Southend United have managed to sign a player who is currently awaiting trial for affray, assault and GBH, according to reports.
That man is midfielder Jacob Mellis, who was sacked by Chelsea for setting off a smoke grenade and is now set to go on trial with the club fighting to keeper their place in the Football League.
The 30 year old is on bail and due in court in March, charged with affray, assault and causing grievous bodily harm, but has managed to secure a deadline day signing.
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✍️ We’re delighted to announce the signing of experienced midfielder Jacob Mellis on a permanent deal from Gillingham!
— Southend United (@SUFCRootsHall) February 1, 2021
In January last year, Mellis pleaded not guilty to all the charges relating to an incident in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire on the 16th of August, 2019.
The trial at Nottingham Crown Court was set for 30th of November, however was postponed until the 1st of March because of the pandemic.
His co-accused Dion Donohue, was also sacked by the Stags in the wake of the alleged assaults, pleaded guilty to the charges of affray, GBH and assault.
Mellis has now made the switch from Gillingham to Southend, on a deal until the end of the season and includes an option of extending his stay for a further year.
In March 2012, Mellis was axed by Chelsea after setting off a smoke grenade at the club’s Cobham training ground, causing a full-scale evacuation of the centre.
Mellis had made one Champions League appearance for Chelsea having come through the club’s academy.
He’s also had spells on loan with Southampton and Barnsley whilst at Chelsea before making a permanent switch to the Tykes in 2012 and made 89 appearances, scoring eight goals, before joining Blackpool and then Bury in 2015.
He endured two seasons at Gigg Lane, scoring three times in 69 games and then, following the expiration of his contract, made the move to Mansfield Town in 2017.
Mellis play 102 times for them, scoring five goals before joining up with Steve Evans again at Gillingham at the start of the 2020/21 season, with a short spell at Bolton Wanderers before the 2019/20 season was curtailed.
Controversial striker Nile Ranger could also be returning to Southend after a lengthy period out of the professional game.
He was a Shrimper a while back, before he was jailed for eight months for online banking fraud in May 2017 after one woman he targeted lost more than £2,000 from a scam. He served 10 weeks of the sentence.
He was released by the League Two club in January 2018 for poor time-keeping but has been training with the club in recent weeks and manager Mark Molesley is keen to get him playing again.
‘I’ve been working with Nile behind the scenes away from the group,’ Molesley said at the weekend.
‘We’ve put him on a fitness programme and he’s worked really hard. But it will be up to Nile Ranger.
‘If he wants to carry on and work hard there might be an offer for him. It’s still early days but he has been working hard.’
Fans reacted as Southend sign a player awaiting trial for affray, assault and GBH…
@GillsInTheBlood: I liked what I saw of him when he was fit, the big concern though would be a knee injury he picked up in the autumn. Was meant to keep him out all season, he’s then come back early & had the odd cameo but broken down again I would assume as he’s missed recent squads.
@NathanEdge94: Top signing tbf if you keep him out of trouble
@GrahamP82387717: He’s got an outstanding Crown Court appearance pending, I hope you’ve done your due diligence
@djmikejolly: He’ll get on well with Ranger then.
@Julian_1966: Kicked out of Chelsea for setting off a smoke grenade at their training ground, has previous for domestic assault, and is currently on Crown Court bail awaiting trial for GBH, Common Assault and Affray… Sounds a pleasant lad. Very much experienced in this department with Ranger
@TonyRAgg: We love a player with a bit of previous don’t we…
@JakeLander: Knew about the smoke grenade but the other bits mad. Typical Southend.
@darrenshort14: We could have 2 players in prison before the season finishes
@Jack_Sargeant1: We love a bad boy don’t we
@rajdstubbs: He and Nile Ranger should get on like a house on fire.. or set a house on fire.
@__jacklawrence: Mellis and Ranger. Hopefully we can bring in Adam Johnson