|Full name||Stanley Victor Collymore|
|Date of birth||22 January 1971|
|Place of birth||Stone, Staffordshire, England|
|Height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|1999||→ Fulham (loan)||6||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Stanley Victor Collymore (born 22 January 1971) is an English former footballer who played as a centre-forward from 1990 to 2001. He held the English transfer record when he moved from Nottingham Forest to Liverpool for £8.5 million in 1995 and was capped three times at senior level by the England national football team. He is currently a football pundit.
Collymore was born in Stone, Staffordshire to a Barbadian father and English mother.. As a young boy he supported Aston Villa. A centre forward, Collymore played junior football for Cannock Peelers and 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 nearly two years of learning his trade as understudy to the prolific Crystal Palace partnership of Mark Bright and Ian Wright, Collymore dropped down a division in the autumn of 1992 to sign for Southend United and there scored 18 goals in 31 games to help keep the club in Division One (now Championship) 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."
In June 1993, he signed for Nottingham Forest in an initial £2 million deal rising to £2.75 million 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-Heysel era.
Halfway through the 1994–95 season, Collymore came close to joining Manchester United. Alex Ferguson was looking for a younger striker to sign as a possible long term successor to the 31-year-old Mark Hughes, and had identified Stan Collymore and Andy Cole as the two players who best fitted the bill. For a while it seemed certain that Collymore was on his way to Old Trafford, but United signed Cole instead and Collymore remained at the City Ground until the end of the season, by which time Newcastle United, Liverpool and Everton were in the hunt for his signature.
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Collymore signed for Liverpool in June 1995, for an English record fee of £8.5 million. He scored on his Liverpool début against Sheffield Wednesday and would spend two years at Anfield. He scored at a ratio of a goal every 2.5 games and created many goals in a partnership with Robbie Fowler, ousting the veteran Ian Rush. He 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 Premier League – a game which helped severely dent Newcastle's title challenge (which they had led by 10 points at Christmas 1995) and eventually hand the title to Manchester United. In 2003, it was voted by viewers of Sky Sports as the greatest sporting moment in the channel's first ten years.
At the end of his first season with Liverpool, Collymore and Fowler's partnership was one of the most feared attacking partnerships in the Premiership (having plundered 55 goals between them), while Collymore had also received an International call up. Collymore was in the Liverpool side for the FA Cup Final, but was substituted in favour of Ian Rush (in his final appearance for Liverpool) in the 74th minute with the match still goalless, and watched from the sidelines when Manchester United's Eric Cantona fired home the winning goal with five minutes left on the clock. It would be the closest that Collymore would come to winning a major trophy in his playing career.
In the following season, Collymore again scored double digits and created several goals, as the team went closest to winning the Premier League title in the 1990s. At the time, Collymore was tainted together with teammates for the rise of a Spice Boys culture at the club, while on the pitch, his partnership with Fowler was not as prolific, and several off field issues arose that saw him in and out of the side, dropped by manager Roy Evans, and with Patrik Berger and later Michael Owen taking his place in the attack; with a move back to the Midlands planned for him at the end of the season.
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 at the time, 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 Priory Hospital Roehampton for several weeks, and on his return to professional football he went on a three-month loan to Fulham, where he scored once in the League Cup against West Bromwich Albion.
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 O'Neill went on record to describe the Leicester City side on that day, as the best side he has managed to date. Another highlight was scoring in a win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. He was however cup-tied for the 2000 Football League Cup Final.
The Daily Telegraph wrote in 2004: "...that Until Wayne Rooney came along, Collymore was as naturally talented an individual as British football has produced in 40 years. According to John Gregory, one of his many former managers, he 'had everything Thierry Henry has got and more'. His tragedy, as director John Moulson's fascinating portrait of him revealed, was to be totally unsuited temperamentally to the business into which his enormous skills led him. The concept of being a team player was way beyond someone so self-absorbed."
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 Parade on 29 October, which ended 1–1. However, Collymore celebrated in front of the visiting Leeds fans and subsequently 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 La 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 début 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.
After an impressive debut season in the Premier League, Collymore was called up to Terry Venables' England squad for the Umbro Cup in June 1995. He made his début at Wembley Stadium against Japan, partnering Alan Shearer in a 2–1 win. He won his second cap as a 90th minute substitute against Brazil.
On 20 October 2008, Collymore won more than £1.5 million 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 been given advice that was in breach of statutory obligations.
Collymore had a relationship with Ulrika Jonsson which ended after he punched her in The Auld Alliance bar in Paris on 9 June 1998 on the eve of the Scotland v Brazil opening football match at the 1998 FIFA World Cup. Since talking in 1999 for the first time about his experience of depression, he has supported the charity Depression Alliance.
He is a supporter of Republic, a campaign group that campaigns for an elected UK head of state.[not in citation given] He supported the Labour Party before leaving them for the Scottish National Party in December 2015 after a notable minority of Labour MPs supported airstrikes in Syria.
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