DOUG COLLINS 

By Tony Scholes
Last updated : 28 August 2012

Date and Place of Birth

28th August 1945 - NEWTON

 

Transfers to and from Burnley

from GRIMSBY TOWN - September 1968 (£27,000)

released - May 1976

 

First and Last Burnley Games

CHELSEA (h) - 28th September 1968

 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (h) - 20th March 1976

 

Other Clubs

GRIMSBY TOWN

----------------------------------------

PLYMOUTH ARGYLE, SUNDERLAND, TULSA ROUGHNECKS,

ROCHDALE

 

 

Burnley Career Stats

 

Season League   FA Cup   League Cup   Others   Total  
                     
  apps gls apps gls apps gls apps gls apps gls
1968/69 23(4) 6 2 - - - - - 25(4) 6
1969/70 5(1) 1 - - 2 - - - 7(1) 1
1970/71 14(3) - - - 0(1) - 2 - 16(4) -
1971/72 3(5) 2 - - - - - - 3(5) 2
1972/73 37 2 1 - 1 - - - 39 2
1973/74 37(2) 4 5 - 3 - 5(1) 1 50(3) 5
1974/75 39 3 1 - 3 - - - 43 3
1975/76 14 - - - 3 - - - 17 -
                     
Total 172(15) 18 9 - 12(1) - 7(1) 1 200(17) 19

 

Profile by Tony Scholes

 

When Burnley played Grimsby in the second round of the League Cup in season 1968/69, it was not just the start of a cup run that would take us to a semi-final but also a tie that persuaded us to sign a player who went on to play an influential role for Burnley in the 1970s.

Doug Collins lined up for Grimsby in that tie; one that we won 6-0 in a Turf Moor replay following a 1-1 draw at Blundell Park. The 23-year-old Collins impressed the Burnley management and very soon afterwards he was on his way to Turf Moor in a £27,000 transfer.

It hadn't been plain sailing for Collins in his early career. He'd started with Rotherham as a youngster but when nothing came of that, at the age of 18, he signed as an amateur for Grimsby in 1963. He impressed enough to win a professional deal and made his first team debut in September of that year.

It took some time to establish himself in the side, but five years on he'd played just over 100 league games before making the move to Turf Moor.

He went straight into the first team for a home game against Chelsea but soon lost his place as a young Burnley team went on a record breaking eight successive wins without Collins in the side. He won back his place and by the end of that 1968/69 season looked an established first team regular.

That, however, proved not to be the case, and for the next three seasons he struggled to get much first team football. He managed just five starts in the next season and played around a third of the games in the season after when we suffered relegation.

Down in Division Two, it was even worse for Collins who was in the starting line up only three times as Burnley embarked on a first season out of the top flight since 1947.

On several occasions it looked as though Collins was on his way out of Turf Moor. Young players such as Alan West and Eric Probert, two FA Youth Cup winners, were now ahead of him for a place in the team; Billy Ingham was coming through while Collins was also competing against the likes of Martin Dobson for a midfield berth.

There was always speculation that Burnley were set to cash in during those three years; that Collins' future lay elsewhere, but he remained at Burnley and, in August 1972, just before his 27th birthday, his fortunes took a dramatic turn for the better.

Manager Jimmy Adamson brought him back into the team for the second game of the 1972/73 season, a season that would see Burnley make a triumphant return to Division One. From that day, and for the next three years, Doug Collins was a first team regular.

He turned in some memorable performances during the promotion season and then back in the top flight as Burnley, for two years, threatened the very best teams in the country. I think it is fair to say he wasn't the most workmanlike of midfielders but at times it was said he could make the ball talk with his left foot.

Collins was instrumental in all our free kick routines, and one in particular that got underway by winning us the Charity Shield against Manchester City in 1973. He was instrumental because of his unerring accuracy with a dead ball. "He can drop a ball on a tanner from fifty yards away," was a cry often heard as yet another pass found its way exactly where it was intended.

He wasn't the most prolific of goalscorers, but when he did find the net it was often a memorable one. Two always spring to mind for me as he placed balls over the goalkeeper and right into the top corner.

One was at West Ham and the other at Leeds in the 4-1 win. Paul Fletcher lives on one of the goals he scored that day at Elland Road. 'Goal of the Decade' it has often been described, but I can't even say it was the goal of the day after seeing Doug Collins chip David Harvey to make it 3-1.

It was a fantastic three years for Burnley and for Collins but it all came crashing down in the 1975/76 season. He was still very much a first team regular but he suffered through injury. He was stretchered off in two away games, at Birmingham in September and Spurs on November.

After the Spurs game his first team career was all but over. He played only three more games in the first team, ironically the last of them being the return game against Spurs in March 1976.

Burnley suffered relegation and the club was going through big change. Manager Adamson had gone and many of those players who were very much 'Adamson men' were shown the door at the end of that season. Collins was one of them.

He signed for Plymouth Argyle that summer. They, like Burnley, were now in the Second Division and that gave Collins the opportunity to play against us. We won 1-0 at Home Park, but on 3rd January 1977, on a frozen Turf Moor pitch, Collins played a vital part in Plymouth's 2-0 win against us.

He wasn't with the Devon club for a year. When Adamson became manager of Sunderland he signed some of his old Burnley players. That group included Collins.

His time on Wearside was not a success. The Sunderland fans were not happy with Adamson's Burnley old boys and he played only six times for the Roker Park club and in February 1978 his brief stay ended when he signed for Tulsa Roughnecks.

On his return to England he coached at Derby for a time before, in January 1979, become player/manager at Rochdale. It wasn't a successful time and he lasted less than a year before the sack came and he emigrated to Australia.

He coached at Sydney Olympic for a time but then settled into a life outside of football, running a McDonald's franchise and getting heavily involved in church life. He's made occasional visits back to Burnley but continues to live in Australia.

Burnley certainly benefited from that cup draw against Grimsby. Without that tie it's hardly likely that we'd have ever signed Doug Collins, and for three years, from 1972 to 1975, he was a very important member of a successful Burnley team.

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