[Title]

Introduction

This page contains some links to pictures of programmes issued for matches during some of the seasons documented. A special symbol indicates a programme image is available. After displaying any programme images you must press the 'Back' button on your browser to return to this page. You can also click on any other images to get a magnified view of them. Symbols: [Away Symbol] = away programme image available, [Home Symbol] = home programme image available.

The Early Years

1912 Founded as Abbey United Football Club.

1913 First recorded match was played on 22 November against M.J.Drew's XI, a friendly held on Midsummer Common, Cambridge.

1913/1914 A few other friendlies are documented as being played on Midsummer Common before the outbreak of the First World War.

1919/1920 A year after the end of the war Abbey started playing friendlies again, this time playing home matches on Stourbridge Common in Cambridge. Matches are known to have been played against Ditton Rovers, Star Rovers, Cherry Hinton, Chesterton Rovers, Waterbeach and Fulbourn Institute.

The 1920's

1920/1921 First documentation of Abbey playing in a competitive match, in May 1921 the team played in a six-a-side tournament hosted by Littleport Football Club.

1921/1922 The club enter and win Cambs League Division Three, there was a total of 13 clubs in the division.

1922/1923 Win Cambs League Division Two, finishing ahead of 12 other sides to take the title.

1923/1924 First season in Cambs League Division One, the club finish runners up to St.Ives. At the start of the season Abbey moved from Stourbridge Common to a new ground at Station Farm, Barnwell. This ground is now buried under the Whitehill Road housing estate. The new ground became commonly known as the Celery Trenches.

1924/1925 An average season in Division One, but the club do win the Cambs Challenge Cup.

1925/1926 Win Cambs League Division One and the Creake Charity Shield.

1926/1927 Finish runners up in Cambs League Division One. Enter F.A. Amateur Cup for first time but go out in the First Qualifying round to Norwich YMCA.

1927/1928 On 3/9/27 Abbey play their first F.A. Cup match away to Great Yarmouth Town, but lose 3-1. The team finish third in Cambs League Division One.

1928/1929 The most successful season so far in Abbey's history. Five trophies are won :- Cambs Challenge Cup, Creake Charity Shield, Chatteris Nursing Cup, Cambs League Division One and Bury & District Cup.

[Abbey Utd 1928/29]
Abbey Utd 1928/29

1929/1930 A poor season compared with 28/29, finish way down Cambs League Division One, but do win the Creake Shield.

The 1930's

1930/1931 The Celery Trenches ground is considered unsuitable for Cambs League matches any more due to its poor surface, the club are forced to play most of their matches on Parker's Piece. Abbey finish one off of the bottom of Division One, but do get to share the Chatteris Nursing Cup being joint winners with Soham Rangers.

1931/1932 The Cambs League Premier Division is introduced, Abbey are in it, and finish the season mid table. The club continue to play most home matches on Parker's Piece, but land is purchased for a new ground on Newmarket Road.

1932/1933 Abbey's new ground is opened with a friendly against University Press. An average season in the Premier Division follows.

1933/1934 Finish runners up in the Premier Division and win the Creake shield. Ground improvements continue with the opening of a new wooden grandstand.

1934/1935 Again finish runners up in the Premier Division.

1935/1936 Abbey win the Creake Shield again and are losing finalists in the Cambs Challenge Cup. Amazingly 2000 people turn up at Cottenham to see the semi final of the Cottenham Nursing Cup, Abbey go down 5 - 3 to Haddenham Rovers

1936/1937 A poor season, no honours, and finishing in the bottom half of the Premier Division.

1937/1938 Reach the 3rd round of the F.A. Amateur Cup and win the Soham Nursing Cup.

1938/1939 Finish runners up in the Premier Division. Win the Creake Shield yet again with a 2 - 1 win over Histon Institute, in a match played at Cambridge Town, in front of a crowd of 1200.

1939 to 1940 Abbey played in the short lived war time Cambs Emergency League Section A. Friendlies were arranged with military personnel on duty in the area.

The 1940's

1945/1946 Following the end of the war Abbey played one season in the Cambs League (Section A), finishing mid table.

1946/1947 Back into the Cambs League Premier division as things start getting back to normal after the war, the club finish 4th.

1947/1948 Abbey move up in the world, entering the East Midlands based United Counties League. They finish 3rd from bottom and win no honours.

1948/1949 Several ground improvements were made for the start of this season. 2500 see Abbey hold Wisbech to a draw in an F.A. Cup Preliminary round. Abbey get thrashed at Wisbech in the replay 8-0 in front of 3500 people. Russell Crane sets a club record of 43 first team goals in the season, but the team still finish in the bottom half of the United Counties League. [Home Symbol] [Away Symbol]

1949/1950 Abbey turn professional. Abbey beat Wisbech at home in the F.A. Cup, but lose in the first qualifying round to Newmarket. They finish 7th in the U.C.L.

The 1950's

1950/1951 Losing finalists in the East Anglian Cup, going down 3-1 to Gt. Yarmouth. Finish 5th in the UCL. At the end of the season the young player Percy Anderson is transferred to the Black Country giants West Bromwich Albion.

[Anderson Letter]
Letter from WBA about the sale of Anderson

1951/1952 The club change their name from 'Abbey United' to 'Cambridge United'. Bill Whittaker, an F.A. cup winner with Charlton, is appointed the club's first full time manager. Supporters' Club facilities are greatly improved at a cost of 3000. The club win the Cambs Invitation Cup and the Peterborough Senior Cup, but lose in the final of the Hunts Premier Cup. League football was played in the Eastern Counties League, having switched from the U.C.L., the club finish 4th. [Home Symbol]

1952/1953 Gate receipts from matches are unable to meet the cost of player's wages and general expenses, and as a consequence the Supporters Club launched the Sportsmen's Guild to raise funds for the club. On the pitch the club reach the 3rd qualifying round of the F.A. Cup, the semi-finals of the Cambs Invitation Cup and the Hunts Premier Cup. They finish 4th in the Eastern Counties League.

1953/1954 A fantastic cup run, with the club reaching the F.A. Cup Second Round Proper when they lost at home to Bradford Park Avenue, the crowd attendance for the match topped 10,000, breaking all previous records. In the First Round they beat Newport County in Wales in a replay, having previously drawn at home in front of a 7,500 crowd, this being their first match against a Football League team. In one of the qualifying rounds United beat Cambridge City at their Milton Road ground in front of 11,908 people. This season United won the Cambs Invitation Cup and finished 3rd in the Eastern Counties League. [Home Symbol]

1954/1955 United reach the First Road Proper of the F.A. Cup for the second season running, this time going down 4-0 to Torquay in Devon in front of an 8,224 crowd. They make the semi finals of the Eastern Counties League Cup, and are losing finalists in the Cambs Invitation Cup. They finish 4th in the Eastern Counties League.

1955/1956 Gerald Evan Williams is appointed player manager at the start of the season, but was dismissed 2 months later after United lost to Chatteris in the F.A. Cup. Club officials took over the management of the team for 10 matches, after which England international Bert Johnson was given the player-manager job. United were losing semi-finalists in both the East Anglian Cup and the Cambs Invitation Cup. They finish mid table in the Eastern Counties League.

1956/1957 After months of speculation ex-England international Wilf Mannion signed for the club. It should also be noted that Mannion had been banned for life from playing Football League matches following remarks reported in the national papers. The club made a poor start in the Eastern Counties League, but recovered well to finish 6th. They win the Cambs Invitation Cup beating Cambridge City and are losing semi-finalists in the Hunts Premier Cup.

1957/1958 On 21/10/58 United played their first match at the Abbey Stadium under floodlights in the East Anglian Cup against Gt Yarmouth Town. United finished runners up to Tottenham Hotspur 'A' in the Eastern Counties League. They reached the final of the Eastern Counties League Cup only to be thrashed 10-1 on aggregate by Colchester Utd Reserves. They also reached the final of the Cambs Invitation Cup, and 8,422 turned up to watch them play Wisbech in the final at Cambridge City's Milton Road ground. This first match was a draw, United then lost in the replay at Wisbech. A crowd of 9,500 attended a benefit match for Wilf Mannion during this season when United played an International XI.

1958/1959 Following ground improvements the club were allowed to join the Southern League South East Section, the same league and division as Cambridge City. United won the Cambs Professional Cup triumphing against Wisbech over two legs. They finished well into the bottom half of the league, but did win the Southern League Inter Zone Competition designed to supplement league fixtures.

1959/1960 Bert Craig became player-manager at the start of the season, but by December he was replaced by Alan Moore following some poor results. More improvements were made to the ground by supporters and players. A disappointing season all round, finishing mid table in Southern League Division 1. The club do win the Cambs Professional Cup though, beating Wisbech over 2 legs. United also reach the 3rd round of the East Anglian Cup, unfortunately losing away to Cambridge City in front of a 8000+ crowd.

The 1960's

1960/1961 All the first team players go full-time professional. The club narrowly miss out on the Division One championship, losing out to Kettering. Kettering beat United 3-0 in the last match of the season in front of a crowd of 5886, over 2000 of whom were travelling United supporters. Finishing 2nd in the division meant that United clinched promotion to the Southern League Premier Division. The only trophy won by the first team this season was the Peterborough Challenge Cup.

1961/1962 A very promising start to the league campaign tailed off and the team finished mid table. United won the Southern League Cup over two legs against Margate, this was despite losing a preliminary round match to Kettering but being allowed to progress further as best losers. United also won the East Anglian Cup beating Hitchin Town in the final, but lost to Cambridge City in the final of the Cambs Professional Cup. A "Floodlight Fund" was launched to get new floodlights suitable for the Premier Division. Fund raising was hugely successful resulting in extra funds to also further improve the terracing at the Abbey.

1962/1963 This season the new floodlights were installed, and the roofing of the Habbin Stand was completed. The weather was very bad with many matches getting postponed due to frozen pitches over a 3 month period. The club had a fantastic season finishing 2nd in the Southern League Premier Division, just 3 points behind the champions Cambridge City. On 4/4/1963 a record 11,500 people watched the Cambridge derby match at City's Milton Road ground. The club made the first round proper of the F.A. Cup, losing 2-1 away at Bedford Town.

1963/1964 An early match of interest to U's fans was a friendly against Israel's Hapoel of Tel Aviv which ended as a 3-3 draw. In October manager Alan Moore resigned after nearly 4 years in charge of the club, coach Roy Kirk was put in charge. Rumours appeared in the press of a United/City amalgamation to strengthen Cambridge's bid for a place in the Football League, these rumours were soon dismissed by United's board. United again made the First Round Proper of the F.A. Cup , but this time were defeated at home by Chelmsford City 0-1. They beat Cambridge City in the Cambs Professional Cup final over 2 legs to win that trophy. The final league position was disappointing finishing just above mid table, some 20 points behind the champions Yeovil.

1964/1965 Roy Kirk was appointed manager. As well as playing in the Southern League Premier Division United also started fielding a team in the Eastern Professional Floodlight League, finishing 2nd in the first season of the competition. However they only managed a mid table position in the Southern League. They again reached the 1st round of the F.A. Cup, but lost away at Barnet. The club triumphed in the Cambs Professional Cup and the Southern League Cup.


I intend to document more recent seasons on this page when time permits. I also plan to scan some more programmes and add links to them.


Acknowledgements

This page has been produced using Abbey United/Cambridge United programmes, both home and away, published over the years as a source of reference. I have also used Cambridge United year books.

Information was also obtained from the book "United in Endeavour - A History of Abbey United/ Cambridge United F.C. 1912-1988" written and researched by Paul M Daw. The book was published in 1988, priced at 10.95, ISBN 0-9514108-0-6. At the time of writing I believe the book can still be obtained from the CUFC club shop.

Other publications by Paul Daw about Cambridge United are : "Cambridge United F.C. First Team Statistics 1913-1991", price 18, published 1991, ISBN 0-9514108-2-2; and "On the Up - A History of Cambridge United Football Club 1988-1991", price 3.90, published 1991, ISBN 0-9514108-1-4.

Scrap books prepared by Paul Daw, and several hundred old United programmes can be viewed at the Cambridge Collection in the Main Cambridge Library in Lion Yard, Cambridge. Old photographs featuring United over the years can be ordered from the Cambridge Collection.




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