It’s quite sad that James Collins was never given a proper send-off by West Ham before he announced his retirement in October 2020.
The Welshman spent 11 years with the Hammers during two separate spells in his career. He will always be remembered fondly for his rock-solid performances and attacking threat from set plays in his 214 appearances.
In his retirement Instagram post, the defender declared his love for the club, saying: “I spent 11 wonderful years at this football club and still think about it every day. Without West Ham and you amazing fans, my life wouldn’t be what it is today.”
The feeling is very much mutual for Collins from the fans point of view. There, of course, is only one Ginger Pele. West Ham Zone have looked back on his best three moments with the club.
First goal at Fratton Park
Ginge netted the first of his 11 West Ham goals all the way back in December 2005.
With us trailing 1-0 to Portsmouth, Anton Ferdinand headed down a Shawn Newton corner on 56 minutes. Collins drilled a low half-volley through a crowd of players that flew past Pompey keeper Ashdown.
He celebrated with the trademark one arm in the air with one finger pointed forward. It was a really big result, we’d suffered injuries to Thomas Repka, Hayden Mullins and Danny Gabbidon all in the first half.
The greatest escape
Collins played a huge role in our 2006/07 survival with a final day 1-0 victory at Old Trafford to Manchester United.
The Welshman had to face up against Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs and Ole Gunner Solskjaer just to name a few.
Having won just five matches all season, Collins came into the side as we won seven of our last nine games and stayed up. The final day against United he was outstanding as we kept a clean sheet against the champions.
At the double
He loved playing Manchester United.
In the FA Cup third round of 2013, Collins scored twice as we drew 2-2 with the Red Devils at Upton Park. His first a bullet header in front of the Sir Trevor Brooking end. Gine rose to meet a Joe Cole cross and head past David de Gea.
The second was a mirror image of the first. In the second half, Cole again cut back onto his right foot to cross. Collins met the ball again, this time looping a header over de Gea into his left-hand corner again. Van Persie robbed him of a famous win in the closing stages, but this was a great night for Ginge.
In other West Ham news, Danny Murphy has selected who he believes will qualify for the top four this season.