The British record transfer of Stan Collymore came about in a funny way:
The receptionist at a holiday hotel in St. Lucia looked slightly puzzled when she took down a telephone message for Liverpool manager Roy Evans. It said: "The Man from Del Monte would like to say Yes."
When Roy read the coded message, which had been delivered to his room, he was estatic. It meant his major summer target, Stan Collymore, had agreed to join the Reds. And 24 hours earlier Roy had interrupted his family holiday in the Caribbean to fly to London for talks with the Nottingham Forest striker.
Roy Evans; "The cloak-and-dagger stuff was necessary, even if it did give people the impression that I was a dealer in canned fruit! We didn't want the news broadcasting until he had actually put pen to paper. He was the man we wanted and the market price had to be met. Other clubs were also bidding. I believe a great relationship will be built up between Stan and our supporters."
Stan was cool about his transfer fee, but seemed happy enough he had chosen Liverpool over Everton.
"I didn't want to look back at my career and say I hadn't achieved as much as I might have done. That's one of the reasons I came here. I want to win things and I do believe I can do that sooner rather than later with Liverpool. I met Joe Royle [at Everton] and was very impressed with him. He spoke about a lot of things which appealed to me, but the fact that the new lads at Liverpool are so good really swayed my decision."
To say that Collymore was controversial among fans and his team-mates is an understatement. Neil Ruddock, no angel himself, mind you, had a strong opinion on him: "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."
Roy Evans reflects on the big chance he took on Collymore: "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."
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