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Dagenham and Redbridge's Jamie Cureton prepares for his 21st season

30 July 2014

It's been a while since Pato Banton was number one in the UK charts with 'Baby Come Back', John Major was the Prime Minister and a pint of beer was roughly £1.30.

Since 1994, there have been hundreds of chart-toppers, three other PMs, and the average cost for the same measure of beer is now hovering around three to four pounds.

One thing that has stayed the same during that time, though, is Jamie Cureton's ability to score goals in professional football.

It was almost 20 years ago that the striker made his professional debut, for Norwich City on 5th November 1994, and after 750 games and 258 goals, the 38-year-old has just signed for his 14th different club ahead of the 2014/15 Football League campaign.

Dagenham and Redbridge became his latest employer when the Sky Bet League 2 club secured the services of the experienced front-man on a one-year deal, joining the team against whom he scored his 250th career goal back in October 2013 when playing for Cheltenham Town.

And it's not just as a professional that Cureton's love for the back of the net has been in evidence; he netted 82 times in 90 matches for Norwich City's youth team before graduating to the first team.

By his own admission, the ride hasn't been smooth since scoring his first goal - for the Canaries against Chelsea in December 1994, 13 seconds after entering the action as a substitute - acknowledging that as a younger man he was quite naughty and would often go out with friends after every game.

There was also his green hair when at Norwich, in an Old Farm derby against East Anglia rivals Ipswich Town, promoting him to a cult status with Canary fans, assisted by the fact he also came on and scored.

Now, ahead of his 21st season as a pro footballer, Cureton, who will be 39 in August, may be cranking up the average age of the Daggers' squad but his ambition is as strong as ever.

Talking to Daggers Player about last season's 11-goal campaign for Cheltenham, Cureton described it as, "OK, not too bad, but I want more than that this year."

He added: "Wherever I go, everyone expects me to score goals because of my record, but I probably put more pressure on myself."

"I've already scored during pre-season so it's going well. It's not taken long to settle in, so I'm pleased with how everything is progressing ahead of the season.

"It's a young squad at Dagenham so I'm sure I'll get a bit of stick throughout the season, but I'm pretty much the oldest wherever I go these days.

"It's not just about the football, though. The manager [Wayne Burnett] wants me to pass on some of my experiences to the younger lads. I know I wasn't the best listener earlier in my career, but hopefully they are interested in what I have to say."

Cureton may have a few more clubs to go through before eclipsing the likes of ultimate journeymen Trevor Benjamin and Steve Claridge, and a couple more years to go before over-taking Teddy Sheringham and Ryan Giggs who played on professionally until they were over 40, but his goal-scoring legacy continues for now.

Cureton and Dagenham and Redbridge begin their Sky Bet League 2 campaign at home to Morecambe on Saturday 9th August.

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