Everton Past Player Profile

Born Galashiels (Scotland), 31 January 1968
Height 5' - 8" (173 cm)
Joined Everton from Monaco in July 1998 (£2,5M)
Debut v Aston Villa (h), 15 August 1998
Nicknames Bergerac, Joan
Final� v Middlesbrough (h), 14 May 2000
Left Everton to join Fulham in July 2000 (~�2.5M)
Honours Scotland International, Scottish Cup winner ('95), French Championship winner ('97)

Visit the John Collins
, by
Carolina Otero

 Seasons  Club  Apps  Gls
1984-1990 Hibernian 163 16
1990-1996 Glasgow Celtic 218 (3) + 8 (0) 47 + 1
1996-1998 AS Monaco 59 8

  • Midfield lynchpin
  • Cultured and skillful
  • Excellent continental ball-control
  • Good vision to change the play
  • Can be bypassed
  • Needs players to make space
  • Played for 6 months with a broken toe!
  • Reckless tackling earns cards

The arrival of John Collins was seen by many as potentially the most important new signing at Goodison Park for many years.  Surely John Collins represented real confirmation that a new dawn was approaching for Everton?  Sadly, the performances of the Scottish star have not match these lofty expectations.  The reason surfaced after Christmas 1998, when it was revealed that Collins had been playing with a broken toe since the World Cup.

John Collins marched into Walter Smith's Everton revolution claiming he was a far better player since the last time he figured in the British game.  Collins quit Celtic under the Bosman ruling after Euro 96, and blossomed into a cultured, quality midfielder under Monaco's legendary coach Jean Tigana before emerging as Scotland's most influential player in France 98.

As Everton's highest-ever paid player, on a reported £29,000 a week, he said: "I have learned a lot since being in France, I have learned from good coaches and from being exposed to a more technical game.  I believe I am a much better player than when I left Scotland two seasons ago."

Collins emphasised a key reason for him joining Everton: "Walter being here was a major factor in my coming to Everton.  He told me of the changes he planned to make at the club and some of the players he intends bringing in that are vitally important to the future success of the club.

"I talked to several clubs, but Walter came out to Monaco a couple of times to see me and I liked what he had to say about what he was going to do and the position he wanted me to play in. I thought long and hard about things, but Walter being at Everton was a big pull."

"I have known him since I was 12, when he coached me one night a week at Dundee United. We go back a long way.  I have always been impressed by him, he was manager at Rangers while I was at Celtic, and I believe he can turn things round at Everton after a few poor years."

Collins has linked up with Olivier Dacourt, who was also signed for £2.5M just 48 hours earlier from Strasburg.  Smith has made Collins and tough-tackling Dacourt as the heartbeat of his new-look side, although perhaps the greatest midfield contribution has come from an unexpected source: Don Hutchison.

Collins and Dacourt completed the main part of Smith's rebuilding programme, following the Bosman signing of former Rangers full-back Alex Cleland and the £3.8M capture of Italian centre back Marco Materazzi from Perugia.

After a disappointing few months, Collins has shown a propensity for being caught in possession time after time as he wants extra seconds to explore options which are not there, because his teammates don't or can't play the type of creative football he thrives upon.  This raises serious doubts about his ability to contribute meaningfully to the Everton revival, assuming there is to be one.

Let's hope the reason for the midfielder's indifferent form really is that broken toe... After an operation early in 1999, John Collins was sidelined for the rests of the season.  He did start full training again before the end, but Walter Smith decided to save him for the new campaign, even denying Craig Brown his services in Scotland's critical Euro 2000 qualifiers in June 1999.

June 99:  Collins: "My injury is totally healed and I've been training for the last six weeks.

"I could have played in the last couple of league games of last season, and was really pushing to do it, but the manager decided that it wasn't worth it because we were already safe.

"I could have played for Scotland as well – Craig Brown offered me the chance – but I didn't think it was right having not even played any reserve-team football.''

April 2000: His indifferent form continued until the Hutchison watershed, which strangely seemed to release the skilled and intelligent player we all knew was hiding in there.  It had long been rumoured that playing alongside Hutchison stuck in the classy Scot's craw.  In some excellent performances through the end of the 1999-2000 season, John Collins revealed himself as the midfield powerhouse we thought Everton had bought two years ago.  He was rewarded with the captaincy, and reaffirmed his desire to stay at Goodison.

That was until he was wooed by his old friend Jean Tigana, who had taken over at Fulham.  But that cheeky chappie, Mohammed Al-Fayed, only offered a paltry �1M for the Scot, and the other cannie Scot told him where to shove it... A tense fortnight of haggling was finally resolved with an undisclosed fee of around �2.5M � somewhat short of Everton's hold-out price of �3M.

And after leaving, he told the London Evening Standard: "I wouldn't say I had regrets about joining Everton but it never went as well I had hoped.  I was told certain things when I went there about them having money to spend and it was all lies.  There was no money and they had to sell.  They played with big strikers too and the ball missed out the midfield a lot of the time."  

Many years later, Collins would clarify the problems he had under Walter Smith:

"I’ve got to be honest that at Everton, the style of football wasn’t what I wanted to do or wanted to play. We had big Dunc (Duncan Ferguson) up front and we would go long too often.

"I went from Monaco where it was total possession and dominating games. At Everton, it was never going to be quite like that, controlling games, but it was a little bit too direct going to big Dunc, then he got sold to Newcastle and we brought in Kevin Campbell.

"We were comfortably away from relegation in the two seasons, then I had the opportunity when (Jean) Tigana came in for me when he came to Fulham, and I thought ‘I’m going to go back to the style I really enjoy which is getting it off the back four all the time and the game going through me.’

"It was a big decision going to Fulham, the first time I left the Premier League in Scotland, England and France and going down a division but I was confident in the players Tigana was signing that we were going to get up at the first chance and we did and it was a really enjoyable season in the Championship.

"We were a quality team, (Luis) Boa Morte, (Louis) Saha, (Steed) Malbranque and we played entertaining football."


Season Squad
1998-99 7 19 (1) 1 2 (2) 1 21 (3) 2
1999-2k 7 33 (2) 2 5 (-) - 38 (2) 2

Totals: 52 (3) 3 7 (2) 1 59 (5) 4