Press Conference With....with STAN COLLYMORE

Ask anyone what they know about Stan Collymore and the likely response is one of two things: "He's the bloke who hit Ulrika Jonsson" or "He's the one who's into dogging."

Certainly, those two sensational stories have eclipsed anything he achieved as a centre forward. He emerged as prodigious talent in the early 1990's at Nottingham Forest, which culminated in his, then, record £8.5 million signing to Liverpool in 1995. He became one of the "Spice Boys" of the Kop and scored some stunning solo goals during two heady years.

But Collymore was always beset with personal problems and an attitude that upset managers. Capped just three times for England, Collymore's post-Anfield career hobbled on through a myriad of lesser clubs (ending in Spain in 2001, aged 30), and his off-pitch performances always made more headlines on the front pages than the back.

The Ulrika attack happened in Paris during the World Cup in 1998. Then, in 2004, The Sun exposed Collymore's appetite for dogging, which cost him his marriage.

More recently, Staffordshireborn Collymore, now 35, has sorted himself out and remains close to his young daughter and a son from a previous relationship. He is successfully controlling clinical depression while building an acting and media career. He recently appeared with Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct 2, and later this month fronts a football documentary.

I meet Collymore at the Groucho club in Soho. He is courteous, eloquent and bright. One of his people had asked me not to mention Ulrika or dogging. Yeah, right!

That would be like inviting Stan to meet 10 supermodels in a car park off the A1 at midnight — then tell him to wear a blindfold and not to touch anything. My compromise: I won't mention either story — unless he doesn't.

Read the full interview with Sir Bobby Robson in this week's Press Gazette.

Or at www.robmcgibbon.com

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