An edited version of this article appeared in the Cambridge United matchday programme for the match against Crawley Town on 22 August 2015.
In a certain row of the main stand on any match day, at least three Morgans, sometimes more, can be found sitting. None of them are related, at least not closely, and they originate from far-flung corners of these islands. There are a lot of them about and, predictably, Morgans loom large in the story of Cambridge United.
You won’t be talking about Supporters’ Club history for long, for example, before someone mentions Jenny Morgan who, alongside the equally legendary Lil Harrison, was a stalwart of the committee in the 1950s and beyond.
Old-school supporters recall with fondness queuing for the tea bar at which Mesdames Morgan and Harrison dispensed the half-time cups that cheered.
You can still see the serving hatches if you sidle along behind the enclosure for disabled supporters at the pitchward end of the Supporters’ Club. Breeze-blocked in for many years now, they will one day soon, perhaps, be reduced to rubble.
This corner of the Abbey is stiff with history. Cast your eyes up and to the left and you’ll espy the centre of 100 Years of Coconuts’ world: the ruins of the little tower where Jack Morgan first dropped I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts, by Billy Cotton and his Band, on his gramophone turntable for the entertainment of the Abbey faithful.
Jack – one of four sons of Jenny and Dick Morgan who inherited the Abbey habit – supported the U’s throughout his 92 years. He remembered clambering over the club's roof to set up the speakers that would relay the glad tidings of a United win to the neighbourhood; there were no eardrum-wobbling PA systems in those days.
United lost a lifelong friend when Jack died in 2016. We were lucky enough to be able to record some of his memories before he left us.
Another Morgan brother was Arthur, who made his name as a goalkeeper but turned out for Abbey United in a multitude of positions, full back, wing half, inside forward and centre forward among them. Try to imagine Liam Hughes with side-parted, dark, wavy hair and baggy shorts.
He was chaired from the pitch that afternoon by fans including brother Jack, who had hotfooted it to Newport from Wembley: Hungary’s Magical Magyars had humiliated England by six goals to three the previous night.
But Arthur’s biggest thrills in football came from beating United’s closest rivals in the pulsating derbies of the 1950s. ‘With so many locals involved, the beer always seemed to taste better after we had defeated the City,’ he recalled.
Arthur is best remembered by Cambridge people, however, for his 40-plus years as the devoted custodian of Parker’s Piece, which ended with his retirement in the late 1980s. He died in 2012.