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Stanley Victor "Stan" Collymore (born 22 January 1971) is a retired footballer who was active at a senior level from 1990 until 2001.

He was at one time the British transfer record holder when he moved from Nottingham Forest to Liverpool for £8.5 million in 1995. He was capped three times at senior level by the England national football team, but did not score.

Early career

Collymore was born in Stonemarker, Staffordshire. As a young boy he supported Aston Villa, the club he continues to support to this day. A centre forward, Collymore played junior football for Penkridge Juniors before starting his career as an apprentice footballer with Walsall, and also Wolverhampton Wanderers, before being released and signing for then Conference team, Stafford Rangers. It was there he caught the eye of several football league clubs by demonstrating the ability to score spectacular goals before being given his chance as a full-time professional with Crystal Palace at the age of 19, when he signed for them in December 1990.

Crystal Palace and Southend United

After learning his trade as understudy to the prolific Crystal Palace partnership of Mark Bright and Ian Wright, Collymore dropped down a division to Southend United and there scored 18 goals in 31 games to help keep the club in the First Division (Level 2) when relegation had seemed likely.

Collymore enjoyed his time at Southend saying, "I count helping to keep Southend in the first division in my season there as one of my finest achievements."

Nottingham Forest

In June 1993, Collymore signed for Nottingham Forest in an initial £2million deal rising to £2.75million based on certain clauses being met, including an international cap. He was signed by newly-appointed Frank Clark, who had just taken over as manager at the end of Brian Clough's 18-year reign as manager. Forest had just been relegated from the Premier League, but Collymore's good form in the 1993–94 campaign helped take them back to the top flight as Division One runners-up. He scored 22 Premier League goals in 1994–95 as Forest finished third in the league and achieved UEFA Cup qualification to secure their first European campaign of the post-Heyselmarker era.

Liverpool

Collymore signed for Liverpool in June 1995 for a British record fee of £8.5million. He scored on his Liverpool debut against Sheffield Wednesday and began a two-year spell at Anfieldmarker. He scored at a ratio of a goal every other game and created many goals in a partnership with Robbie Fowler, ousting the veteran Ian Rush. He also scored two goals, including the winner against Newcastle United at Anfield in a game that was regarded as one of the most exciting in the history of the English Premier League. Indeed, it was voted by viewers of Sky Sports as the greatest sporting moment in the channel's first ten years. Collymore was at the club at a time when the club were widely labelled as Spice Boys and although Collymore claimed he was not one of them and left the club shortly after the labelling began, was often lumped with the likes of Jamie Redknapp, Jason McAteer and David James, though he constantly attempted to distance himself from associations with them, even revealing sordid details about a lack of discipline at the club, hedonistic sexual romps in hotel rooms, and the problems they all faced in his autobiography.

Despite his controversies at the club, Collymore helped Liverpool to third place in the Premier League. After two seasons at Anfield the striker was sold to Aston Villa in 1997 for £7 million, making him Liverpool's most expensive sale and Villa's most expensive signing.

Aston Villa and Leicester City

In the three years that he spent at the club, Collymore scored 15 goals but failed to hold down a regular place. Highs included being only the third Aston Villa player in history to score a hat-trick in European competition (the other two being his boyhood idols Gary Shaw and Peter Withe) and also bagging two goals against former club Liverpool in a 2-1 home victory. Poor form and Clinical Depression saw Collymore receive treatment at the Roehampton Priory Hospital for several weeks,and on his return to professional football he went on a 3 month loan to Fulham. Ultimately he was allowed by manager John Gregory to leave on a free transfer to Leicester City where under Martin O'Neill he regained some of the early form when he scored a hat trick against Sunderland in a 5-2 victory, in which Martin O'Neill went on record to describe the Leicester City side on that day, as the best side he has managed to date.

Bradford City, Real Oviedo and retirement

He moved to Bradford City in October 2000 on a free transfer. He scored an overhead kick on his debut against Leeds United in a West Yorkshire derby at Valley Parademarker on 29 October, which ended 1–1. However, Collymore celebrated in front of the visiting Leeds fans and he faced Football Association charges. He was substituted at half-time in his second game as Bradford lost 4–3 to Newcastle United in the League Cup, and missed the following game at Charlton Athletic because of flu and a sore wisdom tooth. In Collymore's absence, City lost 2–0, and manager Chris Hutchings was sacked two days later. Jim Jefferies was appointed as new City manager, and he won his first home game in charge 2–1 against Coventry City when Collymore scored Bradford's first goal. However only a month later, Collymore, and other highly-paid players Benito Carbone and Dan Petrescu were transfer-listed. Collymore was linked with various clubs, but eventually signed for Spanish Primera Liga side Real Oviedo on 31 January 2001, when he was greeted by 1,500 fans. He had played just eight games for Bradford, scoring two goals.

Collymore's debut for Oviedo was as a second half substitute away to Las Palmas on 4 February 2001, which resulted in a 1–0 defeat. He was again brought on during the second half of his home debut a week later against Villarreal, but was then dropped by coach Radomir Antić and warned to improve his fitness. He played just one more game for Oviedo, before he announced his retirement at the age of 30, on 7 March 2001, just five weeks after he had joined the Spanish club. A statement issued through his spokesman said, "Stan Collymore has decided, after discussions with his family and close friends, to give up playing professional football. He has just turned 30 and believes that the time is right to explore other career opportunities which are available to him." He was offered a chance to return to Southend United and he was also approached by Boston United and Wolverhampton Wanderers, but never made a return to football, and was also turned down for the manager's position at Bradford City, following the dismissal of Jim Jefferies in December 2001. Before the end of 2001, Oviedo began court proceedings against Collymore for breach of his contract.

Post-football career

Collymore contributed to his biography Stan: Tackling my demons with Oliver Holt which was released to critical acclaim for its portrayal of the modern footballer. In 2005 he played the character Kevin Franks in the film Basic Instinct 2 alongside Sharon Stone. It was during this stint in which he became affiliated with rapstar Ice-Cube. The rapstar encouraged Stan to pursue his life long ambition of pursuing a music career which he eventually did however the album which he produced was never picked up by any record label and merely became a free download on "villa-legends" website. Collymore is seen and heard regularly on television and radio in the UK, and owns Maverick Spirit Productions, a UK Television Production Company.

In 2007 Collymore went back to full time sports broadcasting. He summarised for Australian television on the FA Cup Final between Manchester United and Chelsea at Wembleymarker and the UEFA Champions League Final between Liverpool and AC Milan in Athensmarker.

Previously he has hosted the weekly football magazine show, Central Soccer Night on ITV Central, and commentated on the 26th Africa Cup of Nations for British Eurosport. He is also a regular commentator and studio analyst for two foreign broadcasters, GTV & SBS Sport (Australia).

Collymore was part of the BBC Radio Five Live commentary team in 2007/08 for the Champions League Final between Manchester United and Chelsea in Moscowmarker and for the station's Premier League coverage that season.

Stan is now a renowed talkSport radio station presenter where he hosts the popular phone in show, Call Collymore. He also features as an analyst on the station's matchday live programme and co-presents their evening show with Danny Kelly on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening on the football programme where he recaptured the hearts of the nation. He also writes a Monday Column for the Daily Mirror newspaper. He appears regularly as a studio guest and co-commentator for UK television channel five for the channel's UEFA Cup coverage, and co-commentated on the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup.

Financial advice and subsequent court case

On 20 October 2008, in a landmark case that may have set a precedent for cases in the future, Collymore won more than £1.5m in damages from his financial advisers, for the poor investment advice he had been given since retiring from professional football in 2001. The judge ruled that Collymore had indeed been given advice that was in breach of statutory obligations.

Controversy and infamy

Collymore spent many days on the front pages of the tabloid newspapers in 1998, the result of the disintegration of his relationship with Swedishmarker-born Britishmarker television presenter Ulrika Jonsson after it was revealed he had struck her. Collymore later courted more controversy when he was caught practising the sexual act of dogging in Cannock Chase, an accusation which was later confirmed.

References

  1. The world according to Stan Collymore | Football | guardian.co.uk
  2. http://uk.tv.yahoo.com/021028/128/dd8xq.html


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