TRIBUTES were today being paid to Leeds United great Bobby Collins after his death at the age of 82.
Bobby, a pivotal figure in the early years of the Don Revie revolution at United, passed away yesterday (January 13) following a battle with illness.
Fellow Revie era hero Eddie Gray last night led the praise for a man who once said his transfer to Leeds was the best thing that had ever happened to him.
Gray said: “In my opinion Bobby Collins was probably the most influential player in the history of Leeds United. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him and played with him.”
Another Revie legend, Johnny Giles, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Bobby was the crucial signing for Don. First of all for his ability, but also because of his will to win and the example he set the younger players.”
Midfield dynamo Bobby joined Leeds from Everton in 1962 and went on to make 167 appearances in five years for the Whites, scoring 26 goals.
The Scot was Revie’s on-field leader as they began their transformation from Second Division also-rans to a European soccer superpower. He was voted Footballer of the Year in 1965 and in the same season captained United in their first FA Cup final.
Bobby stayed in Leeds after his retirement, spending some time coaching at schools in Hunslet.
He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2002. Speaking in 2008, his wife, Betty, said: “One thing [he] hasn’t lost is his football skill. If you kick a ball towards him he can still do a lovely little backheel.”
Bobby’s playing career also included a long and successful spell with Celtic. As a manager, he had stints at Huddersfield Town, Hull City and Barnsley.
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