The football coach and scout Michael ‘Kit’ Carson, who died on January 7 aged 75, had connections with Cambridge United dating back to at least 1980.
Carson, whose trial at Peterborough Crown Court on charges of sexual assault against 11 boys was due to start on the morning of his fatal, one-vehicle crash, had a strong reputation, developed over decades, for coaching and identifying talent in youth football.
His car hit a tree after leaving the A1303 road near Bottisham. He died at the scene and his body was later formally identified by his wife, Pauline.
The court was told of his death on the morning of January 8 and Judge Matthew Lowe ruled that the case file be closed.
Carson, who at the time of his death lived at St Bartholomew’s Court, Riverside in Cambridge, was appointed United's head of talent development in November 2001, moving from Peterborough United. He had also worked at Norwich City.
He became director of youth in January 2004 but left in the summer of 2005 when the club, in administration and heading for the Conference, was forced to make cuts to the youth budget.
But Carson’s relationship with United had been established much earlier.
C and G, based in Newmarket, organised package tours abroad for clubs, staged international youth tournaments and ran 'soccer colleges’.
United was one of the clubs for which the company organised tours. Others included Newmarket Valley, Soham Tigers, Girton Eagles, Sawston Village College and Cambridge Crusaders.
Carson, whose website (now offline) noted that he was a soccer school pioneer, surfaced in another capacity at the Abbey in the mid-1980s.
In the mid-1970s he had set up PGL Soccer Schools, which took over the running and finance of United’s youth system in the 1985/86 season, saving the club £15,000 a year.
‘We could have gone in with some very big First Division clubs, but Cambridge United are just what we have been looking for,’ Carson told the press at the time.
Carson, who was Irish but had lived in the UK for many years, was arrested in January 2017 and originally accused of 12 indecent assaults and one count of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. He denied the offences, which were alleged to have taken place between 1978 and 2009. The alleged victims were all under 16 at the time.
The Guardian newspaper, which first exposed the scandal of abuse in youth football in late 2016, reported that the first alleged indecent assault took place at a hotel in the north of England. Most of the others took place in and around Peterborough.
The incitement offence allegedly took place between February 2008 and February 2009 in Cambridge.