Bishop's Stortford striker Jamie Cureton all set to make 1,000th club appearance over Easter weekend
BY NEAL HARRINGTON
A landmark 1,000th club appearance is on the horizon, yet retirement is the last thing on sprightly striker Jamie Cureton’s mind.
He may be 43, but the prolific marksman is eager to carry on playing for Bishop’s Stortford after he hits the four-figure mark.
Cureton is set to achieve the amazing milestone over the Easter weekend, either when the Blues visit Lewes on Saturday or when they host Brightlingsea Regent on Easter Monday.
Since making his Premier League debut for Norwich in 1994, Cureton has notched up 999 appearances and scored an impressive 359 goals along the way.
Cureton said: "I want to play still. I'll be here at Stortford playing and managing next season.
"I'll go through pre-season. See if I deserve my place. As long as I'm effective, I will play. I don’t feel that I’m slowing up.”
So what keeps the former England under-18 international going?
"I don’t want to stop as my love of the game is so great. That's what drives me on,” he said. “I still really enjoy being out there on a Saturday, scoring goals and winning football matches.
“I do everything possible recovery-wise to continue. I prepare my body as best I can for games.
"I don't know what's in my genes, something keeps pushing me on. I'm not out there making the numbers up.”
Cureton, who works as an assistant coach with Arsenal under-16s, stepped into management in September last year alongside club owner Steve Smith.
The goals have continued to flow with 20 in league and cup so far this season. He has the proud record of scoring in all eight top tiers of English football and was the Championship’s leading marksman with Colchester United in 2006-07.
He said: “By getting 20-plus goals in a season, I think I should carry on.
"I am very much driven by targets. What can I get to? I’ve now scored over 350 goals, so I want to get to 400.
"It's given me an insight taking over as joint-manager with Steve Smith, like picking teams and giving team talks. I always see myself as going into management rather than coaching.”
Cureton has always made an impact, scoring his first career goal for Norwich in 1994 just 13 seconds after coming on as a substitute in a 3-0 Premier League home win over Chelsea.
“When I was at the top, I thought that was me forever,” said Cureton.
“I didn't have the attitude I have now. I thought I knew it all, I didn't adapt to what was needed. I felt my ability was enough.
"Going down the levels grounded me and I worked myself back up to the Championship. I was very much Jack the Lad.”
A quarter of a century later, Cureton’s immense enthusiasm for the game is still there.
He said: "I've had a career to be proud of and still get a thrill from scoring. It’s still a great buzz. In fact, the buzz for football is still there.
"People say 'are you not bored yet' by things like the travelling. I actually enjoy the whole routine of it. I will be devastated to call it a day.”