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Date Posted: 13:36:23 11/01/04 Mon

<a rel=nofollow target=_blank href="http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/tm_objectid=14819755%26method=full%26siteid=50143%26headline=stan%2dcollymore%2dbeaten%2dup%2dby%2drugby%2dstars-name_page.html">http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/tm_objectid=14819755%26method=full%26siteid=50143%26headline=stan%2dcollymore%2dbeaten%2dup%2dby%2drugby%2dstars-name_page.html</a>


Nov 1 2004

By Steve Mccomish And Nathan Yates

BATTERED Stan Collymore described last night how he was savagely attacked by up six rugby stars - ending up "unrecognisable and drenched in my own blood".

He said the assault followed a nightclub row in which Bath's South African player Robbie Fleck had called him a "f***ing kaffir".

Collymore accused 6ft 6ins England World Cup forward Danny Grewcock of being one of his "merciless" attackers.

A female staff member at Lillies Bordello nightspot in Dublin said Princess Anne's daughter Zara Phillips was among the rugby group, with boyfriend Mike Tindall - the Bath centre. There is no suggestion that either was involved in the fracas.

Ex-Liverpool and Aston Villa striker Collymore, 33, and 6ft 2ins, said: "It was sickening. What they did was way beyond anything I've ever experienced.

"They kicked me all over the street. I went to the ground at one point, but I managed to get up again. There were five or six of them, all just bashing me.

"I put my head in my hands to protect it. I was left covered in blood. It was horrendous.

"I'm a big lad and I can look after myself, but there's nothing I can do against five or six big blokes."

"One of the girls I was with got a clump in the face as well. They're just f***ing tossers. Racist, cowardly tossers."

Collymore - who quit football at 30 and has found himself at the centre of controversy ever since - said blows rained on him for two minutes. Police broke up the fight at 3.30am yesterday and Collymore went to hospital for treatment.

He will seek a prosecution after identifying his attackers as being from Bath rugby club.

He has a broken nose, bruised ribs, a suspected fracture to his elbow and marks all over his face.

Two witnesses supported his story. One said: "There were five or six of them and they really laid into Stan. It was horrible."

A nightclub spokeswoman said it was Collymore who had thrown an insult at a black Bath player. Other Bath sources said Collymore had flung the first punch.

It is also understood that Fleck denies calling him a "kaffir".

Collymore was in Ireland to appear on a TV show with Irish premier Bertie Ahern's novelist daughter Cecilia and comedian Ross Noble. Bath had played a Heineken Cup match against Leinster on Saturday afternoon.

Collymore arrived at the club just after midnight and drank pints of lager with Cecilia and James Bond star Pierce Brosnan.

Then he joined Brosnan and members of the band Embrace for a karaoke session. Collymore also enjoyed the company of Cold Feet star James Nesbitt.

Trouble started, according to sources close to Collymore, when the girlfriend of a Bath player called him a w***er.

Collymore retorted, "Who are you calling a w***er?" and a slanging match erupted between him and 17 stone 4lbs Grewcock, 31. Last week the rugby hero was at Buckingham Palace to collect an MBE for England's World Cup-winning exploits. Collymore said: "I was chatting to a girl, having a good night out, when these lads arrived and started shooting their mouths off.

"I asked them what their problem was and one of them, Robbie Fleck, called me a kaffir.

"I was very angry. No one has ever said anything like that to me in all my life. If you know about apartheid and South Africa, you'll know that a kaffir is a very offensive thing to call someone.

"This guy just walks up and calls me a 'f***ing kaffir'. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

"I stood up and said, 'Did I hear you right?' Then it kicked off and they got thrown out. I'm not being called kaffir by anyone."

Collymore said they were separated by bouncers, but the row continued when he and two female friends stopped at a packed Burger King half an hour later.

He said: "There they were again. They started shouting their mouths off.

"I asked them what their problem was, but they just hurled abuse at me. They were called me a w***er and things like that."

Collymore added: "I told them I would take any one of them on one-on-one outside, but they suddenly all piled in.

"I had no chance anyway, but the minute I saw this one guy coming at me I knew I was really in trouble. He was like the Jolly Green Giant.

"I just thought to myself, get your head down and cover up.

"To his credit, one of the players stood up against his teammates, but he got punched as well.

"It must have taken some courage for him to do that and I thank him for it, but his teammates were just vicious animals."

The man who came to his aid was Isaac Feaunati, a Samoan forward.

Collymore went on: "I can handle any physical threat, but what made me really angry was the racist abuse."

A witness who asked not to be named, said: "These blokes are real cowards for what they did.

"Stan didn't do anything to provoke them. They just lashed out against him. It was disgusting.

"I think he was lucky to get away as lightly as he did. I was afraid it could have been a lot worse."

Another observer said: "One of them threw a punch and hit me because I was standing next to Stan.

"He wasn't able to stick up for himself against so many blokes. It was sickening to watch."

Last night a nightclub spokeswoman said: "Bath had a party which started at 8pm and between 60 and 80 people were there.

"I heard Collymore had words with one of the players, but there were no fisticuffs. He stayed and the players stayed, no one was ejected."

It is understood that Bath captain Grewcock claims to have only responded to Collymore's threats.

He has a fearsome reputation on the rugby field. In June he stamped on the head of New Zealand player Daniel Carter and was suspended for 10 weeks.

That made him the first English player to be banned twice for foul play in Tests. Six years ago he landed a kick to the head on another New Zealander, Anton Oliver.

Neither the Bath club nor its players had any official comment. Club sources, blaming Collymore, claimed he had punched three players inside the nightclub - including Grewcock - before following them to Burger King

They said Collymore threatened to slit the throat of one squad member and was punched in retaliation.

Asked to respond, Collymore said: "Who in their right mind would go out and pick on five huge rugby players?

"That's not what happened. I was on my own and they picked on me."

Police in Dublin said: "A man was treated in St James's Hospital in Dublin for facial injuries.

"There are no arrests and investigations are continuing."

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Re: COLLYMORE GETS BATTERD! lolDEREK19:08:53 11/01/04 Mon

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