Darren's delight at Town

BEING at Ipswich is even better than expected for Darren Currie, who has also revealed how a pre-match ritual will tell him when it is time to retire, writes Derek Davis.

BEING at Ipswich is even better than expected for Darren Currie, who has also revealed how a pre-match ritual will tell him when it is time to retire, writes Derek Davis.

That won't be for sometime for the 30-year-old, with nearly 400 league games under his belt, as Currie is enjoying a new lease of life.

After being released as a youngster from West Ham, Currie has spent his entire career in the lower leagues, but is now on the cusp of playing in the Premiership.

It is nearly two months, and three goals, since making his Town debut at QPR, following a surprise £250,000 move from struggling Brighton.

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Currie said: "Being at Ipswich, and being at the top, is everything I expected and a little bit more, really.

"I have seen two sides of the coin this season, with Brighton scrapping to stay in the division and Ipswich fighting to get out and into the Premiership."

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With a nifty feint, a decent cross and a deadly strike, Currie has impressed the Blues faithful and set many wondering why he had never been snapped up by a relatively bigger club before now, after a career that has led him to Portman Road starting at Shrewsbury, via Leyton Orient, Plymouth, Barnet and Wycombe Wanderers

He said: "It has taken me 10 years to get to this level. I have been through a hell of a lot and that has made me appreciate this now with Ipswich.

"Why it has taken me so long to get to a club like Ipswich, I don't know. But, I would say I'm a better player now at 30 than I was at 20.

"No disrespect to any of my former clubs, or players, but it is a lot easier to play at Ipswich than anywhere else.

"The quality of the players makes it a lot easier for me and I have never felt more comfortable playing."

Town fans should look out for Currie's unusual pre-match routine out on the pitch before kick-off.

As our picture shows, the supple Currie lifts his legs up, separately, and kisses both of his boots.

Currie revealed: "It all started when I was at West Ham during the stretches. As I did more of them, I got better at them and used to kiss my feet to show I could reach.

"It just carried on from there and it has become part of my pre-match ritual.

"Once I can't kiss my boots then I know I can't do the stretches any more and I'm on my way out, so it will probably be about time to hang the boots up."

Currie, and Ipswich, have benefited from him being such a latecomer, and the Londoner believes he still has a good few years left in him yet to get even higher.

He said: "I look up to the likes of Teddy Sheringham, who looked after himself and was still performing at the top level well into his 30s.

"When you don't have blistering pace, then you can't lose it. I can't say I have blistering pace either, but I have found other ways of getting past players and getting balls into the area. My game centres on my touch and experience."

The colourful character may have shorn his highlighted locks during the trip to Majorca recently, but he is still proud of his tattoos, of which he has more than a dozen.

That habit started when he used to houseshare with Barnet team-mate Sam Stockley, who is now at Colchester United. The pair used to go out on their day off and get a tattoo, once every couple of months.

And, Currie admits he could well be getting another one soon, although, as grateful as he is to Joe Royle for signing him, it won't be one of the Blues'boss.

He said: "They all have a personal meaning, so I could well get one which depicts promotion, if it happens. But I will not be having any of Joe Royle on me, I can promise you that."

Currie is relishing playing against the curry capital of England today but wants to put one thing right. He said: "I have never scored against Leicester, so I would like to rectify that."

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