Lisbie shows his commitment to Town

SO determined to play for Ipswich was Kevin Lisbie that he turned down the chance to become the highest paid player in Colchester United's history.The striker was offered an improved contract by the U's, who he is convinced will make a rapid return to the Championship, in an attempt to keep him but Lisbie admits his head had already been turned.

Derek Davis

SO determined to play for Ipswich was Kevin Lisbie that he turned down the chance to become the highest paid player in Colchester United's history.

The striker was offered an improved contract by the U's, who he is convinced will make a rapid return to the Championship, in an attempt to keep him but Lisbie admits his head had already been turned.

Lisbie said: “When they offered me a new contract it made it a little bit harder but I always wanted to come to Ipswich.

“George (Williams) gave me the opportunity to stay at Colchester and not join Ipswich.

“It was nice to know how much the club wanted me because apparently I would have been the highest paid player ever had I stayed there which is a nice feeling. I want to thank the manager and chairman for letting me leave.

Most Read

“I always said I would not push for a move, if it happened it happened and the manager knows what sort of man I am and he believed that.

“A few other clubs came in for me but I said no. When Ipswich came in that was a different scenario. That was hard to turn down.

“I have been at Charlton for 10 years and this club is as near to that as you will find.”

It is clear to see that Lisbie left the U's with a heavy heart and a lot of fond memories, although he was at Layer Road for just one year and is confident they will go up in their new Cuckoo Farm ground.

He said: “I can see Colchester United going straight back up. They have really only lost me and they have brought in another striker who got a hat-trick on his first game - so they probably got a better deal.

“Defensively we weren't the best. We played a lot of loanees at the back and it is not always easy but they have reinforced at the back and that will help them.”

Although he may not get to play in the new stadium, unless the Us draw Town in the cup, Lisbie plans to visit.

He said: “George (Williams) is a very good man and has said I will be welcome back at any time so I will stay in touch.”

Lisbie has played in the top flight for Charlton and as much as he enjoyed his time with the U's his desire to play in the top flight again was a factor in the switch.

He said: “This club is set up for the Premiership and while I'm not going to say it will be easy, there are probably about 15 clubs in with a chance, but I feel we can do it.

Lisbie has put his international career on hold so he can focus on winning Premier League promotion with Ipswich Town.

The 29-year-old has 10 full international caps for Jamaica, with two goals but has asked not to be considered for the World Cup qualifying games.

Lisbie said: “I have said to them I want to concentrate on playing for Ipswich. I wouldn't say I have retired but for a few months at least I want to concentrate on club football.

Only Trevor Putney before him has played for all three East Anglian team, Ipswich, Norwich and Colchester, and Lisbie hopes he will be forgiven for his earlier indiscretion at Carrow Road.

Hackney-born Lisbie said: “I don't know what it is about East Anglia the clubs seem to come in for me.

“On all three occasions it was right to go to them.

“I was only at Norwich for a month so I hope Ipswich fans forgive me for that.”

Lisbie is this week working with fitness coach Simon Thadani to catch up with the Town players who are a week ahead in their preseason preparations so won't play at Gillingham tonight or Tiptree tomorrow but may figure on the bench against West Brom on Saturday.

The striker appreciates he is not going to wander straight into the starting line up but when he does feels he can fit right in.

He said: “It is not going to be easy for me to get into this side. I'm going to have to prove myself because the strikers here already are very, very good.

“Wherever I have played against Ipswich they always play one way and I doubt the gaffer will change that now and that will suit me.”

With 17 goals for the U's last season, Lisbie could improve on that tally with the service Town can provide but he is not putting himself under any extra pressure.

He said: “I didn't set a target last year and I'm not gong to do make a target this year and see what happens.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter