There was no-one quite like 'cult hero' Cureton

Chris LakeyThere aren't many players who can attract attention like Jamie Cureton. A Norwich City career which took two attempts to get going; dyed green hair for a derby match with Ipswich; an ill-fated spell in South Korea; a beautiful WAG for a partner - and goals, goals, goals.Chris Lakey

There aren't many players who can attract attention like Jamie Cureton.

A Norwich City career which took two attempts to get going; dyed green hair for a derby match with Ipswich; an ill-fated spell in South Korea; a beautiful WAG for a partner - and goals, goals, goals.

More than 200 of them to be precise, for nine different clubs. Make that 10 when he starts scoring for Shrewsbury Town, who secured his signature on a loan deal until the end of the season.

So what have they got for their money - and make no mistake, they will have had to fork out a few quid for Cureton, whose services don't come cheaply?


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They get a man who couldn't stop scoring when he was coming through the ranks at Carrow Road, but, by his own admission, got caught up in the frenzy, started believing his own headlines and ended up trying to shrug off a naughty boy image.

He was never a bad boy, just a bit of a rascal who liked a night out.

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It's easy to get caught up in the hype when, a month after your debut, you score your first goal 13 seconds after coming on as a sub - against Chelsea in December, 1994.

Perhaps the most remarkable feat of his first spell with City was escaping from Portman Road unscathed after he had dyed his hair green for an East Anglian derby match in April, 1996. Cureton scored, City lost - and a cult hero was born.

Sadly, he lasted only until a few more months, a loan move to home-town club Bristol Rovers followed by a permanent move. His loan spell return of four goals in six starts was impressive, and he never let up, going on to add another 68 in 161 more starts.

A clutch of big name Premier League sides were chasing him, but he chose Reading.

A return to Carrow Road was often muted, but Cureton headed east to South Korea for a short spell with Pusan, then managed by Ian Porterfield. The kimchee life didn't suit the West Country boy and a little over six months later he was back, spells at QPR, Swindon and Colchester, where he was to win the League One Golden Boot, preceding his second City debut. Cureton's goals and willingness to move around guaranteed he was never far from transfer speculation, although at the age of 31 his return to Norwich looked likely to be his last chance for another pop at the big one - the Premier League.

He scored two on his debut - in the League Cup against Barnet - and two against Southampton on his Championship debut, finishing the season as leading scorer with 14.

But Peter Grant sometimes came down hard on him, even once criticising him for trying a perfectly reasonable attempt on goal instead of passing to the hapless David Strihavka.

He produced a similar effect in Grant's successor Glenn Roeder, who refused to praise him after a hat-trick against Colchester in March, 2008, suggesting instead that 'that's what he's paid to do'.

It was Roeder who inexplicably loaned Cureton to Barnsley - one of City's relegation rivals - for three months.

He scored twice in eight appearances, but with Roeder still on his way home after being sacked, Cureton was recalled, Bryan Gunn hoping a bit of that Carrow Road togetherness would work again. It didn't.

It flickered, briefly, when Paul Lambert came in last August, but the flame soon went out and now Lambert, who wanted to take Cureton back to Colchester last summer, is the man who has allowed him to pack his bags and leave. For good this time.

t FACTFILE

Age: 34

Born: Bristol, August 28, 1975

City debut: November 5, 1994: City 0, Everton 0.

Career (in all competitions)

1991-96: Norwich City, 13 appearances (plus 19 as substitute) 6 goals

1995: Bournemouth (on loan), 0 (6) 0

1996-00: Bristol Rovers, 190 (10) 78

2000-03: Reading, 89 (38) 55

2003-04: Pusan Icons (South Korea), data not available

2004-05: QPR, 24 (23) 7

2005: Swindon, 22 (10) 7

2005-07: Colchester, 54 (2) 31

2007-10: Norwich City, 48 (28) 18

2008-09: Barnsley (loan), 7 (1) 2

Total: 447 (137) 204

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