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🔎 Played for Both: Colchester United

Jed Penberthy takes a look at a pair who have played for the Grecians and the U's

23 February 2021

Colchester United pose the next obstacle for former U’s loanee Matt Taylor, as the Exeter City boss takes his team across the width of the country to the JobServe Community Stadium.

Ahead of Taylor’s return to Essex for Tuesday’s 7pm Kick-off, Jed Penberthy looks back at two who have also featured for both clubs.

Clinton Morrison

  • Born: May 14, 1971
  • Position: Striker

You’d usually be right thinking a centre-forward who only scored two goals in two years for any club would be castaway, but Clinton Morrison is not any old striker. His infectious personality and terrific work rate made him a firm fan-favourite at St James Park despite his on-paper statistics.

As a keen young prodigy, Clinton burst through the ranks at Crystal Palace in the late 90’s making his debut for the Eagles late in the ‘97/98 season. Over two spells at Selhurst Park (sandwiching a stint at Birmingham), Morrison played 281 times, scoring 101 goals. This form earned him a call-up to the Republic of Ireland National side.

Alongside fellow Premier League legends Robbie Keane, Roy Keane and Damien Duff, Morrison was part of the 2002 Irish squad who made the Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

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In 2008, Morrison said his goodbyes to Palace and moved to Coventry. Four years later he found himself at Colchester United. His first goal for the club was met by an interesting celebration from Morrison as he ran the length of the pitch to goad the Sheffield United fans, after getting grief all game due to his two-year term with Steel City enemies Wednesday.     

Injuries and competition or places limited Clinton for game time at Colchester and he resultantly left in 2014. After three games to keep up his fitness in the Midland League, Morrison signed for Exeter on non-contract terms in November. In January 2015, Morrison was given a short-term contract to the end of the season.

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Contributing with only a handful of assists there were doubts whether the popular figure of Morrison would return for the 2015/16 campaign. Confirmation of his return came in the form of a surprise name on the subs bench for the opening game of the season against Yeovil Town. In November’s fixture against Stevenage, in front of the Sky TV Camera’s, Clinton finally, finally, broke his duck with a sumptuous volley from six-yards out.

“He only scores on the Tele,” was the tongue-in-cheek chant from the Big Bank after netting his second goal for the Grecians in an FA Cup fixture to Didcot Town. After leaving the Grecians at the end of the 15/16 season, Morrison had a couple of years in non-league before taking up a job on the other side of the Sky Camera’s, now as a pundit for Soccer Saturday.

Jamie Cureton

  • Born: August 28, 1975
  • Position: Striker

From one end of the goal-scoring spectrum to the other, in contender for ‘Understatement of the Year’ Jamie Cureton had much better luck for Exeter in front of goal. He joined City in 2010 after release from Norwich and went on the bag 42 goals in 83 appearances for the Grecians.

His career is (still) a lengthy one. Born in Bristol, Jamie began his career at Carrow Road in 1993, despite keen eyes from Manchester United trying to pry him away. One to experiment, Jamie gained cult status in Norfolk by dying his hair Green and Yellow ahead of the ‘Old Farm Derby’ against Ipswich- subsequently scoring in the same game.

A move home to Bristol ensued with a permanent switch to Rovers in 1996. Prolific as he would ever be, Curo racked up 68 goals in 168 games for the Gas before leaving for Reading at the turn of the Century.

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Ever a legend to net at important times, Cureton finished his 30th goal of the season in the 2000 Division Two play-off final, though the Royals lost to Walsall. A year later, he went one step further, this time securing promotion for Alan Pardew’s men with a deft flick against Brentford at Griffin Park.

After shifts in South Korea and at QPR, Cureton moved to Essex where, yet again, he’d make himself a household name. A hat trick in the Essex Derby against Southend was the highlight in a Championship Golden Boot winning season and became the first U’s player to score more than 20 goals in a season in 22 years.

In 2010, Curo switched to Devon with City and further blitzed the scoring charts. Twenty goals and two end of season awards were claimed by Curo, though due to family commitments Jamie didn’t extend his contract at St James Park for the new season, instead favouring Leyton Orient.

Though he did return, first on loan in City’s ill-fated League One season, and then permanently for the 2012/13 season. Another 21 strikes followed for the veteran but at 37 was released in favour of younger blood.

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Now at 45, Curo is still playing a good standard of football. Last year he became the first person to have scored in the top nine tiers of English football. He is one of only 29 players in world football to have made over 1,000 competitive appearances in his career and he is just 17 shy of 400 career goals. Hopefully Jamie can eclipse this milestone, but with the current climate of non-league football it looks like an agonsing target.    

Though both strikers came at different times at both clubs, their individual styles of play could have potentially been a dream partnership. One of those “What if” shower thoughts Grecians and U’s fans may sometimes ponder.

What are your favourite memories of the pair? Please let us know via our usual social media links! For now, all eyes are on Tuesday night as Matt Taylor, who notched five apps for Colchester in 2013, will be looking to gain all three points, to continue City’s building form.


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