Date:Monday February 5 2007
Hall Of Fame Next for King Karl?
Karl Anthony Duguid is not a word-class player, ripe for selection in an all-star XI, so why does this correspondent constantly sing his praises? Because the modern moral-bending currency of pounds and pence is not the only barometer that can accurately measure the Colchester captain`s intent.
The 28-year old the midfielder - a servant of 11 years - signed a new contract last Friday, to end speculation that he might have left Britain`s oldest recorded town, in July, under the Bosman ruling.
Although Colchester United refused to reveal the exact length of the new deal, thought to be a two-year agreement, the extension to his stay will almost certainly see this one-club man in Essex beyond his 30th birthday.
Conspiracy theories abound as to exactly why the U`s have opted not to publicly declare the finer points of the deal, but Karl`s commitment to the cause has never been in doubt, even if he used a cleverly choreographed bit of media exposure to secure a contact, worth in excess of £60,000 a-year.
Simple maths dictates that Karl ears in the region of £1,100-per-week, which is a fair amount; his annual salary is double that of the accepted national average. The money, however, is unimportant when noting the priceless commodity of his loyalty, which Karl offers in abundance.
'Mr. Colchester` is staying at home when he could, conceivably, have fled in favour of picking up a much larger wage elsewhere.
The thought occurred - despite Karl not taking the apparent opportunity to fight-it-out in the Premiership`s weekly scrap - that his career path has already taken on so many twists and turns, that it mirrors that of many modern top-flight legends, at least in some respects.
Just comparisons may be made between Karl and Roy Keane, Bryan Robson (Manchester United), Alan Shearer (Newcastle United) or Tony Adams (Arsenal), all of whom succeeded because they treated those two old friends, triumph and disaster, with equivalent respect.
Karl`s ample soul has been stirred in Richter-scale extremes since he made his Colchester debut in December 1995.
Success (promotion from League One, 2006), failure (missed deciding penalty, Autoglass Windscreen Shield, April 1997), heartbreak (career-threatening injury, which kept him out of action for 18 months) and redemption (scored against rivals Ipswich, September 2006 - a first league goal for years) all feature in the patchwork that weaves together his rich career.
That`s just scratching the surface. An inheritance of the captaincy, which came in 2004 when Phil Parkinson bestowed him with that honour, coincided with the club granting him a testimonial. The man affectionately known as Doogie is one of the few modern professionals deserving of a tribute match, and saw 5,000 fans celebrate his devotion to Colchester in a match against West Ham.
There is enough material here for a good book, actually. Any prospective tome of Karl`s would be the most eagerly anticipated volume in Essex since former player Perry Groves` autobiography, which tells the story of how a £75,000 player rose from East Anglia`s flat lands, to prominence at Arsenal, in the eighties.
But Duguid is from a different era to Groves, who was George Graham`s first signing during his time in North London, ("imagine how fit you`d be if you didn`t drink," said team-mate, Anders Limpar, of Groves).
Doogie has his own newspaper column (Evening Gazette) and a nomination in Colchester United`s new hall of fame, which will arrive later this year to mark the club`s 70th anniversary since formation. The skipper - due to his decade of loyal service - is the only current member of the squad eligible for that regal accolade.
For King Karl, such an award would be another hugely appreciated crowning glory on what has been, and continues to be, an illustrious career in Colchester colours.
Paul Groves: My Story. (Hardback: John Blake, £17.99)
To visit Karl Duguid`s official website: www.karlduguid.co.uk
To nominate a player for the Colchester United hall of fame,www.cu-fc.com
(Note the conditions of eligibility, which are on site.)
Date:Monday February 5 2007
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