After a brief break from interviews, we had the opportunity recently to interview Jamie Cureton, now manager At Enfield in the Essex senior league about his length career and the challenge of managing one of non-leagues oldest clubs. Jamie Started his career with Norwich in the early 1990’s before moving to Bristol Rovers, the city of his birth. Between the 90’s and 2021 he has played in every step of the English league system from Step 1-Premier league to Step 9 Essex senior league with Enfield.
You were appointed as manager last summer. How has your time with the club been so far?
It’s been quite hectic since i joined, what with Covid last year and the stop/starting of the leagues. But I’ve been backed well by the people in the board, who want to move the club forward. There was a Lot of player movement in the summer and the target this season is to progress. The squad we have we should do that and we want to finish as high as possible.
What attracted you to join Enfield?
Before I even discussed joining Enfield, I had known a lot of people behind the scenes as the club is ground sharing with my previous club. When I left the club, I had plenty of opportunities to continue playing, but after meeting the chairman, I was impressed with the board and their plans not only on the field but behind it. We sat down and it was quite easy to agree on everything for me to become the first team manager.
You sit in 8th so far this season, do you want to improve on that as the season progresses and what is your target?
If we can finish in the top 3, I think it would be a great achievement. We spoke about promotion at the start of the season, but it’s not an easy league to get out of especially with a new side. If we do not go up this season, we will go again and try again next season.
Where do you see the side developing during your time with the club?
With this, it’s a bit of both as obviously, we want the club to progress on the field, but within my team, I also want the club to develop behind the scenes. There are plans at the moment for a new stadium and building an academy and good community system.This was part of what attracted me to join the club. It’s not just how much you can spend, it’s about building the club and going from there such as Women’s teams, an academy and a reserve league.
Have you been impressed with your summer signings?
The whole squad have all fitted well, some have come in and left, but the majority who have stayed since the summer. Two stand out for me, Dwade James and Jack Grosvenor. I have been after Dwade for sometime, I wanted to bring him in when i was at Bishop Stortford. Jack was recommended to me, but has been great as well and both are vital to what we want to achieve as a team this season.
Did a full pre-season help with developing your ideas and structure on the team?
I think it did, with the season ending early we bought the players back early and this helped us as a team with fitness and then just outlying about what we wanted as a management team from the players. A lot of time, you only normally get players in July, but we were back in April and this helped us to decide what players to keep. We would like to do the same next pre-season and give us time to gel as a squad.
What are the aims the chairman gave you when appointing you?
The main aims are to progress, but as I said previously this is not only on the field, it’s also off. The league will happen naturally as we progress as a side and develop. The brand of ENFIELD FC needs building and if we can get Enfield home or nearer than where we are now, this will help. The plan is to build the club from the bottom up over the next few years, get kids into the Enfield system and create a youth/academy system for the club.
The club is looking to move closer than we are now in the near future, but we can’t say much more at the moment. We are edging closer to making a return to nearer where the club was and it will be our own ground,rather than groundsharing now. This will help to attract better players and with training as it can be at our base and not having to rent pitches etc That is what excited me when I came to the club and has been so long without a proper home.
Would a return to the borough help the club develop in terms of finances/training and more?
It would help everything, from being our own bosses and being in control financially, it would also make us more stable on and off the pitch. Alongside this, it would then would bring in more fans, some new and old and move the club forward. There is a big plan in structure, but we have smaller targets to hit in the near future.
Who do you think will be the hardest team to take on in the division given the sideways moves?
Walthamstow will be the team to beat, they have been up there for a long time and have a good structure and have bought in some good players. I don’t see them dropping many points and they are the team to beat in the division. There are another 5 or 6 teams challenging at the top including ourselves and it’s a top league with some hard away trips, but they are the team to beat.
Best goal as a player
Scoring for Reading against Brentford and helping us to get promotion to the championship and it meant the most to me as a player, but also the club, the fans.
Best moment as a player
That Brentford goal, would be one of them, but also scoring my 1st professional goal. That was a stand out moment as well as I scored the 1st goal against Chelsea, scoring in the premier league. I wasn’t thinking about it then, thinking I’ll score more, but looking back it meant the most to me.
What Coach you learnt the most from
I’ve taken a bit from everyone. Ian Holloway was a big influence on me when he was my manager at Bristol Rovers. Alan Pardrew was another one who I learnt from, along with Paul Tisdale later on in my career. But as a manager, have a plan of what you want to do, along with good/bad and mold it around you as a manager. I try to look after the players I have and promote good man management. You have to understand your players as its key to developing them and getting the best out of them on and off the pitch. I always did well under managers who looked after me properly.
Fav team you played in
Reading was one of my favorites, my 3 year period there was good and my most favorable as we challenged for promotion every year . I also had a 5 year spell at Bristol Rovers and played with some amazing players along with some good strike partners such as Jason Roberts. Other than that, everywhere else I scored goals, I got to play with some great players and I’ve been very lucky in my career and the teams I’ve played for.
Any plans to stop playing?
At the moment, I just want to continue until I stop contributing to the team or my body can’t do it. But this season I’ve only played 2 x 45 minutes as I’ve been injured. But we shall see, and continue ticking along as much as I can. My body will tell me when enough is enough.