Why does Martin Tyler hate Liverpool

Stan Collymore: Liverpool's record man who was berated for his depression


"In this world quality has its price. And Liverpool paid a high price - for a top scorer!"

With these words commentator Martin Tyler celebrated Stan Collymore's first goal in the shirt of Liverpool in August 1995. Already in his debut for the Reds, he set out to justify the transfer of eight and a half million pounds - around 13 million euros, a record for an English player at the time. With two hooks he had fooled several opponents from Sheffield Wednesday, a few quick steps and a brilliant finish from 25 meters into the left corner: "His Liverpool career is only an hour old when Stan Collymore strikes. A goal out of nowhere! "

At this point, it seems like 24-year-old Collymore's world couldn't get any better. He is traded as a future superstar, as a complete package for an attacker: 1.88 meters tall, dynamic, dangerous for goals. "He showed what he can do in the first year: physically strong, fast, with the instinct of a goalscorer," said Liverpool manager at the time, Roy Evans. After 22 goals for Nottingham Forest in the preseason he was able to loose Collymore - rivals Manchester United have chosen Andy Cole instead. Collymore is said to form the storm duo of the future with Robbie Fowler and shoot the Reds to their first championship title since 1990.

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But inside Collymore can't be happy about the successful start at Anfield and later also about the successful first season with a total of 19 competitive game goals. On the contrary: "A friend of mine always joked about it," he says in 2001 in retrospect. "He said, 'You play for one of the biggest clubs in the world, you've just scored two goals, everyone's celebrating you - and you're the most unhappy person I've ever seen.' And I had no answer. Had I been badly injured, I would have had a reason. But that way I had no idea. "

Stan Collymore's Depression: "My tank was empty, physically and emotionally"

In Germany, depression in football will forever be linked to the Robert Enke case. In England, Stan Collymore is one of the first footballers to publicize his fight with the "Black Dog", as Winston Churchill called the disease.

It should take several years before the attacker realizes what is literally making life hell for him. In his second year at Liverpool, Collymore suddenly went downhill: "I was always just tired," he reports in an interview with the Guardian. "I came home from training at 1pm and slept until the next morning, which wasn't unusual. Then there were periods when I suffered from insomnia. Even climbing stairs was torture. I did all sorts of physical tests and the results were 1A. "

The result of the creeping decline in performance: In 1997 Liverpool sold the former hope to Aston Villa. Ups and downs follow for Collymore on the pitch, health is heading towards collapse. In January 1999 the time had come: "It was my birthday, the day before the FA Cup game against Fulham. I was sitting at home and was just empty. So I called Villa-Physio Jim Walker: 'Jim, me need help.' My tank was empty, physically and emotionally. "

Depression in Football: No Support for Stan Collymore

Collymore was treated as an inpatient for three weeks at Roehampton Priory private clinic in London. But when he made his illness public, there was largely no support. Even more: even from the club there is only a lack of understanding. Villa manager John Gregory does not want to know anything about Collymore's problems - and counts him publicly: "I can understand depression with a single mother in a council flat, but not with a highly paid footballer."

Club boss Doug Ellis recommends hard work for his striker to get out of the deep and in the meantime sends him on vacation for a month. But the association does not want to bear the costs of the hospital stay - and when Collymore returns from rehab, teammate Gareth Southgate greets him with the words: "Where the fuck have you been?" Villa did not inform the team about his situation.

Stan Collymore's scandals: no sympathy for his illness

He is not innocent of the fact that the public reacted largely ruthlessly to Collymore's depression confession. He has ruined his reputation in previous years with several scandals, ranging from the comparatively harmless "Spice Boys" stories - a party troupe at Liverpool FC, to which Collymore is also counted - to its absolute lowest point: Im June 1998 he freaks out in a Paris bar after an argument with his girlfriend, the TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson, and strikes. He later cites jealousy in a toxic relationship as the reason, and too much alcohol could also have played a role. "I'm very sorry, I have to live with this mistake," he says today. "Back then I asked for your forgiveness and I do it again and again."

Incidents like this contributed to the fact that many responded so ruthlessly to Collymore's illness at the time: The star footballer on the decline, and a woman's thug, of course, now has psychological problems and is admitted to a fancy dress clinic for the rich and beautiful. All right. That’s the way of thinking.

But the truth also includes the club's reaction, which today only leaves you perplexed. And that mental illnesses were interpreted to a much greater extent than personal weakness at that time. Especially in England, where one is proud of the "stiff upper lip", the stoic self-control even in the greatest crises: Now don't act like that!

And so the tabloids, especially the Sun, pounce on Collymore. He remembers a headline years later: "The Sun told all Aston Villa fans to get this idiot out of football. How can he be depressed when he earns so much?"

Stan Collymore Retired: The Fight Against Depression Continues

Despite treatment, the talented striker did not get his career going: after stints in Fulham, Leicester, Bradford City and Oviedo, he ended his career in 2001. With just 30 years. He then works as a columnist, commentator or expert, even a one-off trip to Hollywood can be found in his vita.

To this day, his struggle for the social acceptance of his illness stands above all: "You can be an alcoholic and go to jail, and after your return to football you will be celebrated for your strength of character. But if you suffer from the only illness that is due to it If people take their lives, you are suddenly spineless and weak. "

Meanwhile, Collymore has not yet won the fight against his own demons. In February 2019, he went public with a serious setback: "For the past three weeks I have slept 20 hours a day and stink because I couldn't even wash."

The difference to 1999: 20 years after his original confession, this time the sympathy is great. From former teammates to greats like Gary Lineker. And the Sun also proves that it has meanwhile learned something new. Because this time their headline is: "Brave Stan