Luton Town can confirm that striker James Collins has turned down the offer of a new contract to sign for fellow Sky Bet Championship club Cardiff City.
The 30-year-old has been a major part of the Hatters’ rise up the EFL, scoring 72 goals in 183 appearances while winning back-to-back promotions and helping re-establish the Club in the Championship.
The former Aston Villa youngster had earned a reputation as a serial fourth-tier promotion winner, with his debut Town campaign after joining from Crawley in the summer of 2017 proving to be the fourth time he had achieved the feat.
After hitting 20 goals in that 2017-18 season, he bagged 25 the following year and earned a Republic of Ireland call-up as he was named League One Player of the Year and Golden Boot winner as he spearheaded the Hatters’ title success.
Playing Championship football for the first time in his career, Collins scored 14 times – including a penalty against Blackburn on that famous final night of the Covid-disrupted season – as the Hatters pulled off The Great Escape to secure Championship status.
Then, in the season just finished, the man known to everyone as Collo scored another 13 in all competitions as the Town achieved a top half finish in the second tier.
He will argue that should have been 14, with the winner at Preston that took the Hatters to 50 points in March credited as an own goal to the keeper.
But there is little debate about the one that wrote his name firmly into Luton folklore – the penalty with his first touch immediately after coming off the bench that secured the first home Derby win for 28 years!
Everyone at Kenilworth Road would like to thank Collo for the role he has played in such a memorable period for the Club. We wish him and his family every success and look forward to welcoming them back to the Kenny in the not-too-distant future.
Not being on social media, Collo has asked us to share the following message:
To all Hatters,
I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for these last 4 years, from signing for this great club in League 2 to now finishing in the top half of the championship, it has been an incredible journey and I have loved every minute of it.
I would like to thank the gaffer and all his staff I have worked with during this time, and also the board for everything they have done for me. It has been a pleasure representing this club from start to finish.
To all the fans, I can’t thank you enough for accepting me from day one and backing me all the way, I will never forget that.
I hope that I have repaid you with my performances and goals over the years, and I always tried to give 100%.
The promotion celebrations were unbelievable and I will never forget the journey home from Carlisle, but also the roar from you all in the warm-up at Sunderland, Pompey in the snow and of course the penalty against Watford, which meant so much to me because I know how important it was for you all. I just wish you all could have been there.
I’m proud to have been a part of so many great moments in the club’s recent history and it has been a tough decision over the last few weeks, but I feel I am ready for a new challenge.
Luton Town will always have a place in my heart though because it’s been the best time of my career here, and I wish the club all the success in the future.