Collins during the Jody Craddock Testimonial in May 2014
|Full name||Neill William Collins|
|Date of birth||2 September 1983|
|Place of birth||Troon, Scotland|
|Height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
|Queen's Park S-Form|
|2005–2006||→ Hartlepool United (loan)||22||(0)|
|2006||→ Sheffield United (loan)||2||(0)|
|2006–2007||→ Wolverhampton Wanderers (loan)||3||(1)|
|2009–2010||→ Preston North End (loan)||16||(0)|
|2010||Preston North End||5||(1)|
|2010||→ Leeds United (loan)||9||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 08:11, 4 May 2014 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
Neill William Collins (born 2 September 1983) is a Scottish footballer, who currently plays as a defender for League One side Sheffield United. Born in Troon, Scotland, he is a former Scotland U21 and Scotland B international. Collins started his playing career in his native Scotland with Queen's Park before moving to Dumbarton. A transfer to English side Sunderland followed in 2004 but he failed to establish himself in the first team during his three-year spell on Wearside. After loan moves to Hartlepool United and Sheffield United he was loaned to Wolverhampton Wanderers, where he became a first team regular and signed a permanent deal in 2007. Following Wolves' promotion to the Premier League Collins fell out of favour and moved on loan again, this time to Preston North End, but although they signed him permanently in 2010, Collins was never a regular and quickly moved to Leeds United, with whom he won promotion to the Championship in 2010. After losing his place the following season Collins returned to Sheffield United, one of his former loan clubs, for whom he made over 100 appearances.
Collins began his career with Scottish amateur club, Queen's Park, moving to Dumbarton after two seasons. During his stay at the Strathclyde Homes Stadium, Collins became popular with the fans and had a spell as captain and was key to the Sons' battle to stay in the Second Division. During his time there he had trials with Falkirk, Hibernian, Rangers and Charlton Athletic.
Collins left Dumbarton for Sunderland in August 2004, for a fee of £25,000, and made 11 appearances during the first season as the club won promotion to the Premier League as champions. He never appeared in the top flight for them though, and was loaned out to League One side Hartlepool United, and Championship promotion hopefuls Sheffield United, during the 2005–06 season.
Collins returned to the Sunderland team at the start of the following campaign, but was forced to play in the unfamiliar role of right-back after injuries to team-mates Stephen Wright and Nyron Nosworthy. He was a regular under manager Mick McCarthy, but when McCarthy left the job, Collins was dropped by replacement manager Roy Keane.
After his loan expired, Collins joined Wolves permanently in January 2007 for a fee of £150,000. He was a regular starter for the rest of the season as the club reached the Championship play-offs. The 2007–08 season saw Wolves miss out on the play-offs on goal difference with Collins again playing regularly.
Collins started 2008–09 strongly with Wolves but was left out of the first team with the loan arrival of Michael Mancienne from Chelsea. When Mancienne returned to Chelsea in the New Year, Collins returned to the side, partnering Richard Stearman. He contributed several important goals during this period, but was soon ousted from the side again after receiving a red card for dissent at Reading and following the addition of Scottish international Christophe Berra. He remained out of the side for the remainder of the season as the club were promoted to the Premier League as champions, and was transfer listed in July 2009.
Preston North End
Early in the 2009–10 season Collins was loaned out to Championship side Preston North End, a move made permanent when he signed a three-and-a-half-year deal for an undisclosed fee in January 2010. Soon after Collins signed on a permanent basis however, manager Alan Irvine left the club, and the defender lost his place in the side under new manager Darren Ferguson.
To gain playing time, Collins moved to League One side Leeds United in March 2010, on loan for the rest of the season in a bid to help Leeds' promotion campaign. Collins made his début for Leeds when he started against Norwich City after replacing the injured Patrick Kisnorbo. He played an instrumental part as Leeds were promoted to the Championship after finishing in second place in League One, and thus being automatically promoted.
Collins signed a three-year deal with Leeds in July 2010 for an undisclosed fee, and started the Championship season as one of Leeds' first choice defenders, due to Patrick Kisnorbo still being out with a long term injury. After some indifferent performances early on in the season, Collins scored an own goal in Leeds' 5–2 defeat by Barnsley. and was dropped to the bench by the end of October.
On the following transfer deadline day, Collins signed for Sheffield United for an undisclosed fee, and made his début in a 3–0 defeat by Ipswich Town a few days later. He was a regular in defence for the remainder of the season but struggled as the team undertook an ultimately fruitless battle against relegation.
Now in League One, the 2011–12 campaign saw Collins establish an effective defensive partnership with fellow centre-back Harry Maguire, and was awarded supporters Player of the Month for September 2011. Collins scored his first goal for the Blades in February 2012, in a 1–0 victory over Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town at the Galpharm Stadium. Collins remained a mainstay of the defence but the Blades missed out on automatic promotion, losing to Huddersfield Town in the play-off final at Wembley Stadium.
With the club still in League One, Collins remained as first choice in central defence alongside Maguire, captaining the side during Michael Doyle's absence. During the first half of the season Collins began to score regularly, netting five times by the start of December as United challenged for automatic promotion. On 9 November 2012 Collins extended his current contract by a further two years until Summer 2015 with the option of another year. Collins' good form was halted when he fractured his cheekbone during a game against Scunthorpe United at the end of December, an injury that ruled him out of action for two months. By the time he returned to the first team, United's form had deteriorated and they were regularly conceding goals.
- Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Leeds United
- "Sara fails to win move". BBC Sport. 25 March 2003. Retrieved 25 March 2003.
- "Charlton want Collins". BBC Sport. 21 April 2003. Retrieved 21 April 2003.
- "Collins Deal Done". SAFC.com. 13 August 2004. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
- "Collins joins Hartlepool on loan". BBC Sport. 12 August 2005. Retrieved 12 August 2005.
- "Sheff Utd sign defender Collins". BBC Sport. 18 February 2006. Retrieved 18 February 2006.
- "Wolves loan Black Cat". Sky Sports. 2 November 2006. Retrieved 2 November 2006.
- "Sunderland's Collins joins Wolves". BBC Sport. 5 January 2007. Retrieved 5 January 2007.
- "Collins put up for sale by Wolves". Express & Star. 14 July 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
- "Preston North End sign Wolverhampton's Neill Collins". BBC Sport. 5 January 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
- "Leeds sign Preston defender Neill Collins on loan". BBC Sport. 23 March 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2010.
- "United sign central defender". Leeds United F.C. 7 July 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
- "United crash to defeat at Oakwell". Leeds United F.C. 14 September 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
- "Scunthorpe Live". Leeds United F.C. 30 October 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
- "Defender moves to Bramall Lane". Leeds United F.C. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
- "Neill nets monthly award at the Lane". The Sheffield Star. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
- "Huddersfield Town Sheffield United". BBC Sport. 14 February 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
- "Sheffield United defender Neill Collins extends contract". BBC Sport. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
- "Shaun Miller out for the season". BBC Sport. 28 December 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
- Neill Collins career stats at Soccerbase
- Sheffield United Official player profile
- Profile at Leeds United
- Profile at Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Profile at Hartlepool United
- Scouting report at The Guardian