Defender James Collins has ruled out the possibility of a fairy-tale return to West Ham.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live’s “The Friday Football Show” (14th September), Collins revealed that he had hoped to return to West Ham but it was not going to happen.

Collins at West Ham

during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Everton at London Stadium on May 13, 2018 in London, England.

The former Wales international was released by West Ham at the end of last season.

Collins played 149 games in his second spell in East London, spanning from 2012 to last summer. Prior to that, the centre-back had played 65 games for West Ham between 2005 and 2010.

Over both spells with West Ham, the Welshman racked up over 200 appearances for the club.

He was fondly remembered by West Ham fans for his commitment, passion and some fantastic performances.

Collins was a firm fans’ favourite and was dubbed the “Ginger Pele” by Hammers fans.

13th May 2018, London Stadium, London, England; EPL Premier League football, West Ham United versus Everton; West Ham United fan dresses up as James Collins of West Ham United as the players walk around the pitch after full time (photo by John Patrick Fletcher/Action Plus via Getty Images)

“It’s not going to happen, unfortunately”

The 35-year-old hoped to return to West Ham and was training with the club recently but he has now closed that chapter after coming to realise that it was not going to happen.

Collins told “The Friday Football Show”: “It’s not going to happen, unfortunately. I was down there two weeks ago, three weeks ago, training and I probably held onto it for too long, hoping it would happen but a line is under that now and I move on.”

West Ham opted to release Collins this summer at the end of his contract and signed two new central defenders instead.


Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena are still finding their feet in England.

What next for Collins?

Collins has been linked with a number of clubs and is weighing up his options.

The veteran defender still believes he could play in the Premier League but added that he is happy to play for anyone.

Collins said: “I’d go anywhere, you can only go where you’re wanted. I love football. I’m 35 but I’ve never been the quickest anyway and I’ve never had the pace to lose.

“I’ve adapted my game around that. I still know in myself I can play in the Premier League, if I am honest.”

Collins’ former club Aston Villa are said to be on the lookout for a new centre-half. According to The Birmingham Mail, that could be one destination.

The no-nonsense defender also revealed that another couple of Championship clubs were chasing him.

He added: “It was quite well known that I was training at Ipswich last week and Stoke, I’m still in contact with them.”

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