Troubled ex-Premier League striker Nile Ranger was handed a 12- month community order today for pulling his girlfriend's hair during a row.
The 21-year-old former Newcastle United player admitted common assault on Shakira Bicar outside the city's Gate entertainment complex at around 7pm on March 13.
London-born Ranger was released by Newcastle United following a series of off-pitch problems and his solicitor said he hoped to resume his football career in the summer.
Newcastle Magistrates' Court heard that the row happened when Ms Bicar was out with a male work colleague to organise a social event.
Ranger repeatedly contacted her on her phone and the couple then argued in the street.
Witnesses heard him tell someone on the phone "I'm going to grab her".
During a struggle, she kicked his leg and he pulled her by the hair towards the Gate car park in Newcastle city centre.
Witnesses called the police and, when he was arrested, he told officers: "I grabbed her, yeah, I grabbed her."
Chairman of the Bench Chris Robinson ordered the player to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work during a 12-month community order, nine months of which will be supervised.
Ranger offered to pay the £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge immediately.
No order was made for compensation as there was a possibility of reconciliation, the court heard.
Mr Robinson said Ranger must also address "gambling issues" which were not mentioned in open court.