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Curo: "I should have stayed"

24 March 2013

Nominated Player of the Year reminisces

Royals fans' favourite and current Exeter City striker Jamie Cureton was shortlisted for the npower League Two Player of the Year award last week.

In his second spell with the Grecians, the 37-year-old has scored 20 goals for Paul Tisdale's promotion challengers and will be up against Port Vale striker Tom Pope and Bradford captain Gary Jones for the award.

Currently second in the division's goalscoring charts, Curo spoke exclusively to our matchday programme 'The Royal' a couple of weeks ago, and said some nice stuff about a club he still has great affection for.

"They have to be the best three years of my career," he said of his time as a Royal. "When I look at the seasons I had here, I either scored loads of goals or the club did well, got promoted or got to the play-offs.

"I got 30 goals in my first year as we lost in the final, we went up in the second year and then the third year we lost to Wolves in the semis! I couldn’t have asked for three better years and the stupidest thing I did was leave.

"In the final year I’d hadn’t played that much, Fozzy [Nicky Forster] had played up front on his own. Pards [Alan Pardew] had offered me a year because he knew I wanted to play regularly, he was trying to be fair by offering me a year and saying if you’re not playing around Christmas time I’ll let you go and you’ll get a good move because you won’t be tied to a big contract.

"Me, rather than saying I want to be part of the club, I looked at it and said it doesn’t give me any security. So I looked to move, which was stupid.
"I was young and I’ve always been eager to play, which is good, but probably a downfall at some times. At that time, I’d had three brilliant years, everything had gone well and there was no reason to leave.

"I should have said I’d commit to the club, I think Pards would have said fine and then I could have signed long term. But I got itchy feet, I’d scored goals, I had clubs that wanted me, I’d not played a lot in the last year in a 4-5-1 and in those days I wasn’t that type of player.

"Now I could probably do it and I do it for Exeter quite a lot. Back then I generally played off someone. That was probably why I left. You don’t like to look back but I probably should have stayed."

Of course, Cureton can score as many goals as he wants for Exeter, but none will be as fondly remembered as his strike at Brentford's Griffin Park that secured the Royals the point they needed for automatic promotion on the final day of the season.

Reminiscing he told 'The Royal', "The Brentford goal gets brought up of course and it’s nice to be part of the history of the club. Any time I speak to someone with a Reading connection they mention that goal and tell me to come back but I think my age has gone beyond that now!

"Perhaps apart from my debut, that was the biggest moment of my career. It was a good goal but what it achieved in a split second was even bigger and better – we went up and the club has moved on.

"It has been a part of pushing the club forward, it’s rare you can score a goal with such an impact. So through my career it’s the most important goal I’ve scored, definitely."

Cureton keeps tabs on his old club and is impressed by the striker who bears something of a resemblance to him as a player...Adam Le Fondre.

"I see a lot of similarities of course, and not just because he’s at Reading, he scored goals for fun in the lower leagues.

"It was just a matter of time before someone took him and I was surprised it took so long! Reading have done the right thing and for a small fee as well.

"He’s similar to me, he might not always be in the game but he scores – and goals win games. Me and Butts – well Butts in particular – used to enjoy telling the defenders that! But it’s true of course.

"You need good players around you but scoring is an art, and with someone who’s got the knack like Le Fondre it wins points and they will be vital if Reading are to stay up."

You can read the full in-depth interview with Cureton in the Aston Villa programme which, for those fond of reminiscing, came with a Simod Cup special edition. If you missed the issue, you can buy a copy here.

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