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Last Updated: Friday, 5 March, 2004, 17:19 GMT
Faces of the week
Faces of the Week

Our regular look at some of the faces which have made the news this week. Above are Stan Collymore (main picture), with Lord Woolf, Jodie Kidd, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Michael Eisner.


Stan Collymore's admission that he's been "dogging" - having sex with strangers in public places - is the latest chapter in a sorry saga of how a potentially brilliant career came to grief.

What makes Stan tick? Successive football managers have tried in vain to fathom that mystery. Dropped by BBC Radio Five Live's rota of expert match summarisers, and faced by the possibility of the end of his marriage, Collymore's life is in turmoil once more.

"I've been to dogging sites maybe a dozen to 15 times and, yes, I have taken part and had sex," the former England international admitted this week.

He had been "trapped" by two Sun reporters at a car park a few miles from the luxury home in Cannock, Staffordshire, that Collymore shares with his 26-year-old wife, Estelle, and their daughter.

"My only hope is that the people I know and love can find it in their hearts to forgive me," he said.

Stan is different - he's intelligent and doesn't suffer stupid people gladly
Barry Fry, Collymore's manager at Southend
Collymore's representative, Simon Kennedy, says that "fundamentally, he is not a bad egg". At the same time, few will deny that Collymore has left a bad odour in many a football dressing room.

For several years, his undoubted talent overcame the doubts of managers, but disappointment and disillusionment frequently trailed in the wake of the Collymore caravan.

At Walsall, Tommy Coakley took on Collymore as a trainee, but recalled: "Even at 16, Stan was very much his own man, with his own ideas about absolutely everything. Sadly, most of his ideas were usually wrong.

"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."

Collymore in 1996
Stan Collymore in his Liverpool days
Collymore joined the Conference side, Stafford Rangers, and was then signed by Crystal Palace, but left after taking offence at taunts over his Midlands accent.

Next stop Southend, where his goals helped to save the Shrimpers from relegation before he moved on to Nottingham Forest.

Collymore repaid Forest's 2m fee as they were promoted to the Premiership. In two seasons, his pace and power brought him 49 goals. But instead of hugs, there was a bizarre absence of congratulations from his team-mates, reflecting tense relations in the dressing-room.

Unpopular player

In 1995, Collymore became the UK's most expensive signing, when Liverpool bought him for 8.5m. But his poor work-rate, reluctance to train and outspoken criticism of everyone but himself ensured his departure from Anfield.

Punched: His ex, Ulrika Jonsson
Aston Villa, Leicester, Bradford and Spanish side Real Oviedo also experienced the Collymore enigma.

Collymore, it seemed, had an extraordinary capacity for falling out with people: managers, team-mates, fans and women.

In the most notorious of several incidents, he kicked and punched his then girlfriend, Ulrika Jonsson, in a Paris bar. He told friends he would never get over Jonsson, who was "driving him round the bend".

He has regularly received counselling at the Priory clinic in south-west London, and is reported to be currently attending more sessions.

He's so lazy, he wouldn't run the length of your living-room for the team
Former Leicester player, Steve Claridge
As Leicester City players face legal proceedings in Spain, we are inevitably reminded that in 2000, the whole squad was thrown out of La Manga after Collymore let off a fire extinguisher in a hotel bar.

Any fan who saw Collymore at his irresistible best would not dispute that he could have been a shining light on the world stage. Instead, he was a brief glimmer in the domestic leagues.

At 33, he should be savouring the memory of a glorious career. Instead, he must renew his search for psychological well-being.

Lord Woolf: Savaging government legal plans

The most senior judge in England and Wales has blasted the government over its proposed reforms to the legal system. Lord Woolf, the Lord Chief Justice, said that replacing the current Law Lords with a Supreme Court would create a "second class institution". During a speech at Cambridge University, Lord Woolf also said that plans to limit the right of appeal for asylum seekers was "fundamentally in conflict with the rule of law".

Gun terror: Jodie Kidd

Supermodel Jodie Kidd has been shot at while chasing an armed intruder from her family's mansion in Barbados. Kidd, 25, was reportedly in bed with her boyfriend when she awoke to find a man with a gun standing over her. A friend told the Sun newspaper: "She screamed to raise the alarm and the pair chased him from the house. But he started firing shots at them. They both dived to the ground and luckily were not hurt."

Protests: Disney's Michael Eisner

The Walt Disney entertainment empire, which includes ABC television, film studios and theme parks, has found itself in a bigger flap than Dumbo's ears. At a stormy meeting, the company's top executive, Michael Eisner, was forced to relinquish the post of chairman after 43% of shareholders voted against him. Eisner, who is currently fighting a hostile takeover bid from the cable TV giant, Comcast, will remain Disney's chief executive.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel: Bridge uncovered

An historic bridge designed by the Victorian-era engineer visionary has been saved from demolition after being rediscovered near London's Paddington Station. The perfectly-preserved bridge, the oldest of only eight surviving Brunel iron bridges, dates from the 1830s, and would have been destroyed as part of a road improvement scheme. However, English Heritage and Westminster City Council pinpointed and dismantled the bridge, which will now be restored.


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