One-time City youngster Jamie Cureton looked right at home at Carrow Road this morning as Canary boss Peter Grant officially unveiled his third signing of an increasingly hectic, if not fraught, summer.
The 31-year-old completed his switch from Colchester United on Friday – barely two hours after Robert Earnshaw had packed his bags for Derby County.
But as he settled comfortably into his new surroundings, so the 2007 version of Jamie Cureton bore little resemblance to the 'daft as a brush' youngster that left Norfolk 11 years ago. For one thing, Ade Akinbiyi's youth team strike pal didn't have the Championship Golden Boot sat on his mantelpiece.
Nor did he look as lean and mean as the latest edition. The bright mischevious grin, however, was still not far from the surface.
“Does it feel right? Yes – definitely,” said Cureton, at this morning's official Press conference.
“Even on the drive in, before I signed it had this buzz about it,” added the 31-year-old, whose arrival was understood to have left Norwich at least ?750,000 lighter as the Us made the very most of Norwich's post Earnie discomfort and got their full asking price.
“So, yes, it's nice to get everything sorted out and I just want to get going now.”
There was a clear evidence of intent in his voice; that he had some unfinished business on his agenda after heading home to Bristol in the autumn of 1996 with a mere half a dozen senior goals to his career.
“I was only real here as a kid, first-team wise,” said Cureton. “So I've got a lot to prove and hopefully I can come here and have a good, long-term first team career.
“Youth team, reserves, was great. But obviously I petered off a little bit and I had to leave – and 11 years later I'm back. I'm just happy to be here and want to get going now.”
Had he changed? “Older, a little bit more mature – only a little bit. But, no, I've learned a lot throughout my career. Had ups and downs, but I've been given another opportunity which doesn't come around a lot and I just want to take it with both hands.”
And it wasn't just about Norwich. There may be a certain sentiment attached, but to pull a three-year deal out of the hat when you are 32 next month suggests that Cureton was no-one's fool.
“It wasn't just about because it was Norwich,” said Cureton, with both Hull City and – albeit at the eleventh hour – Charlton Athletic reported to be floating around Layer Road looking for his signature.
“I had to come and speak to the manager and see his plans; see what he wanted to do. Yes, Norwich was a big pull, but if I didn't feel comfortable when I came for talks then I wouldn't have signed.
“So it's not just about: 'I want to come back here…' Everything else is geared to what I want to achieve which is playing good football, winning games and achieving promotion.”
Sat alongside him, City chief Grant revealed that Cureton's name had crossed his thoughts from the moment he walked in the door.
“Probably last October,” said Grant, quizzed as to when, exactly, the interest had started – it wasn't just from the moment last Wednesday when City had Derby County on the phone.
“Last October – simple as that. I knew he'd played here; I knew he was a goal-scorer. And I didn't think we had enough of them at the time. I knew he was in contract, but he knew there was some interest there because he knew that I've always liked him as a player.
“And then come the summer when there was a possibility that he was on the move, we made contact and made sure that if an offer was acceptable, we'd love to have him at the club.
“And then that changed. Come Wednesday evening we got the call about Earnie and we knew that right away we had to do it. No mucking about. We made contact with Colchester, asked them for permission to speak to Jamie and, thankfully, he decided to speak to us.”
The fact that the two had actually locked horns on a football pitch – Grant at Reading, Cureton at Rovers – merely strengthened the manager's determination to bring the player home.
“I always go back to Ally McCoist at Rangers – somebody who you think: 'Well, he's not done anything in the game…' but it's always possible that he's going to put the ball into the back of the net,” said Grant, as he ended up swapping like-for-like – one natural finisher for another. Ideally, he'd have had both. But football has long since ever been ideal.
“So he was one that I was always going to be interested in – even if Earnie was still here.”
Grant admitted that the two in tandem might not have worked; too similar in styles. But having one or either to call on – particularly if one disappeared for three months with a groin injury – would have added fresh depth to City's resources.
“We create the chances and he'll put the ball in the back of the net – if he's selected to play,” said Grant.
Is stepping into Earnie's shoes going to be a heavy burden? “There's pressure regardless,” said Cureton.
“I did well last year and people are going to expect me to do pretty much the same. So it's a pressure – but it's a nice pressure. And I put pressure on myself every week to do well. And I'm not going to come here and worry about that – I'm going to come here and enjoy my football.
“Try and get in the team, stay in it and, hopefully, do well.”