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Thursday, 26 October, 2000, 09:18 GMT 10:18 UK
Bradford swoop for Collymore
Stan Collymore
Stan Collymore has been given a new opening by Chris Hutchings
Premiership strugglers Bradford City have signed Stan Collymore from Leicester City on a free transfer.

The controversial former Liverpool and Aston Villa striker has signed a contract to the end of the current season.

The dramatic signing could prove a make or break deal for manager Chris Hutchings, who has been warned by chairman Geoffrey Richmond to improve results or face the axe.

Collymore's career with Leicester has been in doubt since his dressing-room bust-up with Trevor Benjamin in a reserve team encounter 10 days ago.

Stan Collymore (left) and Peter Taylor
Collymore and Leicester manager Peter Taylor had a well-publicised bust-up

Bradford chairman Richmond confirmed: "We have sifgned him to the end of this season with an option for a further season.

"He has trained hard and could be involved in Sunday's game against Leeds."

Leicester insisted the deal had not yet been finalised, though press spokesman Bob Walker said: "We are confident the deal will go through later today."

Collymore had already fallen out with manager Peter Taylor, who criticised his attitude after his request for a longer contract with improved terms had been rejected the week before the start of the season.

Taylor responded by axing Collymore from his squad for the UEFA Cup game with Red Star Belgrade in Vienna after he described his performance against Everton as "not acceptable for a professional footballer".

Taylor was willing to tear up Collymore's contract and allow him to leave for nothing - a move that the former Liverpool and Aston Villa player initially agreed with.

But then his advisors told him instead to go on the transfer list and since that juncture he has been frozen out of City's first team plans.

The alleged bust-up with Benjamin following a first-half altercation between the pair was the last straw for Taylor who desperately wanted Collymore to show his best form.

Stan Collymore
Collymore celebrates a goal for Aston Villa, but has had little to cheer about at Leicester

He had hoped to pair Collymore with his summer-signing Ade Akinbiyi but such a move never materialised with Darren Eadie preferred up front.

Leicester paid nothing for Collymore as they were only scheduled to splash out 250,000 to Villa if he made 25 appearances.

But Collymore fell well short of that figure after breaking his leg against Derby in March after an explosive start to his Filbert Street career with a hat-trick against Sunderland.

He had indicated to Taylor that he wanted to end his career abroad after going on the list but has been given a life-line in the Premiership by Bradford boss Hutchings.

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