Football: Collymore `should be in hospital'

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The Independent Online
STAN COLLYMORE'S long-term future as a player is in some doubt after his doctors decided that he should continue his medical treatment in a psychiatric hospital.

For the moment, the Aston Villa striker will continue to receive treatment three days a week and train for two days, but his doctors would prefer him to spend the full week in hospital.

John Gregory, Aston Villa's manager, has had another lengthy discussion with Collymore over the immediate implications of the player's hospitalisation.

"We were both able to put over our points of view," Gregory said yesterday. "Stan was able to make me aware of what it is like to suffer a clinical depression. For me it was being able to tell him how vital it was to have players raring to go and to give everything they've got on the field every Saturday afternoon. There are also the problems I face with Stan being unavailable to me for three days a week.

"We made one or two points to each other as I'm totally ignorant of the fact of what is clinical depression and what it is to suffer from this complaint. Unfortunately we've no idea how long it will continue. I'm willing to go along with the present situation for the time being but I said three months ago it will be me who has to take all the blame for him not being able to cope with this problem.

"I wouldn't wish the situation on any other manager and Stan himself wouldn't wish his problem on anyone else."

Gregory explained that Collymore cannot influence his mood swings, but he said the player appreciates his problems as a manager.

"He has been very articulate in the way he has described his daily problems when he has no control over his moods," Gregory said. "His doctors have told him what happens to people when they suffer this particular problem. I am now slightly more understanding of his condition and problems which he has seemingly had for a very long time.

"He understands the chairman and board have paid a lot of money for him and that as a manager I would like to select the best team that will win every week.

"Stan has made it plain to me that he doesn't want to play for any other club but Aston Villa and is totally committed to Villa and do his best for the club. But as a football manager I have to produce a winning team. My whole life revolves around sending out a winning side. If the components are not right then you don't have a winning team.

"If Stan Collymore is in the side he must be performing particularly well in every game he plays as in the Premiership we cannot afford to carry any passengers.

"Currently he is visiting a psychiatric hospital three days a week, it's not a very nice place to be and it's not from choice. But I can't come to terms with the situation looking at his life and circumstances. I am however prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt.

"There has to be a decision somewhere down the line where he attempts to be with us more often. He himself wants to get well and that means more to him than a football match. He has tried everything to overcome these feelings he has had and he can't at the present time. He can get up tomorrow morning and not know how he feels. Some days he could climb Everest and other days he can't climb out of bed.

"But it all seems to be a waste of talent. I've often sat there watching him play wishing I had been blessed with such talent. I've told him many times that he should do better for himself. His best game for me was probably his first when he scored two goals. That was his standard which he has since failed to reproduce.

"We now know a little more about him but I couldn't cheer him up even after that game when he had scored two match-winning goals against his old club Liverpool. He went off to a standing ovation yet in the dressing- room he was depressed, giving an early indication of the highs and lows he suffers.

"Unfortunately his mind is totally negative as he always sees the downside of any situation."