Ex professional footballer John Collins - top Haverfordwest landlord - has died

John CollinsFormer professional footballer John Collins, aged 71, died earlier this week at his home in Milford Haven.

Collins was a modest, popular, friendly man who moved to Haverfordwest back in the 1980s, for many years he was the landlord of the Carmarthen Arms public house, Cartlett.

Merlins Bridge AFC used his pub as their base before and after matches for refreshments.

Everyone always received a warm welcome from John and his then wife Mary who ran the pub, and the couple had a daughter Sian.

Later, Collins worked behind the bar at Eddie Rocks’ Social Club, Quay Street, Haverfordwest, when it was a snooker hall, he was an extremely popular character with all the clients.

Best landlord in Haverfordwest

Eddie Rocks’ owner Mark Edwards paid tribute to his good friend:

“He must have worked with me for at least eight years and everyone loved him. John was a hard worker and a perfect gentleman; he was well respected by all who came into my club.

“Herbie John, Burt Patterson and John Collins were a million percent the best landlords in Haverfordwest.”

John’s late father Ron was the steward of Haverfordwest RFC when the club was based at their old Fishguard Road ground in the early ‘70s.

Collins started his career at White Hart Lane with Tottenham Hotspur under ’61 double-winning legend manager Bill Nicholson.

George was the Best

The cultured left back had a spell with Portsmouth making a total of 87 appearances after being signed by Ron Tindall in 1971.

The Wales under-23 international cost a fee of £5,000 for the south coast outfit.

Collins became a regular at left back and played in the first ever Sunday match played at Fratton Park – a 0-0 draw with Orient in the FA Cup. He was involved in both replays as the Blues finally reached the third round.

He once had the unenviable task of trying to keep the late, great George Best quiet when Manchester United played Pompey in an FA Cup tie at Fratton Park. He confessed to Carmarthen Arms regulars that Best was the most talented footballer that he had ever come up against during his playing days.

An £8,000 transfer to Halifax followed in 1974, he also had spells at Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley.


Promotion with Tykes

Collins turned out for Barnsley from 1976 to ’80, playing 146 games in total for the South Yorkshire club at left back,  and he incredibly featured in every game in The Tykes’ promotion-winning season of 1978-79.

That period playing for Barnsley was a happy time for Collins, who proved a very popular figure with The Reds’ fans at the Oakwell Ground.

Pembrokeshiresport.co.uk extends our sincere condolences to John Collins’ family and friends.