Birthdate: 22 January 1971
Birthplace: Stone, England
Other clubs: Stafford Rangers (1990-91), Crystal Palace (1991-92), Southend United (1992-93), Nottingham Forest (1993-95), Aston Villa (1997-2000), Fulham (loan 1999), Leicester City (2000), Bradford City (2000-01), Real Oviedo (2001)
Bought from: Nottingham Forest
Signed for LFC: £8.5m, 01.07.1995
International debut: 03.06.1995 vs. Japan
International caps: 3/0 (caps at Forest and Villa) - 10.09.1997
Liverpool debut: 19.08.1995
Last appearance: 11.05.1997
Debut goal: 19.08.1995
Last goal: 03.05.1997
Contract expiry: 13.05.1997
Win ratio: 53.09% W:43 D:20 L:18
Games/goals ratio: 2.31
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 5 / 3
LFC league games/goals: 61 / 26
Total LFC games/goals: 81 / 35
Player profileCollymore was rejected both at Walsall and Wolves because of his antics before he was given a chance with Conference club Stafford Rangers. He was spotted by John Griffin, scout at Steve Coppell's Crystal Palace, who had gone to Rangers to watch their goalkeeper, as he told the Mirror in 1997: "The keeper didn't impress me but the 6 ft. 2 in. lad built like a brick out-house playing up front for Stafford certainly did," recalled Griffin. "The Stafford manager took Collymore off at half-time but by then I had seen enough. I went back to Palace and told Steve Coppell I had just seen the best non-League player ever. He had two great feet, super skill and great strength. I couldn't find a fault." Collymore joined first division Crystal Palace for £100,000 in January 1991. Palace were promoted to the Premiership after his first full season but after only a handful of starts in 18 months Collymore dropped a division to join Barry Fry's Southend where he was a revelation scoring 18 goals in 33 games.
In 1993, Nottingham Forest coughed up £2.2 million for Collymore's services. He was a tremendous success at Forest, scoring 19 goals in 28 League games in the First Division as Forest were promoted. A huge asking price was put on his head which frightened off potential buyers like Manchester United, who bought Andy Cole instead. Collymore was doing excellently on the field but off the field the situation wasn't ideal as his former Forest boss, Frank Clark, later revealed: "I'm not sure I will live long enough to understand exactly how the boy's brain works. Some people might accuse me of treating Stan with kid gloves on most occasions. My answer would be: `You try and cope with the lad, because it's not easy'. Stan didn't really get close to his teammates. There was often a certain cool in the air. I remember him decking Alf Inge Haaland with a left hook during training. I described it as a Henry Cooper special." Forest finished third in the Premiership and Collymore scored no less than 22 League goals. In the summer of 1995 he made his England debut and a month later he had joined Liverpool for a British record of £8.5 million.
Collymore rifled in a 25-yard winner on his debut against Sheffield Wednesday: "I've had my ups and downs over the last three years, but now to come to a club like this, where they all want you to do so well, it was a bit emotional," Collymore told the press. "When the ball went in, it felt as if my head exploded. This is just why I wanted to be a footballer. Obviously there is going to be some modification in our play because my trademark is to get in behind people and to get in quite early. The way we play, sometimes we keep the ball and as the season goes on, there will be a bit of compromise between the two styles. Hopefully it will bring the best out of me and the best out of other lads." However, Collymore only scored two goals in his first seven matches and Ian Rush returned to the side to play beside main striker, Robbie Fowler. It wasn't until at the start of December when Rush was recovering from a cartilage operation that Collymore's partnership with Fowler started flourishing.
New Year's Day brought the much anticipated reunion of Collymore and Nottingham Forest at Anfield. His departure from the club had been soured by his insistence to receive 5% of his transfer fee. Forest maintained he forfeited the money by asking for a move. Forest went 2-0 up inside 20 minutes and cries of 'Judas' and 'What a waste of money' were directed by Forest fans towards their former idol. Collymore responded by setting up three goals and scoring one in a 4-2 victory and made little effort in hiding his joy in front of the Forest fans. This performance showed his strength of character and was seen as a vital turning point for his Liverpool career. After registering only four goals in the first half of the season Collymore scored 15 goals in 24 games from January onwards. The most memorable moment in his career which was later voted as the highlight of SKY Sports' ten-year coverage of the Premiership came at Anfield on 3 April 1996. Liverpool's former talisman, Kevin Keegan, had brought his Newcastle team to town and watched as a six-goal thriller came to a close. In the second minute of added time John Barnes spotted Collymore coming in from the left, passed him the ball and he blasted it into the net to drive Anfield wild! Liverpool's lethal partnership of Fowler and Collymore scored a total of 55 goals in the 1995/96 season and hopes were high that the Reds could build on their third-place finish and capture the elusive Premiership trophy next term.
At the end of September 1996 Liverpool were top of the League with six wins and two draws in their opening eight games, but no thanks to Fowler's and Collymore's scoring prowess who had only scored one apiece. Patrik Berger, who had come from Borussia Dortmund was the talk of town with four in four. Rumours of unrest relating to Collymore's attitude towards other players and refusal to move to Liverpool so he could be near his mother 80 miles away in Cannock, circulated. Collymore was honest about his struggles: "I fully admit that my form so far this season could be better," Collymore said. "I'm not about to go into the ground and start banging on the manager's door. Shouting your mouth off about being dropped is a big mistake." Come October Collymore was on the bench and linked with a move to Aston Villa. Ironically facing Forest again reignited Collymore's scoring touch. On 17 December he netted two in a 4-2 win over his old club as Liverpool went back on top of the Premiership. Seven goals in ten games followed and Collymore seemed to have finally realised what it takes to be a success on Merseyside: "If Forest had ever dropped me, I would not have been able to accept or handle the situation. At Anfield, it's different. There are 25 first-team players at the club, most of them internationals. Nobody has a divine right to selection," the much-improved Stan the Man stated. "I want the manager to know this: There isn't a single individual on the books who is more determined to be in the line-up than me. Roy Evans left me out three times before, even though I scored in each game prior to being dropped. Each time I bounced back with a goal. I have hit the target in Liverpool's last three matches. And in case people aren't getting the message, I believe I am the best partner for Robbie Fowler - over and out!" Roy Evans, who was probably sick of the ongoing drama surrounding Collymore, explained the situation in the simplest terms possible: "Stan knows the reason why he has been in and out of the team. In a word, inconsistency. It's up to him. If Stan wants to prove me wrong by sticking the ball in the net every week, I will be delighted. The rules are the same for everybody: Produce or else." Stan's inconsistency reared its ugly head again but he was far from the only Liverpool player who suffered from that condition and the club's promising season faded away.
Collymore and Fowler scored a respectable total of 47 goals in their second season together, but Collymore's mood swings and stuttering form finally outlasted Evans' patience and he was sold to Villa in a £7 million deal, Birmingham being 60 miles closer to his home than Liverpool. Roy Evans still had only good things to say about Collymore when interviewed for royevans.net in 2003: "Stan was a great lad, still is a great lad and I've always said that in his time at Liverpool, particularly the first season, he and Robbie were brilliant together. Even now if you look through Robbie's career, the best partner he's ever had was Stan. Stan did a lot of things we didn't want him to do but he had the ability to do a lot of things no one else could. But we started getting problems with him in his second year when sometimes he didn't turn up for training. You could see the other players wondering what was going on." Collymore scored one goal in his first 17 matches for Villa and left as an expensive flop three years later with only 15 goals to his name in just over 60 matches. After a short loan spell at Fulham in 1999 he was allowed to move to Leicester City on a free transfer. It wasn't long before he was on the move again, first to Bradford City in October 2000 and then to Real Oviedo in Spain in January 2001. He played only three times for the Spanish club before announcing his retirement as a player at the age of thirty. Since ending his playing career, Stan has had a very public battle against depression, had a bit-role with Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct 2 and found himself a fairly successful role as a football pundit.
Collymore's first boss, Tommy Coakley, who had him as a Walsall YTS trainee, was as so many enamoured with his talents but worried they might go to waste: "Even at 16 Stan was very much his own man, with his own ideas about absolutely everything," Coakley told the Mirror. "Sadly, most of his ideas were usually wrong and even when he was right he didn't realise hardened professionals weren't ready to listen to a kid of his age. It didn't help that he was also a very poor trainer who never realised that application was just as important as ability. I felt from day one that he'd either be one of the best players in the world or that he'd have a very short career and finish up as a nothing."
Appearances per season
A more detailed look at the player's appearances
|4||West Ham United|
|2||Paris St Germain|
Goals per season
A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring
|2||West Ham United|
From the Sunday Mirror on 17 November 1996.More
From the Mirror on 8 November 1996.More
Article by David Moore published 18 March 1999More
Article from Birmingham Post & Mail Ltd on 6 March 1998More
Article from Sunday Mirror on 22 November 1998.More
Birmingham Post report on 21.11.1998 on Aston Villa - LiverpoolMore
Press Association match report on Liverpool - Aston Villa on 22.09.1997.More
Match report on 23.03.1996 by Bill Pierce of "Press Association". More
Match report from 19.08.1995 by Martin Lipton of "Press Association". More
Liverpool and Roy Evans took an enormous chance by paying a record fee for Stan Collymore.More
"That was the lowest moment of my football career, without a doubt. I came off the pitch at the end and I was absolutely devastated. I had spoken to a journalist in the Midlands before the game and he totally stitched me up. He took my words completely out of context, saying that I called the Liverpool players "Spice Boys". That never happened."
Collymore recalls when he was booed off Anfield while playing with Villa
"I would love the chance one day to go back to Anfield, either as a fan or maybe to go onto the pitch, and say thank you to everybody because they are the most special fans in the world. To play in front of them was the best experience of my career."
Collymore reflecting on his relationship with the Kop
"Players have moods, a bit like wives, You don't quite know what they are going to do. It's very frustrating. We know the talent he's got. It's a matter of producing that all the time."
Roy Evans on Stan The Man March 1997
"Stan was a great lad, still is a great lad and I've always said that in his time at Liverpool, particularly the first season, he and Robbie were brilliant together. Even now if you look through Robbie's career, the best partner he's ever had was Stan.
Stan did a lot of things we didn't want him to do but he had the ability to do a lot of things no one else could. But we started getting problems with him in his second year when sometimes he didn't turn up for training. You could see the other players wondering what was going on."
Evans in May 2003 on royevans.net
"Obviously Stan never really settled up here. His mother has not been in the best of health and he wanted to be near her. Stan is a good player and I still think he has massive potential."
Roy Evans on 13.05.1997
"Stan only seemed to turn it on when he felt like it, and he didn't exactly endear himself to his team-mates when he was quoted in a magazine article as saying that he was disappointed with the service he was getting, and that, when he joined Liverpool, he expected to be surrounded by better players. He turned on the other players in the team when he should have been looking at himself. When the lads read what he'd said the attitude of virtually everyone in the squad was 'fuck you Stan'.
Stan didn't make any attempt to get on with the lads and, although I used to sit next to him on the coach and try and make conversation with him, I could never claim to know him. Nobody did. He'd turn up for training, do his work, get changed and go home. Not exactly conducive to good team spirit, so I think most of the lads were relieved when he was finally flogged off to Aston Villa."
If you'd been at school, he would have been the boy who ate worms.
Neil Ruddock on Collymore
"I must say it brought a lump to my throat. I've had my ups and downs over the last three years, but now to come to a club like this, where they all want you to do so well, it was a bit emotional.
When the ball went in, it felt as if my head exploded. This is just why I wanted to be a footballer. People put pressure on you and say this, that and the other but there really is no feeling like that and to be able to share it with such a genuine group of supporters and players is such a privilege for me.
Obviously there is going to be some modification in our play because my trademark is to get in behind people and to get in quite early. The way we play, sometimes we keep the ball and as the season goes on, there will be a bit of compromise between the two styles. Hopefully it will bring the best out of me and the best out of other lads."
Collymore on his dream debut for LFC vs. Sheffield Wednesday
"If I felt now that I'd be stuck at Liverpool for the next two years and just be average, and just go through the motions, I would give up football tomorrow without a doubt. At the moment I feel like - where do I go, what do I do? I certainly don't feel that by leaving me out he's taking the pressure off me. I don't know of any other industry that would lay out 8.5 million pounds on anything and then not have some plan from day one of how they're going to use it."
Stan Collymore was not too thrillled being dropped by Roy Evans
"I was being wound up all game and was getting racial abuse ... Harkness called me a coon. There were also other things said that were even worse. It was racial abuse of the worst kind and totally out of order ... It hurt me very much indeed and I am still considering whether to make an official complaint. I went out of my way to tell the black players at Liverpool what had happened. Harkness has to live with them as well as himself."
Stan Collymore made public accusations against his former colleague, Liverpool defender Steve Harkness, after playing for Aston Villa at Villa Park in March 1998
|Club||Season||Club rank||League apps||League goals||Total apps||Total goals|
|Crystal Palace||1990-1991||England First Division||6||0||6||0|
|Crystal Palace||1991-1992||England First Division||12||0||15||1|
|Crystal Palace||1992-1993||England Premier League||2||0||4||0|
|Southend||1992-1993||England First Division||30||15||33||18|
|Nottingham Forest||1993-1994||England First Division||28||19||35||25|
|Nottingham Forest||1994-1995||England Premier League||37||22||43||25|
|Aston Villa||1997-1998||England Premier League||25||6||37||8|
|Aston Villa||1998-1999||England Premier League||20||1||24||7|
|Fulham||1999-2000||England First Division||6||0||9||1|
|Leicester City||1999-2000||England Premier League||6||4||6||4|
|Leicester City||2000-2001||England Premier League||5||1||5||1|
|Bradford City||2000-2001||England Premier League||7||2||9||2|
|Real Oviedo||2000-2001||Spain 1||3||0||3||0|