Lisbie could have had bank-breaking deal

COLCHESTER United were so keen to keep striker Kevin Lisbie that they would have broken the bank to keep the 29-year-old from moving down the A12 to Portman Road.

Elvin King

COLCHESTER United were so keen to keep striker Kevin Lisbie that they would have broken the bank to keep the 29-year-old from moving down the A12 to Portman Road.

Lisbie, who will be looking to win over Ipswich Town fans after stunning them with a spectacular late winning goal for Charlton against the Blues in the Ipswich Premiership relegation 2001/02 campaign, is pleased to have made a move to a 'bigger' club.

But he admits that it was a not an easy decision for him to leave a U's side that was relegated from the Coca-Cola Championship at the end of last season.


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He said: “Like any player, I want to be at as big a club as possible but I wasn't pushing for a move.

“Not once did I say I wanted to leave.

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“And the offer of a new contract by Colchester made my decision a bit harder.

“Colchester tried to match what Ipswich were offering, but it was always going to be hard for them to do that, with the clubs being a division apart now.

“I understand that I would have become the highest paid player in Colchester history.”

Lisbie, who struck 17 goals for United in 2007/08 despite their relegation, has signed a three-year deal at Portman Road.

Die hard Ipswich fans do not find it easy to fully accept players with previous connections with Norwich City, and Lisbie was part of the Canary squad for the 2005 East Anglian derby.

Only the second player other than Trevor Putney to play for all three major East Anglian teams, Lisbie said: “I hope the Ipswich fans can forgive me for my time at Carrow Road.

“A few other clubs came in this summer, but I wasn't interested in a move from Colchester - until I got a call from Ipswich.

“I've played against them a number of times and they always play football one way - the right way.

“I know that won't change and that suits me down to the ground.”

Lisbie's made six appearances against Ipswich for various previous clubs, netting one goal - and one that came as a body blow as manager George Burley looked to gain a valuable home point to lift the gloom after a poor start to what turned out to be a relegation season.

Town boss Jim Magilton has bought Lisbie to score the goals that will zoom the Blues into the Premier League, and he said: “Scoring 17 times for a relegated side speaks volumes about Kevin.

“If we can create the chances that Colchester did last season I am sure Kevin will tuck them away.

“Like West Ham with Richard Wright, Colchester did not want to lose one of their valuable players.

“Both clubs were looking for the best price - with Kevin and Richard helping to complete my jigsaw for the squad that I want.”

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