With a 3-1 aggregate win in the two-legged semi-finals against Southampton, Newcastle United booked their place in this year’s Carabao Cup final. In the process, they have given themselves a chance to end their trophy drought, which dates back to 1954-55.
Their previous EFL Cup final appearance was in 1976, so a return to the headline act after close to 50 years is surely a momentous occasion for all involved.
The Tyneside club will face fellow northerners and five-time EFL Cup winners Manchester United. United’s last trophy in the competition came in 2016-17 and since that season, the club has gone trophyless.
With both teams gunning for their first piece of major silverware in recent history, the stakes are surely high for this one and there is no doubt that not one of the 90,000 seats at Wembley stadium will be left unoccupied.
The spectacle, scheduled on 26th February, has been priced ranging from £40 for adults for Category 5 seats, all the way to £100/adult for Category 1 seats. Tickets will be sold online based on certain criteria and can be purchased on various official club portals.
The criteria of eligibility for tickets are club dependent. Football clubs tend to reward those who have been loyal for a long time and have accumulated certain points based on past ticket purchases and season ticket holders.
For example, the first priority at NUFC is given to those with 25+ loyalty points and who have attended at least one Carabao cup match during this campaign. Similarly, seven more ticket allocation periods have been set by the club with decreasing expectations.
Similar restrictions and requirements exist for MUFC supporters as well, with Man Utd’s ticket allocation already sold out at the time of writing.
Needless to say, getting your hands on one ticket, let alone more is tough. And this is where scalpers come into action.
Scalpers buy tickets in bulk or from others and then resell them at higher prices in a bid to make profits. And with demand skyrocketing, there will be no ceiling for what fans are willing to pay.
Scalpers more often than not shy away from the limelight as it is an illegal activity and can result in severe punishment, but one has taken to Instagram to advertise and the identity of the person has caused major surprise and backlash.
The aforementioned person is Nile Ranger, who is himself a former Newcastle player.
At 31, Nile Ranger is a football player who is currently a free agent since leaving non-league club Boreham Wood last year.
He started his senior career at Newcastle in 2009 and has played at seven other clubs.
Ranger has also played at the national level, representing England in the U19 age group. He has 6 goals in 11 caps for his country at the youth level.
Ranger, a striker, made 51 outings for Newcastle between 2009 and 2013 and scored only two goals.
A Troubled Past
This is not the first time Nile would be flirting with the law.
As a 15-year-old, he was given an 11-week prison sentence for involvement in an armed robbery.
In 2012, he was guilty of assaulting two police officers.
In 2017, Ranger served a prison sentence for fraud. The then-Southend United footballer was sentenced to eight months for conspiracy to defraud by obtaining bank details and transferring money.
Net Worth & Decline
Once tipped a future star in England, things have gone south for Ranger. As of 2021, his net worth was estimated at around £5m.
While at Newcastle, he was earning £3,500 per week, as was revealed in an ongoing court case.
He then signed a new five-and-a-half-year contract at the club worth approximately £3.6m along with a £96,000 bonus if the club is promoted, which it eventually did. This bonus money disappeared almost in one transaction, as Nile splurged to get himself a Range Rover, against the advice of his manager.
That was just the beginning, as he raked up debts up to £70k while gambling, losing close to £4,000 in casinos daily.
Moving away from Newcastle, he found his way to Swindon, where his reported wage was £4k/week.
His next stop was Blackpool, where his wage dropped to just three figures, allegedly earning only £150/week.
Another League One club, Southend, was the next to gamble on the gambling footballer, putting him on wages of £3k/week.
He never reached the heights many thought he would, and gambling, attitude, prison and troubles with the law meant all the money he was earning was quickly taken away from him, by him.
His net worth is still a lot compared to normal standards, but given his apparent talent and the platform he had, it is a lot less than what was expected of him.
Ticket Peddling & Possible Income
Yesterday, Ranger took to Twitter and Instagram to advertise more than 100 tickets for the Wembley event.
As per the offer, Newcastle seats would cost between £2500-£3750. For Man Utd stands, the price is slightly lower, ranging from £1500-£2000.
He further justified that tickets were from a “trusted” marketplace and are legit.
But how much will he earn from this?
Let’s assume he has 50 tickets for Newcastle and United each and all are the legally costliest option available.
Newcastle tickets would have cost him £100 each, and he would shell out £5,000. Each ticket would be sold at an average of £3,000, meaning the 50 tickets would get him £1,50,000. That’s a healthy profit of £1,45,000.
A similar calculation for Manchester United gets him a profit of £82,500 and an overall sum of £2,27,500. Not bad pay for a day’s work.
It has certainly angered supporters. Scalping or peddling of tickets is illegal as is, but to see a former NUFC player do it makes matters ten times worse.
One supporter took it upon himself to report the player to the relevant people.
The official Wembley account replied as well stating how the illicit activity is not allowed and tickets bought via other sources can be cancelled.
Many others showed their disgust, to which Ranger replied stating how there are worse things to be worried about than a football game.
With a history of fraud and stints in prison, Ranger is certainly not one to be trusted. Add to that the fact that he is openly engaging in something illegal should be a hint enough that no one should purchase these tickets.
We can only hope that authorities can act on it before it’s too late and someone is inevitably duped again.