Cureton bears no ill-will
COLCHESTER United's star striker, Jamie Cureton, may have accused his current club of “lacking ambition”, but he bears no ill-will to the U's.Cureton is adamant that he won't be a Colchester player for the start of next season, even though he still has a year to run on his contract.
By Carl Marston
COLCHESTER United's star striker, Jamie Cureton, may have accused his current club of “lacking ambition”, but he bears no ill-will to the U's.
Cureton is adamant that he won't be a Colchester player for the start of next season, even though he still has a year to run on his contract.
The race is hotting up to lure him away from Layer Road. Hull City are among the front-runners, while Cureton himself would love to return to Norwich City, where his career began.
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“I've really enjoyed the last year at Colchester, and in a way it's disappointing that it's come to this,” said Cureton last night.
“When I said that the club lacked ambition, I didn't mean it in a bad way. Colchester United is a great club and the people here are brilliant.
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“I've been very happy at Colchester, and if I was 21, rather than 31, then I wouldn't be wanting to leave.
“I know that Colchester can't compete with most other clubs in the Championship, and I have never wanted to put the club down.
“But I think that I'll probably be at another club next season. The time is right for me to leave,” insisted Cureton.
The in-form goal poacher was crowned the Championship's Golden Boot winner with 24 goals last term, as the U's finished a fine 10th in the table.
He has since seen his strike-force partner, Chris Iwelumo, move to Charlton Athletic in a lucrative three-year-deal, and he wants to follow his example and find a “bigger” club.
Cureton's request for a transfer was turned down earlier this month, but the chances are that he will be at a different Championship club next season.
Hull City are so far the only club to have put in a concrete bid for the prolific goalscorer. Their offer of £250,000 was turned down, but the Tigers could well be back with an improved deal soon.
Cureton, though, is keeping his options open. His one gripe is that the reported £750,000 price tag on him is too high.
“It will all boil down to what Colchester want for me, but I think the £750,000 that has been mentioned is rather high,” continued Cureton.
“It's looking as though I might not be at Layer Road next season. It just depends on how stubborn the club is.
“When I signed for them on a free transfer, I don't think they imagined that they would get a fee for me, so it should work out well for all parties.
“My agent has been talking to several clubs. It could take time, but it could just as well happen very quickly.
“This is the bit that always disappoints fans, when a player decides that he wants to leave. But these things happen and age is no longer on my side,” added Cureton.
With regards to his wish for a return to Carrow Road, Cureton said: “I was asked whether I would like to go back to Norwich, and of course I said yes.
“If they get in touch, then I'll be interested. I certainly wouldn't rule it out. Norwich are the type of club that has ambition to progress forwards and push on. I also want that.
“I have always said that Norwich would be my preference because it's where I started my career as a kid.
“I owe them a lot, because I probably didn't do myself justice in the first team at Norwich. It is a club that is close to my heart.”
Canaries boss Peter Grant is on the look-out for a striker as back-up for Robert Earnshaw. He has been linked with Scunthorpe marksman Billy Sharpe and Southend hot-shot Freddy Eastwood.
Grant confirmed: “Too often we have relied on certain players to score. That's something we are looking to improve.
“There is a value certain clubs will put on a player and there is a premium for goalscorers. We're looking to get a few players in.”
Eastwood, who is sure to leave Roots Hall following Southend's relegation to League One, looks set for a move to Wolves, so Grant might well turn his attention elsewhere.
Cureton is waiting by the phone.