Stan Collymore (born Staffordshire, England, 22nd January 1971)
was a skilful and controversial footballer of the 1990s who has
become as well known for his off-field activities.
A talented and bulky centre forward, Collymore started his
career in the non-league game with Stafford Rangers before being
given his chance as a full-time professional with Crystal Palace
at the age of 19.
Unable to get regular football, Collymore dropped down the
divisions to Southend United and there scored a huge amount of
goals to the extent that he was given a second chance in top-flight
football by Nottingham Forest. Despite rumours of a spat with
team-mates, Collymore's goalscoring record with Forest was so
phenomenal that Liverpool came in for him with a club record bid
of 8.5 million pounds.
Collymore scored a spectacular goal on his Liverpool debut and
began a fruitful, enigmatic and controversial two year spell
with the club. Highs included scoring frequently in a superb
partnership with Robbie Fowler and winning two caps for England;
lows saw Collymore fined after refusing to play for the
reserves, refusing to move closer to Merseyside from his home
town of Cannock, publicly criticising manager Roy Evans and his
tactics, and playing badly in the 1996 FA Cup final against
Manchester United during which Collymore was substituted and
Liverpool lost 1-0.
Though undoubtedly a great footballer on his day, Collymore
proved more trouble than he was worth at Liverpool and he was
sold to his boyhood club Aston Villa in 1997 after the emergence
of Michael Owen through Liverpool's ranks. Collymore's time at
Villa was eventful only off the pitch, with his long-term
treatment for depression earning him lack of understanding and
lots of ridicule from manager John Gregory, successor to Brian
Little who had brought Collymore to the club.
Collymore tried again with Leicester City but immediately got
embroiled in an incident involving a fire extinguisher during
some hi-jinks on a club break abroad. He was then taken on by
Bradford City but was quickly paid off when the financially-pressured
club needed to slash their wage bill.
Thereafter Collymore signed for Real Oviedo in Spain but quit
before he started, incurring the wrath of the club who began
legal action against him. Collymore then decided to retire at
the young footballing age of 30.
Collymore became a national hate figure when he admitted to
punching girlfriend and popular television presenter Ulrika
Jonsson during an argument in Paris in 1998 when the couple were
out watching the World Cup. Jonsson herself was photographed
with bruises from the attack on show.
After he finished playing, Collymore took up a role as a
summariser for BBC Radio 5 Live and showed promise at the job,
proving his long-time assertion that he was far more intelligent
and articulate than the majority of footballers, but was then
relieved of his duties after publicly admitting that he took
part in open-air sexual activity known as dogging.