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Team Spotlight: Real Oviedo and Stan Collymore’s acrimonious end

Real Oviedo have been a club that have endured difficult times during the 21st century, with the expectancy of extinction once looming over them.

They are also a side that are overshadowed by the more successful teams in La Liga, having not returned to the top flight since 2001, leaving them unknown to a majority of the British population.

Yet, there was once a time when they were graced by the presence of a former England international in Stan Collymore, although it did not end well or swiftly for either party.

Transfer record to swift Spanish retirement

The ex-Liverpool striker once held the record for most expensive English transfer after moving to Merseyside from Nottingham Forest in 1995, but in the twilight of his career, decided on a move abroad to the north of Spain.

In January 2001, Collymore, then 30, joined the Asturian outfit on a four-year deal and all seemed well. Three substitute appearances and 34 days later, he retired from football.

This shock revelation had come just days after announcing he was happy in Spain and aiming to be successful at the club, as reported by the Guardian.

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As expected, Real Oviedo did not take kindly to their new striker abandoning them, having allowed Peter Moller to go on loan to Fulham to make room for Collymore.

Court case ensues

Nine months after he retired, the Blues were preparing a case to sue the ex-England international for breach of contract, with a potential £7 million worth of damages to be paid by their former player.

In part this relates to their relegation that season from La Liga, with Collymore’s retirement and Moller spending the rest of the campaign in England, it left Real Oviedo without any strikers, according to the club’s spokesman Miguel Solis via BBC Sport.

In 2002, the former Liverpool star was judged to be guilty to breach of contract.

Long, yet failed fight for Collymore

Despite the case seemingly ending there, Collymore was not allowed to play football professionally as the Spanish outfit held his player registration, meaning he could not sign for another club until his contract with the Asturians was either terminated or ended.

He failed in his attempts to return to the sport upon the completion of his deal with Real Oviedo at the age of 35, but there was more bad news to come.

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In 2006, four years after the original case had been judged, the amount of damages he had to pay back rose to £260,000.

He appealed the decision, only for it to be thrown out a year later and told to cough a further £8,500 for forcing Real Oviedo to seek enforcement of the debt in Britain, as per Reuters.

Collymore was often not far from the media headlines, having battled depression and known for his off-field antics, yet his swift decision to retire, just five weeks after moving to Spain, caused Real Oviedo to be relegated and a six-year court fight between the two parties.

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