Collins Elevated To Giant Status
The late, great Bobby Collins has become the 25th Everton Giant.
Each year one individual who has gone above and beyond their duty to the football club is honoured and 2014 has seen the former inside-right, who passed away in January of this year aged 82, posthumously granted such status.
Collins joins Brian Labone, Alex Young, Dave Hickson and Derek Temple - all Everton legends from the same era - in the Club’s Hall of Fame.
Collins’ son, Robert, stepped onto the St George’s Hall stage to collect the accolade on his father’s behalf from the 2011 Everton Giant inductee Duncan Ferguson.
Robert then told evertontv: “My father would have been absolutely delighted and extremely proud to have won this award. I’m sure he is looking down doing cartwheels.
“He loved his time at Everton, always spoke fondly of it and, if truth be told, didn’t want to leave when he did.”
Collins moved to Merseyside in 1958 after offering almost a decade’s worth of service to his first professional club Glasgow Celtic.
The Scotland international only spent four years with Everton but he proved an inspirational figure and one who helped lay the foundations for the League and FA Cup successes that followed after his departure in the mid-sixties.
What Collins lacked in physique – he was nicknamed the ‘Little General’ due to his 5ft 4in frame – he made up for in his ball-playing ability, tenacity and leadership qualities.
He was hailed on the Goodison terraces just as much for his hard-tackling and raking passes as he was his penalty box composure – his impressive tally of 48 goals in 147 Everton appearances equating to nearly one every three games.
Everton languished in the bottom half of Division One during Collins’ first two years at the Club before a marked improvement was evidently clear with fifth and fourth placed finishes in 1961 and 1962.
By the end of the 1961/62 campaign, Collins had surprisingly been allowed to join Division Two Leeds United – another club that benefited immensely from his service.
Elland Road soon began to host top-flight matches again as Collins helped transform United from second-tier mid-table strugglers into one of the most feared sides in the land. Indeed, he was voted PFA Player of the Year in 1965.
Similarly to his time at Everton, Collins left Leeds before their trophy-laden period but his influence was credited by manager Don Revie, who described his acquisition from Everton as ‘the best signing he ever made’.
After departing Elland Road, Collins helped Bury to reach the Second Division. Later there was a spell in Scotland with Morton, another in Dublin with Shamrock Rovers, and a stint at Oldham Athletic, as player-coach.
After retirement he occupied the managerial position at Huddersfield, Hull City and Barnsley.
Collins sadly lost his long battle with Alzheimer's disease on 13 January 2014.
Everton Chairman Bill Kenwright paid tribute at the time by expressing his sadness that one of his idols had passed away.
"Bobby was very much a part of Everton's life and helped transform the Club from the minute he arrived at Goodison Park in 1958 as our record signing,” Kenwright said.
"He was pivotal and inspirational during his four seasons with the Blues and will never be forgotten by our fans and everyone at Everton Football Club."
The 2013/14 Everton Giant Award was sponsored by Sean Connor.