It’s been another tumultuous week in the short life of Manchester City football club, not least when Pep Guardiola became embroiled in the latest of a number of manager/pundit/ex-player spats. What this has shown, apart from the fact that the media likes to stir up spats – no surprise there – is that ex-player pundits seem to have remarkably thin skins, getting irate even at non-existent sleights.
If you can’t take it, don’t hand it out. Players have freedom of speech the last I heard.
At City, a short clip, little longer than a vine, was misinterpreted as Pep having a dig at Mr Collymore, and the rest of the narrative took care of itself.
I thought it might be useful therefore, as Pep no doubt follows my work keenly, to give him a quick rundown on who Stan Collymore is, and the huge cultural impact he has and continues to have, to life in the UK for us all.
Of course as mentioned there was no put down from Pep in the press conference really – he seemed simply confused by the question put to him – damn those Spaniards and their lack of pronouns. After all, I’m pretty sure he is not a devout disciple of Stan’s Mirror opinion pieces, unlike the rest of us. He will though have immersed himself in British culture since arriving on our shores, so will no doubt have come across Stan Collymore on his travels.
You can insert your own punchline.
Stan considers himself a journalist, and an esteemed one at that, he’s won awards and stuff so it’s rather surprising, by which I mean not remotely surprising in any shape or form, that he didn’t do some fact checking before his entirely predictable hit back. Never mind, I’m sure Pep’s not losing any sleep. I’d suggest Pep googles Stan Collymore himself, to get a better insight to the man, the legend, but on second thoughts, that’s probably not a good idea.
So instead, here’s a brief overview for Pep. Take it all in so that you don’t embarrass yourself again in the future.
The name Stanley is derived from the old English word for stone clearing – this clearing could be anywhere, be it next to a modern multi-story car park or a lay by where one can crack open the picnic box and enjoy a nice scotch egg or ham sandwich with the crusts taken off and sausage roll as the rain lashes down on another miserable British bank holiday, as an adjacent car mysteriously bumps up and down as a woman screams “Oh Terry, that’s the spot!” at considerable volume.
Anyway, I digress. Stanley Victor Collymore is a retired footballer who now considers himself one of the greatest media commentators on this crazy place called earth – though before I get all sarcastic, as I am wont to do, and just have been, Stan has suffered hugely from depression and his work to bring the issue to the forefront of discussions about the game and life in general should be greatly applauded. He has also raised considerable funds to help those affected, and we must remember that his demons shape who he is and how he behaves (as it does in us all).
Enough serious talk for now.
You see, Stan was a forward Pep, who was so good that in 11 years he spread the love around 9 different clubs, before hanging up his boots due to the lure of Talksport. His prolific scoring saw him capped for England, and he gained only 15 caps fewer than Carlton Palmer. Collymore was good though, on his day, single-handedly keeping Southend up, taking Nottingham Forest to promotion, and catching the eye of a certain Alex Ferguson. Ferguson was prepared to kidnap Collymore from an airport to clinch his signing, but in the end plumped for a certain Andrew Cole instead.
But Stan was doing well. In fact, he was so popular with team mates at Forest, they would sometimes ironically refuse to celebrate goals with him because they loved him so much.
In the end he signed for Liverpool, and played really well in one great game in particular – you should check it out Pep, it’s such a good game it’s even used in adverts and promotional literature. That’s how good it was, and Stan was the goodest of them all that day, as Liverpool defeated Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle 4-3.
For Keegan, what followed was a breakdown that reached its nadir when he agreed to manage Manchester city. For Victor, the spoils.
Stan really tried hard to make himself part of the Liverpool family, by refusing to play for the reserve team and criticising the club and its methods in a club magazine. He even wore a white suit to a cup final. Fowler called him his greatest strike partner, and his most reliable tenant.
Strangely though these efforts went unrewarded, despite that game against Newcastle, and in 1997 he moved on to Aston Villa. He struggled there and moved on to Leicester, where his highlight was letting off a fire extinguisher in a hotel corridor. Top banter, before banter even existed.
He passed through Bradford, picking up an FA charge on his way, before, at the age of 30, signing for Real Oviedo, and showed his commitment to the club by suddenly retiring 5 weeks later. The fact was, Stan’s temperament was just not right for the career in which he had embarked.
But never mind, as the football was just a sideshow really. A warm up act before the main event.
Yes, it’s probably fair to say it was as the star of Basic Instinct 2 that Stan Collymore will be best remembered.
Critics at the time called it THE stand out performance by an ex-footballer from Staffordshire in a motion picture, many comparing it favourably with Vinny Jones’ multi award-nominated voice over as Freddie the dog in Madagascar 3: Europe’s most wanted.
Mark Kermode commented that Stan dominated the screen, more so even than Marlon Brando in the Godfather. Basic instinct 2 gets a generous average rating on imdb.com of 4.2/10, though this time around you get to see even more of Sharon Stone’s naughty bits. Apparently.
The offers from Hollywood naturally flooded in after the film, but Stan’s heart lay in media work, and he did not want to deprive the British public of his opinion and expertise. Hollywood’s loss was talk radio’s gain.
And so began a long career in radio and TV that continues to this day. Naturally his hard-hitting opinions in print found their home at the mirror, the paper that hosted all the best columnists – Robbie Savage, Mark Lawrenson, Brian Reade, Derek McGovern and more.
Stan has often courted controversy, because he says it as it is, and we all love people who do that. Certain incidents are not suitable for a family site, but it seems dogging has beaten the stringent checks. Anyway, what Stan does in his spare time is up to him, though on this occasion the BBC disagreed and sacked him.
Just remember though that if you do fall out with Stan and he offers to meet up to sort things out, as occasionally happens, do take a miner’s helmet, an A-Z, and plenty of money for one of those exorbitant service station sandwiches.
And if you really must experience the carnal delights of Anson’s Bank car park in Cannock at which Staffordshire’s swingers routinely congregate, apparently you turn right at the German War Memorial and’ if you reach a café, you’ve gone too far.’
I digress again.
There are certain things that are ingrained in British life in 2016. Drizzle, the English countryside, Nigel Farage eating a Ferrero Rocher, and being blocked by Stan Collymore on twitter.
Stan is part of the fabric of modern football. If you’re wondering who thinks modern defenders are rubbish, then it’ll probably be Stan. If you’re wondering who is handing out managerial advice to Guardiola, Koeman, Klopp and more- that’ll be Stan. Think Gareth Bale should be less nice to become a better footballer? Stan agrees with you. Think Jose Mourinho could learn a thing or two from Neil Warnock? So does Stan!
Check out his articles, his bold views are all there. Or don’t, and do something useful with your time instead – it’s up to you.
Yes, he has his finger on the pulse, and in a sport that moves so quickly, when news breaks every minute, there’s no time for those fiddly, annoying time-consuming practices such as fact-checking or full sentences. Get with the times all of you.
So there you have it Pep Guardiola. Next time you are asked an awkward question about Stan in a press conference, you will be fully prepared to answer. I’ve even posted you his autobiography, some Rotten Tomatoes reviews of Basic Instinct 2 and a Match Attax card from 2011. I’ll start on a Robbie Savage guide right now – it should be ready by early March.