Bradford gamble on Collymore

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The Independent Online

The Bradford City chairman Geoffrey Richmond considers the controversial signing of Stan Collymore to be a "legitimate gamble" after the former England striker signed for the Premiership strugglers yesterday until the end of the season.

The Bradford City chairman Geoffrey Richmond considers the controversial signing of Stan Collymore to be a "legitimate gamble" after the former England striker signed for the Premiership strugglers yesterday until the end of the season.

Collymore's short stay at Leicester City came to an abrupt end following a dressing-room bust-up with a team-mate, Trevor Benjamin, in a reserve-team encounter 10 days ago. The striker had already fallen out with the Foxes' manager Peter Taylor, who criticised his attitude after his request for a longer contract with improved terms - reputedly more than £30,000 per week - had been rejected just before the start of the season.

Taylor responded by dropping Collymore from his squad for a Uefa Cup game with Red Star Belgrade in Vienna after he described his performance in a Premiership game 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 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 point he was frozen out of City's first-team plans.

Richmond and the under-pressure Bradford manager Chris Hutchings have now decided to hand the troubled Collymore his latest lifeline. The former Liverpool and Nottingham Forest striker, who will be paid the same £13,000-per-week basic salary he was earning at Filbert Street, is being looked upon as the man to kick-start the Bantams' season.

Bradford have scored just four goals in 10 Premiership matches, despite the arrivals in recent months of Benito Carbone and Ashley Ward, and currently languish in 19th place. Richmond said: "We are well aware of the Stan Collymore story, and we consider this to be a legitimate gamble. But there is a clear problem in the goalscoring department. We hope the signing of Stan will act as a catalyst for the rest of the team - and we hope it will happen fairly quickly.

"We are 19th, the team are struggling and the fans are not happy, and understandably so."

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