Six countries in four years - Fulham’s ex-Dutch international starlet signs for Polish outfit

Fulham Craven Cottage

Collins John can add Poland to a list that has taken him from the United States to Iran via Azerbaijan.

When Fulham snapped up talented Dutch youngster Collins John away from FC Twente in a deal worth £600,000 to play alongside John Collins, his reverse namesake, it seemed a snip when he started to fire in all manner of goals.

He was even in the running for goal of the season after this mesmerising volley against Middlesbrough in 2006:

(goal at 1.05)

He was soon being touted as the next big thing in Dutch football and recognised at international level.

He was a member of the Dutch side that won the European Under-21 championship in 2006 along with Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Ron Vlaar and Michel Vorm. He had already made his senior debut before that time; winning four caps as a teenager in 2004 among company such as Ruud Van Nistlerooy, Patrick Kluivert and a young Wesley Sneijder.

But the player had a troubled past. Originally from Liberia he and his family, including brothers Paddy and Ola who play for AGOVV Apeldoorn and Benfica respectively, fled to Holland after the tragic murder of their father in the Liberian Civil War.

And John has always suffered it appears with his personal demons on top of what has been a career perpetually disrupted by lack of fitness and injury.

And his struggles to settle down are visible in his career post Fulham.

Released in 2009 he has since gone on to play for six different clubs in six different countries over the course of four years.

He spent time with Roeselare in Belgium, the Chicago Fire in the USA, Gabala of Azerbaijan, Mes Sarcheshmeh of Iran and finally found himself back in England with Barnet.

As with most of his clubs post Craven Cottage his time at Underhill was unmemorable. He again featured in just a handful of games due to a thigh problem and the club released him in January this year.

Well now the one time starlet, still only 27-years-old, is on the move once again; adding Poland to his list of nations he has played in.

John reportedly signed for Polish Estraklasa side Piast Gliwice yesterday on a one-year deal.

Piast had a good 2012-13; finishing fourth in Poland’s highest division in the most successful season in the clubs history.

John will now hope his new team overcome a 2-1 deficit against Azeri side Qarabag this evening and qualify for the main stages of the Europa League.

But with his recent history of false dawns and failed new beginnings not many will hold out hope of Polish redemption.

But if he can obtain anything like the form he occasionally demonstrated for The Cottagers … then Poland could be the saving of him.

image: © Tom Cuppens

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