Lisbie ponders the road less travelled

KEVIN Lisbie will be bucking the trend if he decides to complete a move down the A12 from Colchester to Ipswich.

Carl Marston

KEVIN Lisbie will be bucking the trend if he decides to complete a move down the A12 from Colchester to Ipswich.

In fact, no Colchester player has ever signed directly for Ipswich and gone on to play for Town's first team.

Goal-poacher Lisbie is currently mulling over a possible switch to Portman Road, after plundering an impressive 17 goals in last term's relegation campaign in the Championship.

The ex-Charlton front-runner still has two years left on his current contract, but he admitted to the EADT this week that his agent has already staged talks with Ipswich.

United splashed out a club record £400,000 on a new striker, when signing Steven Gillespie from Cheltenham Town on Monday, so that might pave the way for Lisbie's exit, although the U's would be reluctant for the 29-year-old to leave unless a big fee was involved.

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Barnsley were apparently warned off by a £1m price tag on Lisbie earlier in the summer, according to reports in the Yorkshire press, although the player himself has since stated that he does not believe this figure to be correct.

There has been a conveyor belt of former Town players ending up at Layer Road over the years, but only one has ever moved in the other direction - and he never played a game for Ipswich!

Allan Hunter, Roger Osborne, Neil Gregory, Steve Whitton, Mick Stockwell and current U's boss Geraint Williams are among those to have signed for the U's from Ipswich.

The most high-profile move in the other direction involved a manager - George Burley - who controversially resigned as Colchester manager on Christmas Eve, 1994, to become the new Town boss a couple of weeks later. That caused a rift between the two clubs which ended in Town paying compensation to U's.

The only player to switch from Colchester to Ipswich was Len Jones, back in the 1950s. However, Jones never actually played for the Suffolk club - he was aged 40 at the time of his move!

Jones was a right winger who played for Huddersfield as an amateur, before becoming a professional with Barnsley, Chelmsford (non-league), Plymouth, Southend and Colchester.

Jones played in the U's first match in the Football League, a goalless draw at Gillingham on August 19, 1950, and appeared in his last game just weeks before his 40th birthday.

He then signed for Ipswich, but never played for the first team. He died in 1998, aged 84.

Bobby Hunt, a prolific striker with the U's in the 1960s, did end up signing for Ipswich, but not directly.

He went on to play for Northampton and Millwall before ending up at Portman Road.