Obituary - John Collins
Thu 16 April 2020, 19:00|Tottenham Hotspur
We were saddened to hear of the passing of our former player John Collins, who passed away suddenly in the early hours of Tuesday 14 April at Kensington Court in Milford Haven, Wales. He was 71.
Born in Rhymney, South Wales, full-back John represented Swansea and Wales Schools before arriving here at Spurs as an apprentice in April, 1964.
A regular in our record-setting youth team of 1964/65, when a Club best 114 goals were scored by our youth side in a single season, he signed professional terms with us in March, 1966, and made his first team debut just eight days later in a 2-0 loss at Sunderland in the old First Division on 26 March, 1966, aged 17. That match took place a mere three weeks after John’s debut in the reserves.
His second and final senior appearance for us came a week later in a 3-2 home defeat by Nottingham Forest but, while he won five Wales Under-23 caps over the next two years, competition for places among our regular full-backs, including Phil Beal, Joe Kinnear, Cyril Knowles and Ray Evans, was fierce and thus he was never able to earn another first team opportunity.
John left us for Portsmouth in May, 1971, where he played for three years and won another two Under-23 caps for Wales before moving Stateside to join North American Soccer League outfit Dallas Tornado, for whom he made 18 appearances, scoring once. He returned to the UK in 1974 to join Halifax Town and after a brief spell at Sheffield Wednesday, transferred to Barnsley, where he made 146 appearances between 1976 and 1980, scoring once, and was ever-present at left-back in their team that won promotion to the Third Division in 1978/79. He subsequently represented Kidderminster Harriers before relocating to America once more to play for Baltimore Blast.
Upon his return to Wales in the early-1980s, John followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a pub landlord. He ran the Carmarthen Arms, Milford Arms, The Glen and The Castle Hotel – all in Haverfordwest – before working at a nearby snooker and social club until his retirement.
Diabetes, along with underlying mobility issues, meant both of his legs had to be amputated in his later life, but he remained a positive character and a keen Spurs supporter, and passed on his love for the Club to his surviving family – wife Mary, daughter Sian, son-in-law Shaun and grandchildren Macy and Jack.
We extend our condolences to John’s family and friends at this sad time.