That's not strictly true … not every single one of Cambridge United Former Players' Association's 133 members was in the Supporters' Club last night, but the occasion was all about quality, not quantity.
And what quality! First-time attendee Alan Biley was in sparkling form, recalling some of the many goals he cracked in at the nearby Corona End. A good number of them were supplied by midfield craftsman Graham 'Willie' Watson. 'He's the man who made me, as he never tires of telling me!' cried Alan gleefully as Willie embarked on another scandalous reminiscence.
It was also good to see CUFPA get-together debutant Brian Grant, stalwart left back of the Bill Leivers era. 'I was Brian Clough's first ever signing,' he recalled of his Hartlepool days. He delighted in swapping memories with the likes of CUFPA chairman Rodney Slack, 1950s goalkeeper Derek Haylock and Tony Willson of roughly the same era.
For Alan and Brian, the evening presented a first chance to sign the visitors' book at The Story of the U's, Coconuts' mini-museum recounting the history of Abbey/Cambridge United. The exhibits provoked another round of reminiscing and storytelling, as they're designed to do.
The latest family to visit The Story of the U's, Coconuts' mini-museum in Cambridge United Supporters' Club, was that of Len Saward, a highly talented forward who made 170 appearances for the U's between 1952 and 1958.
Len also played a vital role in the U's massively successful commercial department in the 1960s, working under manager Dudley Arliss to sell pools tickets across a wide area of East Anglia. The scheme was acclaimed as the biggest in the country, and it helped United to lay the foundations for life in the Football League from 1970.
Len's brother Pat was the better known footballer, playing for Millwall, Aston Villa and Huddersfield and earning 18 Republic of Ireland caps, but there are those who believe Len was the more talented of the two. Now aged 89, he loves to talk about the old days, and he was in his element at The Story of the U's. He was accompanied by Jill Saward, his son Patrick and grandsons Jack and Charlie. We hope to see them all again soon.
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