Lisbie Luck Has Swagger In Tact
After his goalmouth gifts, our columnist explains why Kevin Lisbie doesn`t owe Colchester fans a contract extension, just commitment between now and May
So this column swaggers in smelling of hypocrisy and offering a rather rock 'n` roll suggestion. Today`s contention is that Kevin Lisbie will not be guilty of a shameless mutiny if he chooses to jump Col U`s relegation-bound ship come May.
Yes, the same keystrokes that spelt out Jamie Cureton`s crime sheet after the former U`s forward condemned Colchester to a 5-1 spanking with three goals on Saturday now typedances to a totally different tune.
Cureton leaves to Norwich for £750,000 after netting 23 times, and the preferred turn of phrase from this correspondent cited the "betrayal" by 2007`s top scorer, calling it "shameful conduct". There`s every chance that this season`s sharpshooter Lisbie might repeat the trick of swinging on by the Blue 'n` White saloon in summertime, yet the response ought to be different.
Why? Well, the man Sinatra might have called Lisbie Luck has fashioned 15 gaols in a struggling side - one that even serial optimists admit is destined for the League One drop. His predatory predilection for continuing a net-busting charge is to be applauded all the more because it is apparently for a lost Championship survival cause.
A personal opinion is that Lisbie`s career renascence this season, where he finally let go of the Charlton comfort blanket after more than a decade, has been one of the brighter points of a seriously drab Colchester campaign. Each Saturday in 2008 has so far become less about expecting an inevitable lack of three points, and more about seeing Lisbie with a smile on his face and more than a few bullets in his boots.
But, like Colchester`s fading Championship status, the current arrangement can`t last. Or can it? Now that Lisbie has found his way in the soccer equivalent of Pandora`s Box - namely, the penalty area - the faithful fear that he has developed a roving eye. Colchester`s smiling assassin has rediscovered that goals truly are a striker`s elixir of life. The hope can only be that he feels content to contribute more with the U`s.
Nobody yet knows whether Lisbie has a toxic tongue to match his lethal feet, particularly when it comes to the question of his future. Presumably that is because the media have forgotten to press the openly debated poser by shoving an obligatory microphone up his nose in the hours since terraced talk turned into contract chatter.
The 29-year-old had limped form the action with a calf problem last weekend, so Cureton`s whirlwind hat-trick in front of those who used to adore him in the away end stole all headlines, instead. Amid that pomp faded the fact that Lisbie, once loaned to City himself, had also hit the net against a former employer. The flashbulb furore focused very much one way.
So, back to comparing Cureton`s fallen star with Lisbie`s rising stock. It`s a tale two top scorers, in Colchester`s two different Championship seasons, but with one, and principally the same, dilemma. Awaiting the commencement of whichever charm offensive Kevin stowed away for this eventuality, the only saving grace could be if Geraint Williams has secured the U`s number 20 on terms lasting longer than 365 days.
Except, of course, that modern sporting contracts might as well be signed with invisible ink, such is there obvious transparency and lack of meaning. Money`s sweet talk nearly always motives adversely those who you would least suspect of a mercenary streak.
After hacking away the hype, then it seems that we are dealing once again in that non-tangible force of loyalty, which can sometimes be a misguiding precept in itself. The shortest way around this particular moral maze would be to think in terms of what Lisbie actually owes Colchester United.
If the answer you came up with is nothing, then you are to be saluted, because Super Kev`s return for an investment of faith in his ability, much like Cureton`s, was never forever binding. Last year Lisbie simply agreed to play for pay, after failed trails at Leicester and Leeds, not sell his soul.
Where Cureton failed, then, is by poor management of his Layer Road retreat; his irreverent comments about the club`s lack of "ambition", and a gaffe hat-trick of come-and-get-me pleas to Norwich on three Wednesdays running in June, saw him renege on a promise to stay in Essex.
Now it`s Back to The Future with Lisbie, who has stayed wisely mute on the issue, instead promising to emulate Cureton by adding five goals to his current tally in as many remaining weeks of the campaign to make a neat 20.
Common sense must tell even staunch Colchester fans that Lisbie has paid his dues with so many goalmouth gifts, meaning he is not obliged to chain himself to the club`s relegation-riled railings, as if aboard the Titanic.
The U`s unsinkable, too good to go down? That was being mooted when Lisbie first joined the ranks in late pre-season. If he now decides to pass through the other side of the transfer market`s revolving door, there can be no complains. The only ask supporters would have of the striker is that swats up on U`s history to avoid a repeat of last summer`s soundbite slagging-match.