As Eddie Gray says, Bobby Collins was without doubt the player who was most influential at Leeds United. He joined a side of young and not so young average players and as the on field general - an extension of Don Revie - taught the team how to be the best in Europe.
Small in stature but with the heart of a lion he led by example and footballing knowledge. His will to win showed no bounds. He was fearless. His influence on the team was immeasurable.
When Leeds were under pressure he would dribble the ball to the touchline, stop put his foot on it and then direct the other players to their correct positions.
His man management skills on the field were comparable to Don’s off the field. With the older pros he would lambast their mistakes (I have seen him look up at Big Jack and administer an almighty rollicking), while with younger team members such as Norman Hunter and Gary Sprake it was arm round the waist and an explanation of their mistake and encouragement.
He was a captain in everything he did. I believe that Leeds legend the great Billy Bremner was so influential as a player and team man because he had shared a dressing room and pitch with Bobby.
I remember one evening a game, home to Blackpool. It was believed that Don Revie was leaving for the vacant position at Sunderland and there was a general despondency amongst supporters.
Leeds produced one of the most exciting and attacking displays of football I have ever seen. To say they took Blackpool apart is an understatement.
Although finishing 3-0 it could have been 12+ as the woodwork was hit at least a dozen times and the pressure on the away side’s goal constant. At the centre of it all was Wee Bobby Collins. The next day Don confirmed he was staying!
I feel sorry for our current supporters who never had the privilege of watching our greatest captain.
No one would have questioned the commitment of players in a team with Bobby as skipper. If Billy Bremner is Mr Leeds United (something I would not dispute) then Bobby Collins is the father.
Good Bless you Bobby, may you Rest in Peace.
My prayers are with you and your family.
I for one will never forget you or underestimate your enormous influence on Leeds United Football Club.
Ron Lunn, by email
Bobby’s chip began Utd rise
IF MY memories are correct, and I am sure your readers will correct me if I am wrong, back in 1962 at the age of 16 and being a loyal United fan, supporting them in all weathers, Leeds United were at home to Swansea City.
Three players made their debuts for United during this match and all came on to the field before the match to be introduced to the usual large crowd of diehard United supporters, all 6,000 of us.
They were Bobby Collins, Jim Storrie, and Don Weston. We won the game 2-0 and Bobby Collins picked up a ball just inside the halfway line and from around 35 yards out he chipped the goalkeeper right into the roof of the net. He must have spotted him slightly off his line so with superb ball control and grace he chipped the ball over him.
This was the start of the United climb up the league, the rest is history.
David Garbutt, by email
First signing, and the best
SO SORRY to hear about the passing of Bobby Collins, but what great memories he gave us success-starved United fans in the early 1960’s. I think he was Don Revie’s first signing, and probably the best. He helped us avoid the drop in 1962, then led us to promotion two years later, nurturing Billy Bremner into a midfield general in Bobby’s style, with even more ‘bite’.
My everlasting memory was seeing Bobby and Billy standing over the ball at free kicks, and the defence had absolutely no idea what would happen next. Bobby’s ‘banana’ kicks were brilliant, and that was with the old style ball.
It just proves that the best things come in small packages! Rest in Peace Bobby.
Old United fan, Beeston
Instrumental in side’s progress
I FIRST saw Bobby Collins from behind the goal on the old spion kop having been given a free ticket for being in the school football team.
Over that season of 1964-65 I became mesmerized by the “wee barra” from his deep yellow coloured socks. All the rest of the Leeds team wore bright white too. His boots with white laces around and his banana shot! I can still hear the chant start “banana banana” whenever Leeds won a free kick around the penalty area.
If it had not been for the Torino player in 1965 who deliberately broke his leg in the old Fairs Cup I still wonder if we could have won more trophies in the 1960s.
Could Leeds please honour him with some form of recognition at Elland Road because I still believe the was so instrumental in our rise to the top.
David Britton, by email
Inspirational man to so many
I REMEMBER Bobby after his playing career ended and he was involved with a garment business in York Place.
He used to run down the street with arms bent at the elbows and held up to his chest. This was just how he ran when marshalling United’s midfield and reminded me of what an inspirational man he was.
Brian M Westerman, Sanderling Garth, Leeds
Influential way he played game
BOBBY EPITOMISED the requirements of the Don to get LUFC back into the league he wanted our team to be in.
I saw Bobby when I was a young lad in Leeds at Elland Road. My father took me to the games and I still say to this day, both he, Jack C and Billy B influenced me in my hardness in the Semi-Pro League here in Perth, Western Australia after I left the UK in 1972.
Jim Chapman, Western Australia
Bobby was the team’s general
A foggy afternoon at Old Trafford. The referee is having problems seeing the players but we had no problem seeing the wee man, he stood out like a beacon.
Size 3 football boots, Size triple XL heart. When Billy became our captain Bobby became our general. Never forgotten.
Tony, Bob, Baz, Steve and Big Gordon, Scratching Shed SHED 1964/5, Onanon
A great player and a mentor
A GREAT player and mentor to the young players in the early Revie days. I recall that on many a Saturday night Bobby, along with many of the players, would be seen in the old Mecca Locarno situated in what is now the Victoria Quarter.
Although some 10 years older than most of them he was nifty on the dance floor!
Although he was small in stature he was a giant on the pitch with his never say die attitude which rubbed off on the rest of the team. He took no prisoners and helped to shape the direction of many of them.
He was an early exponent of bending a free kick round a defensive wall with what we came to know as a banana.
Unfortunately his broken leg suffered away to Torino of Italy meant that Johnny Giles was moved from the wing to form with Billy Bremner United’s greatest ever midfield. He was never able to regain the high standard he had set and moved on.
A great player and captain - someone the present Leeds team could surely need.
God Bless Bobby.
Geoff Craven, by email