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Wednesday, 7 March, 2001, 16:37 GMT
Collymore quits football
Stan Collymore has announced his retirement from football at the age of 30 - to the surprise of current club Real Oviedo.
The controversial Collymore is quitting the game only five weeks after attempting to resurrect his career by signing for the Spanish Primera Liga club.
A statement released through his spokesman Ian Monk 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 also wants to spend as much time as possible with his family, in particular his son Thomas and his fiance Estelle.
"Stan will always be grateful to the many people in football who have helped and supported him throughout his career.
Monk added: "The message has been passed to Oviedo by Stan's lawyer and they respect the honesty of his decision. They have nothing but positive thoughts towards Stan.
"Stan feels he has had a great run in the game. There have been ups and downs, but he has done what he wanted to do.
"He has a great talent and has excited thousands of fans, but now he wants to pursue other avenues."
Collymore is believed to be considering a move into the media once the surprise of his retirement has died down.
"It really is an amazing situation. He seemed to like it here and treated his move to Spain as a new chapter in his football career.
"Nothing like this has ever happened to Oviedo. It seems like only yesterday we presented him to the fans. Our fans took to him as their new hero."
Collymore made several attempts to rescue a career that went off the rails following his £8.5m move to Liverpool in the summer of 1995 - a British record at the time.
He had unfulfilling spells as a youngster at Wolves and Crystal Palace, before flourishing under the paternal guidance of Barry Fry at Southend United.
Collymore then landed a £2m move to Nottingham Forest, where he scored 45 goals in two seasons, helped the club to promotion and performed brilliantly in the Premier League before earning an England call-up.
He was still surrounded by controversy at The City Ground, occasionally alienating his team-mates to the extent that they refused to congratulate him when he scored.
Merseyside rivals Liverpool and Everton both agreed the British record fee with Forest, but Collymore chose Anfield believing it would further his international ambitions.
He was not a failure at Anfield but was in trouble for attacking the club and its methods in a magazine article, and also refusing to play for Liverpool's reserves.
Liverpool boss Roy Evans eventually ran out of patience after two seasons, and Aston Villa boss Brian Little was tempted to pay £7m for the striker who claimed he was joining his boyhood heroes.
It was the beginning of the end for Little, and his successor John Gregory swiftly decided he did not want Collymore before selling the striker to Leicester City for £500,000.
He was swiftly in trouble for letting off a fire extinguisher in a bar on a club trip to Spain, but also showed signs of recapturing his best form at Filbert Street.
But he fell foul of Peter Taylor after he succeeded Martin O'Neill - and now he is in the wilderness via Bradford City and Oviedo.
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