Often Partisan

Do You Remember When… Lazaridis Made His Debut For Blues?

As season ticket holders go, I’m a relative Johnny-come-lately. I got my first season ticket in the 1999-2000 season and sat in the Olympic Gallery for two years. However, due to some mix up or another I had to sit for the first game in the Tilton, and because of that I got to witness one of the best debuts for Blues I’ve ever seen with a front row seat.

Blues had been in the news in the weeks preceding the game about a different Stan as David Sullivan had pursued the signing of Stanley Victor Collymore. Collymore had come out of a recent spell at the Priory and the mob from across the expressway were willing to let him go out on loan to get some first team football. Like many Blues fans, the idea of SVC coming to play for us rankled and I was almost pleased when he rebuffed Sully’s attempts. However, Collymore signed for Fulham on loan, and they were to be our first opponents of the season, so he would be making his debut for them against us. The stage was set for fireworks.

I will profess here and now that I don’t like Collymore one little bit. This is a man who called Blues fans scum on Soccer AM – although in fairness to him he has admitted he shouldn’t have done that. It would appear most of the Tilton shared my view of him because that day Collymore took dogs abuse. One abiding memory I have of Collymore was just after he missed a chance in front of the Tilton about ten minutes in standing in front of the stand, cocking his hand to his hear in an “I can’t hear you” gesture as the whole stand gave him abuse over his Villa connections and the Ulrika Jonsson incident of 1998 where he had allegedly struck her in a Paris cafe.

Collymore didn’t score that day, but his strike partner did. Geoff Horsfield grabbed goals either side of half time to give Fulham a lead and both came about because of Collymore’s presence on the pitch. Blues only attack of note that I can remember before we scored was Darren Purse squirting Collymore with a water bottle as the players walked off, nearly causing a riot in the tunnel.

However, we did come back into it. Stephen Hughes turned a Paul “Funky” Furlong cross into his own net before the stage was set for the real hero named Stanley to step forwards. Signed from West Ham for £1.7mil, Lazaridis was to be the answer for Blues down the left for a few years to come. His moment came five minutes from time. Fulham were down to ten men, with Horsfield being sent off for hacking at Michael “Magic” Johnson and they conceded a foul about 30 yards out from their goal as they defended their slender lead.

I was about in line with the post and I can remember the ball just curling round the wall, past another Blues player-to-be in keeper Maik Taylor to nestle just inside the post in front of me. It was a beauty of a free kick – absolutely impossible to save because of it’s curl and position – and it sent the Tilton mental. Whilst the game finished as a draw there is something about coming back from 2-0 down that makes it feel like a win and to bring it back with a free kick like just made it all the more special.

Stan Lazaridis went on to make 215 appearances for Blues all told, scoring a further seven goals (including a rather special one against the Villa in 2003) whilst the other Stanley saw his career drift, taking him to Leicester City, Bradford City and Real Oviedo before he retired in 2001 at the age of 30.

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12 Responses to “Do You Remember When… Lazaridis Made His Debut For Blues?”

  • Jaffa says:

    I was there that day with my neice and the abuse that colly cock got was awfull,(but all of it was deserved).as for stan laz he became a hero.

  • Tim says:

    One of my memories of that game was when Collymore came close to the touchline to collect a ball, a Bluenose hurtled down the steps to meet him, pointed at his own head, crossed his eyes, and pulled a “mad face” right in front of him — in reference to Collymore’s spell in the Priory!

  • Nick Edgington says:

    Lazaridis was amazing but also don’t forget Paul Pescisolido(spelt wrong I know lol) he was fast and scored some wicked goals! Plus he managed to do what most of us bluenoses wanted to do and that was get with Miss Karen Brady!! Lol. KRO

  • Rich says:

    Also he got band from football for testing positive for a banned substance. The substance he was using was for hair loss. Such a shame, he was one of my favourite players back then, along with Bryan Hughes, Horsfield and Michael johnson

  • Bluemat says:

    Maik Taylor was always shocking at saving shots from distance. KRO!

  • Trevor Honnor says:

    I was at this game and have to say the following… (Warning controversial content)

    The atmosphere in St Andrews this day was even better than the semi final against West Ham…. There, I said it.

    This match was beyond any doubt, one of the greatest experiences of my life. I often tell people about it, to this day. The crowd must of been a near sell out and how they came up with so many different chants was unbelievable.

    The icing on the cake was the free kick that lead to – “There is only one Stanley” The timing was absolutely perfect.

    • almajir says:

      The icing on the cake was the free kick that lead to – “There is only one Stanley” The timing was absolutely perfect.

      I’m glad you posted that, because that’s just jogged my memory. I remember that as well – one of those moments when the whole ground is united in voice.

  • Bluenose Pete says:

    I seem to recall Stan Collymore also making his Liverpool debut against Blues, albeit in a pre-season friendly. I think that would have been in 1995. Whatever else you might say about him, at his peak he was a wonderfully strong and powerful player.

  • Blueboy 88 says:

    Ironic really talking about SL , we were always a better team with him in it…bought balance to the side.

    What would we do now for a left sided player of his quality…on Saturday Barnsley had a left back playing at right back..Stan would have had him for breakfast…instead he must have come off St Andrews thinking what’s all the fuss about , this right back business is a walk in the park …!!
    Nobody gave him a moments trouble..

  • James says:

    ULRIKA ULRIKA ULRIKA! Great game and a fantastic atmosphere – would sacrific a limb to get those back!


  • BND says:

    Collymore could have been an England playet for many years but he lacked application when he made the big time.
    Fine when he was a big fish in a small pond.
    Wasted his talent as a footballer which was his only talent.
    His is an awful football pundit with the charisma of a dead fish.
    A case of celebrity masking his presenataion skills.
    I was at that game and the Horse was virtually unplayable.
    He never stopped running

  • Marc says:

    Happy Days, Great Memories :-)

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