Kevin Lisbie might be 36 but he has just got better as his career has gone on and last season he was a massive part of Leyton Orient’s promotion challenge.
Leyton Orient surprised everyone last season and were unlucky to not get promoted after losing to Rotherham United on penalties in the League One playoff final. Lisbie has been a consistent goal scorer for the club and although this season has started slowly for the club, they will be hoping to pick up some better results and recover from losing manager Russell Slade. The striker is just as important off the field as he is on it and his experience will be vital now.
The Jamaican international started his career at Charlton Athletic and made his professional debut during the 1996-97 season and helped them gain promotion to the Premier League in his second season. He did not get much of a chance in the top flight and had to go out on loan. He joined Gillingham and played seven times for the club, scoring four times. With Charlton getting relegated he was expected to play a part in the first team but this did not happen and he had to go out on loan during the 1999-00 season, joining Reading, however he only played twice.
Charlton once again gained promotion but this time Lisbie got more of a chance after a loan spell at QPR in December 2000, he went on to play 18 Premier League games. He had his best goalscoring season in the following campaign for the club, hitting the back of the net five times but in February 2002 he was placed on the transfer list. He eventually signed a new contract in May.
His best moment in a Charlton shirt came in September 2003 when he scored a hatrick in a 3-2 win over Liverpool but unfortunately he could not build on this as he suffered from injuries and ended it with five goals in just 10 games. After he returned he became a regular in the side during the 2004-05 campaign but after suffering from nosebleeds it was discovered that he had a benign tumour in the back of his nose which had to be treated.
In the 2005-06 season he was loaned out a few times, firstly to Norwich City and then Derby County and this signalled that his time at Charlton was over. After 176 games for the club he was released and after a successful trial at Colchester United he joined the club in August 2007. Despite the club getting relegated from the Championship, Lisbie was in fantastic form and in just one season he surpassed his league goals for Charlton after scoring 17 times and finished as the club’s top scorer.
This meant that clubs were interested in him and he joined Ipswich Town for £600,000 in July 2008. He started off quite well at the club but struggled to hold down a first team place, with him failing to play a single game in the last two years. During this time he had to go out on loan again, and rejoined Colchester in August 2009 and scored twice on his second debut on the opening day in a 7-1 win over Norwich. He once again became a fan favourite as he finished as their top scorer with 13 goals but with the club failing to get promoted he decided not to sign for the club permanently.
He then spent the 2010-11 season on loan to Millwall in the Championship but injury problems meant he could not play to his full potential and he only managed four goals in 20 appearances. After being released by Ipswich he joined Leyton Orient on the 9th September 2011 and has become a hero for the club, scoring 46 times in his three full seasons at the club so far, with a best of 18 coming last season.
The final word can go to Russell Slade. “Kevin is a huge player for us. He’s a class act and an excellent professional, who offers us valuable experience and quality, both on and off the pitch.”