Q&A with Colchester United Legend Kem Izzet
Kem Izzet was recently kind enough to speak to Ashley (@AshleyCalver1)
Kem is most well known for his time at Colchester United where he made over 400 appearances for and spent 12 years with who he played for in League One and the Championship. Kem is younger brother to Leicester legend Muzzy Izzet.
The first club you signed for was Charlton back in there Premier League days how did you get signed up with them?
Yeah it is a long story. When I was 8 or 9 maybe even younger I was playing for a Sunday club called Senrab. We had a few decent players and a scout came over and asked if I wanted to go along and join in training with some clubs. I went and trained for Charlton, West Ham, Tottenham and Chelsea but I decided I wanted to sign for Charlton. I got offered a few different things but that was the one I decided to choose at that time.
Is Senrab the same Sunday team that John Terry and Ledley King played for?
Yeah at my time we all played at the same team.
So then you moved to Colchester, was it on loan initially?
Well I will tell you what happened. I had a 2 year pro deal at Charlton and in January of my last season I went and saw the manager who was Alan Curbishly at the time. I said to him that my contract was up in the summer whats going on, Is there another contract there for me? I didn’t want to let it run out and be a kid scrapping around trying to find a deal at the end of the season. He said he couldn’t see himself offering me another and that he didn’t feel as though I was ready for Charlton’s first team yet. He told me he would try and help me find another club and that I was free to go were ever I like. So I went over to Reading on trial to start with and that didn’t work out so then I went to Gillingham and that didn’t work either out so then I went to Colchester on a trial. The first week I played a reserve team game on the Tuesday and played ok then trained the rest of the week and by the Friday I was in the squad for the first team sitting on the bench. On the Saturday someone got injured after 26 minutes I came on and the rest is history really.
It was over 450 appearances you made for them wasn’t it?
I think it was about 470 in the end yeah
So you obviously liked it there do you ever see yourself going back in any capacity?
I would love to go back there in some capacity but at the moment it doesn’t seem like that will happen. The club has moved on in their ways as football clubs do and its all a little disappointing. I gave them 13 years of my life and for those 13 years I was as dedicated as any one at the football club. I just thought I was forgotten about very very quickly for someone who had been there for so long. But that’s football unfortunately and things have to move on. I would love to go back in some capacity, but can I see it happening? Probably not.
Like you said 13 years, did you ever have any offers to go anywhere else?
There were a few clubs sniffing about, clubs like Ipswich who were local. People were always saying let your contract run out and you will have a better chance at the end of the season. I always got advised never let your contract run out, if someone is that keen in taking you they will come and buy you, but no one did and I had a family I had to look out for so I had to make sure I had a contract on the table all the time. So that’s what I did and it worked out for both me and Colchester.
So fast forward to leaving Colchester, you signed for Needham Market what was the main reason for signing there?
The main reason was that I did not want to be playing football for too long and to have to worry about being unfit if I found another league club. Another reason is that I have a young family who are in school and I didn’t want to uproot them. If I had got a club somewhere else there would have been a chance I might have had to uproot the kids from school. I didn’t want to do that for the sake of one or two years because we are really settled where we are. Needham is not to far away and they offered me a fantastic contract for non-league level which obviously helps as well. At the same time it gave me a chance to start building up a career outside of football and that was probably the biggest reason. I only had to commit to Tuesday and Thursday night training sessions and then the game on Saturday. The rest of the time was mine to do as I pleased and I wanted and give myself a chance to build up a career outside of the playing side. I was doing coaching and bits an pieces and thankfully that’s gone really well and I am doing ok.
Thanks for talking to us again.
You can follow Kem on Twitter - @Kem_Izzet