Wednesday 01 August 2012
West Ham United have announced the re-signing of defender James Collins from Aston Villa.
The Wales international, who turns 29 later this month, spent four seasons at the Barclays Premier League he joined from Cardiff City in 2005, and has agreed terms on another four-year deal with the Londoners after joining for an undisclosed fee.
Capped 39 times by his country, the centre-back helped West Ham reach the FA Cup final in 2006 and was part of the side that completed 'the great escape' from Barclays Premier League relegation in 2007, impressing the Boleyn Ground faithful with his power and commitment.
"I enjoyed my time here so much last time that it wasn't a hard decision to make"
- James Collins
"It's great to be back," Collins told West Ham's official website. "Having been here before and coming back and seeing some of the same old faces is great.
"As soon as I knew the interest was there from West Ham I couldn't wait to get down and sign.
"I had a great affinity with the club and the fans when I was here the first time and I enjoyed my time here so much last time that it wasn't a hard decision to make, to be honest.
"I've come back and I'm a much better player this time around so I can't wait to get cracking and show the fans that I am a better player and can put in the performances on the pitch.
"I've got so many good memories - getting into the FA Cup final in my first season and finishing so high [ninth] in the league and then the way we escaped relegation that year was one of my fondest memories in football. Hopefully, I won't have too many more memories like that!
"I just cannot wait to get back and show the fans what a better player I am now."
Newport-born Collins began his career with Cardiff, helping the Bluebirds win promotion to the Championship in 2003 before being voted Welsh Young Player of the Year two years later.
"I just cannot wait to get back and show the fans what a better player I am now"
- James Collins
In July 2005, Collins and Cardiff team-mate Danny Gabbidon swapped the Welsh capital for the English one by joining West Ham for a combined £3.5m.
The following season, 2006/07, Collins became a first-team regular during a campaign in which West Ham won seven of their final nine League matches to stay up on the final day.
Collins suffered a knee ligament injury in January 2008, but returned to action a year later before proving his fitness.
After 51 Barclays Premier League appearances and two goals for the Irons, Aston Villa signed the centre-back in September 2009 and Collins quickly forged a solid partnership with Republic of Ireland stalwart Richard Dunne at Villa Park.
Over three seasons, the Welshman totalled 109 appearances and six goals for Villa, including a start in the 2010 League Cup final defeat by Manchester United.
At international level Collins was an ever-present during Wales' 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign and has also captained his country.