Luton Town – The Legends Series – John Collins

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For the latest in our ongoing series covering those who have achieved legendary status among the support, we feature another former Luton figure who became a fans favourite.

Following on from those already covered – John Moore, David Preece, Mal Donaghy, Brian Lewis, Bruce Rioch, Fred Jardine, Brian Horton, Kevin Nicholls, Tony Read, Steve Foster, Mike Keen, Ian Buxton, Lars Elstrup, Peter Anderson, Graham French, Alan West, David Moss, Terry Branston, John Aston, Paul Futcher, John Ryan, Syd Owen, Marvin Johnson, Malcolm MacDonald, Bob Hatton, Steve Buckley,Chris Coyne, Ron Baynham, John Still, Jack Bannister, Ricky Hill, Chris Nicholl, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, Don Givens, Gordon Turner, Brian Stein, Jesse Pye, Raddy Antic, Joe Payne, Max Dougan, Alan Slough, Ray Whittaker, Dave Pacey, Milija Aleksic, Ron Davies, Sandy Davie John O’Rourke, Les Sealey, Bob Morton, Wally Shanks, Gordon Riddick, Billy Bingham, Herbert Moody, Adrian Alston, Reg Pearce, Keith Allen, Jimmy Ryan, George Cummins, Rodney Fern, Harry Walden, Billy McDerment, Scott Oakes, Bert Mitchell, Kingsley Black, Mike Harrison, Matt Tees and Jimmy Husband

For the latest in our ongoing and, hopefully, comprehensive series, we’re going to take a brief look at the career of John Collins, as nominated by David Gadsden.

Introduced to Kenilworth Road as a 6-year-old, by my father, it took me a couple of seasons to come to terms with the intricacies of the game. Prior to that, to a wide-eyed youngster, it was all about scoring goals.

In 1969, my third season of frequenting Kenilworth Road, the Hatters signed John Collins, from Reading, for a fee said to be in the region of £11,000.

Prior to signing for Luton Town, Collins had established a reputation playing for Queens Park Rangers, Oldham Athletic and Reading where, in his last season at Elm Park, he finished the clubs top scorer.

Therefore, he, when it came to his transfer fee, appeared to be a bargain.

John Collins only remained with Luton Town for a couple of years, making a mere 48 appearances in all competitions, scoring on 12 occasions but whenever the starting XI was read out, if his name was in it, a smile broke out on my face, something my dad always noticed giving my immaculately combed hair a ruffle.

I’m not sure what it was about his play but my eyes used to light up when the player with the fair to blond hair had the ball at his feet, his clever skills often mesmerising defenders.

During his career with the Hatters, John Collins played an instrumental part in Luton Town’s 1970 promotion from Division Three to Division Two.

To say I was disappointed when John was sold is an understatement, talking to my late father, later in life, he told me I had a face like a wet weekend for at least a month.

After leaving Luton Town, John Collins played for Cambridge United before moving into the coaching side of the game, first with Mike Keen at Watord and then with Alec Stock at Fulham before retiring from the game to run a building company in his native West London.

John Collins – Mini Fact File

Name – John Willian Bashley Collins

Date of Birth – 10-August-1942

Place of Birth – Chiswick, London

Position – Inside Left

Youth Career – Queens Park Rangers

Playing Career – Queens Park Rangers, Oldham Athletic, Reading, Luton Town, Cambridge United

International Career – Nil

If you feel able to share any of your thoughts or memories on the Hatters career of John Collins, please feel free to do so in the comment facility beneath this article.

If you can think of anyone who deserves nominating for coverage in this ongoing series, please drop their name into the comment facility beneath this article.

My thanks go to those who have already nominated faces from the past, they will all be covered, in time.

Next up in the series will be Billy Waugh as suggested by David Davies.


Previous article by Mad Hatter

Luton Town – On Loan Goal Machine May Switch Clubs

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  • Mick says:

    Great little player John Collins, scored almost a goal every 3 games through his career. Always had a smile on his face. I always Wikipedia players when you put their post up and it says he was an inside left! Ask anybody today under 40 what one of those is?

  • Nick Hall says:

    John used to get a lot of derogatory comments from spectators because he wore the number 7 shirt and they wanted him to be a winger. As a 14 year old surrounded by old men ( my 5 uncles) I tried to explain shirt numbers no longer dictated position on the field but to no avail.
    John was an astute player and skilful with the ball at his feet but players with more endeavour such as Keith Allen were always more popular with the fans.

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