Stanley Victor Collymore (born 22 January 1971) is an English retired footballer who was active at senior level from 1990 until 2001. He was at one time the British transfer record holder when he moved to Liverpool.
Collymore was born in Stone, Staffordshire. As a young boy he supported Aston Villa. A talented centre forward, Collymore started his career as an apprentice footballer with Walsall, and also Wolverhampton Wanderers, before being released and signing for then Conference team, Stafford Rangers, where again he caught the eye of several football league clubs by demonstrating the ability for 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.
After learning his trade as understudy to the prolific Crystal Palace partnership of Mark Bright and Ian Wright, Collymore dropped down a division to Southend United and there scored 18 goals in 31 games to help keep the club in the then First Division when the odds of relegation seemed certain.
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, Collymore signed for Nottingham Forest in a £2million deal. 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 blistering form in the 1993–94 campaign took 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.
Collymore left under a cloud and insisted that Forest had wanted to transfer him, even though the rest of the squad of players had ostracised him by then due to him causing unrest at the club, and his agent's knocking on the door of bigger clubs. He finally left for Liverpool and then started court proceedings to claim a 'loyalty bonus' which he insisted he was owed as he never wanted to leave Forest. The court case found favour for Nottingham Forest. It was written in the programme notes during the uefa cup tie (home leg) with Bayern Munich that if Collymore had won the case, he would have have pocketed the equivalent of the match gate.
Collymore signed for Liverpool in June 1995 for a British record fee of £8.5million. He scored a spectacular goal on his Liverpool debut against Sheffield Wednesday and began a fruitful, enigmatic, and controversial two-year spell at Anfield. He scored at a ratio of a goal every other game and created many goals in a partnership with Robbie Fowler. He also 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 English Premiership. Indeed, it was voted by viewers of Sky Sports as the greatest sporting moment in the channel's first ten years.
Collymore also helped Liverpool to third place in the Premiership, the club's highest position since winning the old First Division title in 1990. Undoubtedly a great footballer on his day, after two seasons at Anfield the striker was sold to Aston Villa in 1997 for £7 million, making him Liverpool's most expensive sale and Villa's most expensive signing. Collymore's time at Liverpool was ultimately unsuccesful, the player winning no trophies and being cast derogotarily as one of the infamous Liverpool Spice Boys, although to his credit Collymore did lambast the decadent culture that had reigned at his former club upon his transfer.
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 Liverpool F.C. in a 2-1 home victory, however, his fate was sealed once the infamous incident with Ulrika Jonsson during the World Cup of 1998 and was subsequently sent on a season long loan to Fulham F.C. and was ultimately sold to Leicester City where under Martin O'Neill he regained some of the early form when he scored a hat trick against Sunderland AFC in a 5-2 victory but he suffered a leg break which effectively ended his footballing career.
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 he 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 Primera 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 debut 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 courted by his former club Southend United, 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.
Collymore contributed to his biography with Oliver Holt (2004). Stan : Tackling My Demons. ISBN 0-00-719807-8. which was released to critical acclaim for its portrayal of the modern footballer. In 2005 he played the character Kevin Franks in the film Basic Instinct 2 alongside Sharon Stone. Collymore is seen and heard regularly on television and radio in the UK, and owns Maverick Spirit Productions, a UK Television Production Company.
In 2007 Collymore went back to full time sports broadcasting. He summarised for Australian television on the FA Cup Final between Manchester United and Chelsea at Wembley and the UEFA Champions League Final between Liverpool and AC Milan in Athens.
Collymore is a regular on BBC Radio 5 Live's Monday night club, as a sumariser on BBC Radio 5 live's Premier League coverage and writes a Monday Column for the Daily Mirror newspaper. Since November 2007 he has hosted the weekly football magazine show Central Soccer Night on ITV Central, and has commentated on the 26th African Cup of Nations for British Eurosport. He is also a regular commentator and studio analyst for two foreign broadcasters, GTV (Ghana) & SBS Sport (Australia).
Collymore was part of the BBC Radio Five Live commenatary team for the Champions League Final between Manchester United and Chelsea F.C. in Moscow but has since joined talkSPORT to co-present their evening show with Danny Kelly and co-commentate on their Premier League and Champions League coverage. He has also stood in for Alan Brazil on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show alongside Ronnie Irani. He has appeared as a studio guest for five.
Collymore spent many days on the front pages of the tabloid newspapers in 1998, the result of the disintegration of his relationship with Swedish-born British television presenter Ulrika Jonsson after it was revealed he had struck her. Collymore later courted more controversy when he was caught practicing the sexual act of dogging, an accusation which was later confirmed.