So the Newcastle Jets are trying to bring former Nottingham Forest and Liverpool striker Stan Collymore to Australia to be part of the A-League this season.

On behalf of all decent, fair minded Australians – especially those of us who love football – we’d like to issue this plea to the Newcastle management: Please, no. God, no. No, no, no, no, no.

Collymore was a brilliant footballer. But only sporadically. And only a decade ago. Since then, his career has been in one long tailspin, both on and off the field.

He’s been through about 83 different clubs, his last a notorious stint in Spain that lasted just five weeks before he walked out. He hasn’t played top level football anywhere for five years.

Off the field his reported priors include punching and kicking his ex-girlfriend (English TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson) in a Paris bar, trying to sell a video of them having s-x, threatening to kill his estranged wife and burn down her parents’ house, and admitting to cruising public parks for s-x. He recently took to acting, with a small part in Basic Instinct 2.

But none of that was enough to deter Newcastle, who this week have been talking up the fact that the 35-year-old Collymore could be with them for a guest stint within a few weeks.

It’s pretty clear what Newcastle are thinking. Dwight Yorke is no longer part of the A-League, so let’s replace him with another player in the twilight of his career, but who also carries that air of off-field glamour and excitement. That’ll bring people through the gates.

And well it might. But at what cost? With a guy who hasn’t played the game properly for five years, and who has been in the news for only the wrong reasons, it would make the A-League look like some kind of second-rate freak show. Yorke’s selection could be justified on footballing, as well as celebrity, grounds. Collymore’s could not. With his off-field record, you’d also have to ask whether Collymore is the kind of figure the A-League should be using as a promotional tool.

Thank goodness Collymore’s management seemed to suggest yesterday that Australia was well and truly in the “last resort” basket of options for a Collymore comeback. They might just be saving Newcastle, and the A-League, from themselves.

Peter Fray

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