JAMIE Cureton wants to see his former club Colchester United set their sights on a return to League One and beyond.

The U’s legend has special memories of his time at Layer Road, where he played a big part in helping the club secure its highest-ever position in the memorable 2006-07 season when he won the Championship Golden Boot.

Cureton was happy to see Colchester clinch their Football League status last month, after a season of struggle in League Two.

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The former U’s striker is now eager to see his old club challenging at the right end of the table under the Cowleys next season – and then pushing for more.

Cureton said: “When you’ve been at a club, you always keep an eye out for their results and Colchester has got special memories for me.

“I want them to do well so when you see them struggling, changing managers and not probably getting the crowds they used to get being on that upward trajectory, you want at some point for that to change.

“I know a lot of fans and we’re also very connected and want to see Colchester doing well.

“When you look at where they were as a Championship team and could have held their own and stayed in it to now League Two and nearly going out of the Football League, there’s surely got to be a balance in the middle.

Gazette: Jamie Cureton

“For me, they should be at the top end of League One, with everything they have, and always trying to get out of it.

“But from where they’re at, it’s a big, big jump from staying up to getting promoted.

“Hopefully they can turn it around and have the right appointments and the right recruitment and start to take the club forward.

“The actual club as a whole deserves better, if I’m honest.”

Cureton wrote himself into Colchester’s record books when he scored 23 goals for them, in their memorable first-ever Championship season.

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It helped the U’s clinch an impressive tenth under Geraint Williams, still the club’s highest finish in its history.

“I think it was one of the best seasons of my career,” said Cureton.

“I think with my age being around 30 at the time, people maybe thought I was not on the down but getting a bit older.

“At that point, you were probably deemed over the hill a bit but now, it’s obviously quite young.

“We weren’t a fancied group, so to finish where we did and beat the teams that we did with the budget and the stadium that we had was unbelievable.


“We were up against the odds and really competed with some big, big teams.

“We turned most of them over and I think with about three weeks until the end of the season, we still had a shout for the play-offs.

“For me to win the Golden Boot as well, I put it down as one of my most special seasons and one of my biggest achievements.”

Cureton is still in contact with many of his Colchester team-mates from that outstanding season.

“I think when you’ve been in a group that’s achieved something so special, you tend to have a closer bond,” said Cureton, who made more than 50 appearances for the U’s and scored 31 goals before leaving to join Norwich City, in 2007.

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“We all tend to speak to each other and in general, we’re all quite close because I think we formed a really good bond over a two-year period.

“We achieved really, really good things at Colchester that will obviously live long in the memory.

“For us to get together when we can is nice and we’ve also managed against each other.

“I’ve stayed in the area and you tend to see the likes of Browny and Watto around, so we all stay in contact.

“It was a special group and we achieved something really special together.”


Cureton had a spell in charge of Maldon and Tiptree, at the end of this season.

He initially joined as Liam Bailey’s assistant, before taking sole charge of the Jammers for the final weeks of the Pitching In Isthmian League division north season.

“It was good,” said Cureton.

“I’ve been managing now for a while and it was nice to get the call to go in at Maldon.

“It has the Colchester link which is great and I really enjoyed it.

“It was a good experience being around a different group and a lot of Colchester boys coming in, so seeing how that worked.

“I worked alongside Liam (Bailey) who’s a top coach and I really enjoyed my time with him.

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“I think having a Colchester link is really important for Maldon.

“Even though I have a Colchester link, by not working for them I felt it was never going to be the job they would give me because I think they always want someone who works for Colchester and could also work for Maldon, rather than give it to someone who’s just in the Maldon camp.

“So, I sort of expected it but it was a shame, because it’s a good club and I enjoyed my time there.

“There’s a few things bubbling underneath that might happen in the next week or two.

“I’ll be back in football and managing.”


Cureton has made more than 1,000 competitive appearances spanning nine tiers of the football pyramid, scoring more than 350 goals.

The 48-year-old says he is keen to carry on playing at his next club.

Cureton added: “Liam was in control of it at Maldon and I played a bit under him, when he needed me to play.

“Obviously, when I’m in sole control, I can obviously do what I want, so I’ll play a lot more, next year!”

Jamie Cureton was speaking at a special football match held at Stanway Rovers FC last weekend, where a U’s legends side helped to raise more than £6,000 for the Hope for Grace charity.

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