The lure of the Football League and the prospect of being reunited with his brother proved decisive. Graham’s last Cambridge game was a 3-1 win at Bedford Town on December 5. United’s season then took a dip that was partly attributed to the absence of Atkinson, who finished the season as top league scorer with 13 goals.
He returned to Cambridge United colours for John Gregson’s testimonial in January 1972, and the U’s provided the opposition for his testimonial at Kettering Town in April 1976, by which time his brother was managing the hosts. He had joined the Poppies in 1974.
Graham and wife Jenni lived in Oxfordshire for most of their lives but moved to Pembrokeshire in 2004.