Former Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley footballer Nile Ranger was today cleared of rape.
The 22-year-old had been accused of raping a friend in a Newcastle hotel, with prosecutors saying she was too drunk to consent to sex after a night out together.
However, Mr Ranger always said the woman had been a willing participant.
After the jury returned their verdict, following just more than an hour of deliberations, Mr Ranger banged the glass dock and said: “Thank God for that.”
He thanked the jury on his way out, before describing the proceedings as ‘a joke’.
Ranger, aged 22, made five appearances for Barnsley in the Championship in 2011, on loan from Newcastle United, before joining Sheffield Wednesday on loan later in the season.
He scored two goals in eight appearances to help the Owls win promotion out of League One.
He joined Swindon in August after Newcastle terminated his contract in March last year.