be up there with his biggest crime of all.