Duguid Shows He's So Good
Duguid Debate Shows He`s Just So Good
In his mind, as on his personal website, ex club captain Karl Duguid will always be a Colchester United player. Those photos in cyberspace prove that any cynical attacks on his contribution for the U`s look ill-judged.
A smattering of resentful supporters sought to discredit Duguid by saying his form, and halo, had slipped during his final months in stripes. This ugly revisionism of folklore was presumably a coping mechanism to help soften the internal blow his summertime departure cause so many rank and file fans.
The 30-year-old`s exit, through, after fifteen years, was a classic case of an immovable object meeting irresistible force: the Championship beckoned for Colchester`s Granite Man - a lure that proved too good for Duguid.
There were those Col U regulars who charged him with becoming too comfortable with life as an automatic choice and the captain`s armband at United, which is funnily enough what the masses said of David Beckham after the last World Cup, and he`s currently playing for A.C. Milan.
Now skippering Plymouth, Duguid had played every minute of his new side`s Championship campaign until he suffered a torn calf muscle at the end of November, and boss Paul Sturrock rued missing his "amazing standard of performance" upon assessing the injury`s impact on the side.
Not-so-coincidentally, the Pilgrim Number 2`s absence from the XI saw them endure a six-week winless streak; they literarily couldn`t win without him. Oh, and guess which player it was who netted in the team`s recent F.A. Cup 3-1 loss at Arsenal`s Emirates stadium: yours truly.
The casebook from here on in is closed: Duguid is a consistently excellent player at his level, even in a side of under-performers at Plymouth. His form has got to be attributable to more than just uncannily being in the right place at the right time.
Cureton`s Boomerang Bounce
Jamie Cureton is the Championship`s answer to Michael Owen. Yes, except that he`s older and not quite as injury-prone.
Cureton`s career spans nine clubs, ten professional hat-ticks and a decent amount of proving the critics wrong. Until fairly recently, he also held the record for fastest goal scored by a substitute in Premier League history and, in the earliest days, was on the verge of an England Under-21 breakthrough.
Not quite so much in common there with Owen as I presumed, but still what both have is a history of silencing the doubters by scoring goals.
Cureton also has the annoying knack of bouncing-back in front of his former employers: think his Southampton salvo for Colchester of March 2007, or his last three-score against the U`s for City as they all-but confirmed the club`s relegation a year later.
He did it again on Saturday, scoring for Norwich against Barnsley, the club he was loaned to in order that he rediscover the natural bullets in his boots. The fact that he was able to do it against Barnsley, and not for them, is just another of sport`s accidental ironies.
But Curo fought the lean spell, during which it was suggested that he might return to Colchester, amid much murmuring as to how he might be received. Curo, lets it be forgotten, twisted the "no ambition" knife in United`s back after an astounding season in which he netted 24 Golden Boot-winning goals and the club almost gatecrashed the Championship top-six.
Love him or hate him, it`s the plotline you`ve got to admire. Cureton proves you simply can`t keep the best sportsmen down for long.
League table doesn't lie
Football works in stupid extremes, but that`s what sells tickets and fills the back pages.
Colchester`s very good run of recent results has seen them billed by news platforms this morning as possible League One play-off contenders where previously they were just relegation fodder.
The League table, showing the U's in as League One's 11th-best team, is this sport`s truth serum: one look at that is a great cure for the contagious media disease. It`s called myopia.
Writings of Working Men?
Good thing that sports writers Paul Hayward and Martin Samuel, both at new homes with the Observer and Daily Mail respectively, each chose to tackle the Kaka-to-Manchester City saga without being too critical of his potentially obscene pay-packet in their column-spaces.
Otherwise you would have the ironic situation where two of the country's leading commentators were unwillingly engaging in gross self-parody.
Samuel`s reported annual salary is £400,000 - much less than Kaka`s potential king`s random, but still working out at well over £1,000 per-day - while Hayward recently got himself an agent, making his own expertise a marketable commodity.
Maybe both should consider those facts before they next lecture the biggest stars on suffering detachment form the common working man.