Q. What's the difference between Stan Collymore and God?
A. God doesn't think he's Stan Collymore.
Born on the 22nd January 1971 in Staffordshire, association football player Stanley Victor Collymore has managed to upset more people in this country almost any other sportsman. After joining Wolves as a trainee in 1989 he played for Stafford Rangers, Crystal Palace and Southend before joining Nottingham Forest in the summer of '93 for £2m. However, even at this early stage of his career originally nicknamed Stan 'the Man' was reported to be deeply unpopular, with rumours of feuds with half the 'Palace squad.
At Nottingham Forest he confirmed his growing reputation as a deadly finisher, scoring 41 goals in 65 games. He also confirmed his reputation as a disruptive influence with quarrelling with team-mates leading to Forest fans turning against him. It was obvious he couldn't stay long and was transferred for a then British record £8.5m to Liverpool in July 1995.
At Liverpool Stan found himself competing for first team football with Kop heroes Robbie Fowler and Ian Rush. Although he was scoring goals he was unsurprisingly slow to settle at the club, publicly criticising Roy Evans in a magazine interview. Things got better for a while but when a young Michael Owen appeared onto the scene Collymore lost his place, his temper (he refused to play for the reserves) and was transferred to Aston Villa.
Great things were expected from Villa when Stan arrived for a then club record £7m (he supported the club as a child) but his form was initially disappointing. When he regained it, he was arrested for attacking an ex-girlfriend on Christmas Eve 1997. Eventually Villa ran out of second-chances for Stan and he left the club on a free transfer.
After Villa Stan played for Leicester and Bradford before moving to Spanish club Real Oviedo where it was hoped he could get away from his reputation. However after just two months he announced his immediate retirement from playing the beautiful game.
Collymore played for England three times without scoring.