FORMER Bury player Bobby Collins died yesterday, aged 82, following a long battle with illness.

The Scottish international’s signing midway through the 1966/67 season was seen as something of a coup following five successful years with Don Revie’s Leeds United.

The fiery 5”3 midfielder, nicknamed the Wee Barra, picked up the Footballer of the Year award in 1965 and was widely regarded as one of the most influential members of that Leeds team, laying the foundations of the success in the following years.

He was signed for Bury on a free transfer by manager Les Shannon and became the first Shakers player to be paid more than £100 a week.

His arrival at Gigg Lane failed to stop relegation from Division Two, but they bounced straight back up the following season after finishing second behind Oxford United.

After being an ever-present in that campaign, Collins left for Greenock Morton in 1969 having making 83 appearances for Bury, scoring seven times.

“The club are saddened to hear about the death of Bobby Collins,” said a spokesman for Bury.

“Our thoughts and condolences are extended to the friends and family of Bobby.”

Before his stints at Leeds and Bury, Collins made his name at hometown club Celtic, where he started his career in 1948 and stayed for nine years.

He then spent four years at Everton before moving to Elland Road.

In total, Collins clocked up more than 600 games in his career, scoring more than 200 goals.