He began his career at Norwich City in 1994, and after the club's relegation from the Premier League at the end of the season, has spent the majority of his career in England's lower leagues, apart from a season at South Korean side Busan I'Cons in 2003. In over 700 Premier League and Football League appearances, Cureton has scored more than 250 goals.
He represented England at under-18 level.
Born in Bristol, Cureton began his professional career with Norwich City, before moving on to Bristol Rovers. In 1993, he turned down an offer from Manchester United to stay at Carrow Road. An England youth international, he achieved significant status with the Norwich fans when he dyed his hair yellow and green for an Old Farm derby game against Ipswich Town in 1996 and subsequently scoring in the same fixture. He was sold by Mike Walker to Bristol Rovers in 1996.
Cureton enjoyed a prolific spell at his hometown club. This was particularly the case during the 1999–2000 season where he struck up a partnership with Jason Roberts that almost took the club to promotion. After the club dipped out of the play-off places on the final day of the season he decided his future lay with pastures new, and headed to Reading.
Cureton moved to Reading in 2000, playing there for three years. While at the club, the Reading supporters' trust had a newly discovered star in the "Perseus" constellation named after him. Here he struck a formidable partnership with Martin Butler, becoming one of the most feared combinations in the Football League. In his first season (2000–01), he scored 30 goals, including a goal in the play-off final against Walsall, a game which Reading went on to lose 3–2. The following season however, it was Cureton who scored the goal to get Reading promoted. He scored the equaliser against Brentford in the closing stages, with a deft flick to help it over the keeper, into the corner of the net.
Cureton then made a mid-2003 switch to K-League side Busan I'Cons (now Busan IPark). He failed to settle in East Asia however, describing the move as "another big mistake" in 2014.
After being released from his contract at Busan, he returned to England and joined Queens Park Rangers on 30 January 2004. One of the more memorable of the six goals he scored there was a volley from a tight angle against Coventry City which echoed Marco Van Basten's goal against USSR in the Euro 1988 final. After a mostly unsettled season at Loftus Road though, he joined Swindon Town in June 2005.
He failed to make his mark in his first spell at the club and subsequently joined Colchester United on loan. He then briefly returned to Swindon Town as they failed to avoid relegation to League Two. After Swindon's relegation, Cureton activated a clause in his contract that allowed him to leave Swindon on a free transfer, and rejoined Colchester on a permanent basis. His first full season with the U's proved to be hugely successful as the Essex club managed a 10th-place finish in the Championship, partnering Chris Iwelumo.
One of Cureton's main highlights in a Colchester shirt was the hat-trick he scored in the 3–0 away win against Essex rivals Southend United on 7 April 2007.
His 23 goals in the 2006–07 season gave him the Championship Golden Boot as the league's top scorer, and made him the first Colchester United striker since Tony Adcock to score 20 league goals in a season; the first for 22 years.
On 5 June 2007, due to agent demands, Cureton handed in a transfer request to Colchester United, citing Colchester's ambitions differing from his own, underlined when the club failed to re-sign several key players. This inevitably fuelled speculation that Cureton might return to Norwich City, the club where he began his career. Cureton himself stated that he would like to return to the club.
Colchester initially rejected the transfer request, saying that Cureton was an important part of the club's future and that they wanted to keep him, though Norwich City manager Peter Grant confirmed that he would like to sign Cureton. Cureton moved to Norwich City for £825,000 on 29 June 2007. He was signed as a replacement for Robert Earnshaw, Norwich's top scorer of the 2006–07 season, who left for Derby County in a £3.5 million deal the same day.
After his success at Colchester United, Cureton had a disappointing return to Norwich City.
He scored his first goals for Norwich since re-signing against King's Lynn at The Walks. This was followed up by another goal on Norwich's pre season tour of Holland against AGOVV Apeldoorn.
He then scored two in the League Cup against Barnet and two on his league debut for Norwich against Southampton.
Cureton continued to play very much a bit part during the season and one of his few goals came during the Canaries' 1–0 win at Scunthorpe United, a victory that lifted Norwich clear of the relegation places ahead of the Christmas and New Year fixtures.
Due to lack of first team football, on 27 November 2008, Cureton joined Barnsley on a 3-month loan deal, but on 14 January 2009, he was recalled to Norwich City after Glenn Roeder's termination as manager.
When Norwich played Barnsley on the following weekend, the Canaries were 4–0 victors with Cureton scoring one. Cureton played his 100th game for Norwich City against Coventry but put in a bad performance and was dropped for the rest of the season.
The following season, newly appointed manager Paul Lambert started Cureton for the first three games, only to drop him to the bench for the next two games, leaving him an unused sub for both.
Cureton scored his first two goals of the season, against Leyton Orient and Bristol Rovers, both in which he came on as a late sub. Cureton scored the winning penalty in a Johnstone's Paint Trophy match against Swindon. However this was to be his last ever appearance for Norwich as after this he failed to even secure a place on the bench. After being loaned out to Shrewsbury for the remainder of the season Cureton was released by Norwich City.
Cureton joined Shrewsbury Town on loan until the end of the 2009–10 season on 16 February 2010 from Norwich. After a number of starts and a number of unimpressive performances, he was sent back to Norwich prematurely.
Cureton spent the 2010 pre-season on trial with Exeter City after stating he would like to link up with a club closer to his Bristol home. On 2 August 2010 it was announced that he would sign for them on non-contract terms until the club were in a position to offer him something more permanent. On 24 August it was announced that Cureton had signed a permanent deal with the club until January 2011. Cureton signed a contract extension at Exeter City until the end of the 2010–11 season. Cureton finished as the club's top scorer for the 2010–11 season with 20 goals in all competitions and won the Supporter's Player of the Year and Player's Player of the Year awards. Manager Paul Tisdale was keen to extend Cureton's stay with the Grecians and offered him a deal for the 2011–12 season but the striker declined the offer and left the club after just one season.
On 28 June 2011, Cureton then signed for Leyton Orient which was the O's third pre-season signing at the time. He scored his first and only goal for the club on 7 January 2012, in a 4–1 loss at Carlisle United.
On 1 March 2012, Cureton re-signed for Exeter City on loan until the end of the 2011–12 season, and scored one goal in seven appearances as the Grecians were relegated from League One. In May 2012, Cureton was released by Orient after the expiry of his contract.
Cureton started pre-season training ahead of the 2012–13 season with Exeter City to keep his fitness up and scored in their first pre-season friendly against Guernsey. On 31 July 2012, it was announced that Cureton had re-signed for Exeter City on a permanent deal. Cureton was in good form in the early part of the season with 15 goals in his first 21 appearances. He finished the campaign with 21 goals in 42 games. Cureton was released by Exeter on 3 May 2013.
On 17 June 2013, it was announced that Cureton had agreed terms on a one-year deal with Cheltenham Town. He ended the season with 11 goals in 36 appearances which included 12 substitute appearances. He was released by the club on 7 May 2014.
On 24 July 2014, Cureton agreed a one-year deal with League Two side Dagenham & Redbridge, the 14th different club of his senior career. Following the retirements of Ryan Giggs and Kevin Phillips and Ian Goodison's departure from Tranmere Rovers, 39-year-old Cureton was the oldest onfield player in all four of England's top divisions. Jamie was awarded player of the Year 2014–15 at the Daggers on the last home game of the season.
On 5 August 2016, Cureton signed a short-term contract with Farnborough.
On 22 September 2016, Cureton moved to Eastleigh of the National League. In early December, he departed Eastleigh after a change of management.
Cureton briefly re-joined Farnborough and scored in his first game since returning to the club in a 2–3 home defeat against Hanwell Town.
On 9 December, St Albans City announced the signing of Cureton.
In April 2017, Cureton returned to Farnborough on dual registration for the remainder of the 2016-17 season. In July 2017, a permanent deal of one year sealed.
Cureton was appointed as an assistant coach at Arsenal's academy in September 2017.As of match played 23 September 2017
ReadingFootball League Second Division runners-up (promoted): 2001–02
Queens Park RangersFootball League One runners-up (promoted): 2003–04
Football League Second Division top goalscorer: 1998–99
Football League Championship top goalscorer: 2006–07
PFA Team of the Year: 2012–13