No change of hairstyle for Jamie tonight
FOOTBALL fans have long memories, so Ipswich Town supporters will not need reminding of Jamie Cureton's pedigree, both as a footballer and hairstylist!Colchester United front-runner Cureton is out to give the Town faithful more nightmares tonight, when he leads the attack alongside Chris Iwelumo.
By Carl Marston
FOOTBALL fans have long memories, so Ipswich Town supporters will not need reminding of Jamie Cureton's pedigree, both as a footballer and hairstylist!
Colchester United front-runner Cureton is out to give the Town faithful more nightmares tonight, when he leads the attack alongside Chris Iwelumo.
He is assured of a cold reception from visiting fans, and not only because he used to play for deadly rivals Norwich City and twice scored against the Suffolk club. The prime reason is his choice of hair-colour.
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Cureton dyed his hair green when the Canaries visited Portman Road for a Division One encounter on Sunday, April 14, 1996.
The fixture has gone down in Town folklore, because of City defender Robert Ullathorne's bizarre own goal in a 2-1 win for George Burley's men. Keeper Bryan Gunn, undone by an awkward bounce, allowed Ullathorne's back pass to bobble over his foot and into the net.
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That proved to be the winner. Ian Marshall had broken the deadlock, only for the Canaries to draw level thanks to Cureton's equaliser, within a minute of his arrival as a substitute just after the hour mark, complete with green hair.
“I did dye my hair that day, but I won't be doing it for this game. I was only a youngster at the time. I've grown up a bit since then!” insisted Cureton.
“I've had some good times playing against Ipswich, and I always relished the local derbies when I was at Norwich.
“In fact, I scored against them twice, firstly when we were both in the Premiership. I scored in a 3-0 win at Carrow Road (March 20, 1995), and then the following season I scored with a volley in a 2-1 defeat at Portman Road, when I had my green hair,” added Cureton.
Tonight, however, will be an East Anglian derby of a different kind as Colchester United take on Ipswich in a league match for the first time in 49 years.
Cureton is currently on 149 league goals, so he would love to chalk up the 150th league strike of his career against his former enemy.
“I haven't played Ipswich much since I left Norwich. But I do remember an FA Cup tie against them, while I was at Bristol Rovers,” continued Cureton.
“We drew 1-1 at home, and then lost the replay 1-0 at Portman Road. The gaffer (U's boss Geraint Williams) was in the Ipswich midfield that day.
“I suppose I'll get a little stick from Ipswich fans, even though it's been a long time since I was a Norwich player (10 years). I won't mind that. It's part of the game.
“It's a big game for both clubs. We have both hit a bit of form. We are certainly playing well, and we're on a high,” said Cureton.
After losing their first four games in the Championship, in what is their first ever season at this level, the U's have made gradual progress up the table.
Williams' men are currently unbeaten in five games, following home wins over Derby County and QPR, an away victory at Burnley, and two away draws at Luton and Leicester.
Cureton has played a major part in this dramatic upturn in fortunes. The 31-year-old netted a hat-trick to beat Derby 4-3, since when the Essex club have not looked back.
He bagged his fourth of the season in the 1-1 draw at Luton to reach 149 overall.
“I don't want to keep going on about reaching 150 league goals. A couple of games have gone by, but it doesn't prey on my mind.
“I'd just like to get there and then put it behind me. We're playing a lot better at home. We've been more attacking, and we're playing at a high tempo.
“It will be a great honour to score 150 league goals, but it's all about the team, not me. Of course it would be nice to achieve this landmark against Ipswich, and they do seem to have been lucky opponents for me.”