This season marks the 50th anniversary of Cambridge United’s last season in the Southern League which concluded in being elected into the Football League. Week by week we will look back on events of that memorable season and also 30 years ago, a season which saw the U’s win the first ever play off final at Wembley.
1969/70 Saturday 1st November 1969 was FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round day and United travelled to Chelmsford City for what was seen as a battle of non-league giants. The game was given extra edge after United had poached four of Chelmsford’s first team regulars the previous season, which led the Chelmsford management to claim that Cambridge United had ruined their season. Maybe the fact that Chelmsford finished the 1968/69 season in 13th position after being in the top three for most of the first half of the season gave some credence to those claims, who knows. The game at New Writtle Street attracted a crowd of 5,941 fans, many having travelled from Cambridge and with the home fans baying for revenge it led to an electric atmosphere inside the un-segregated ground.
United fielded all four ex Chelmsford players and enjoyed the best of the first half but went into the break at 1-1 George Harris having equalised a 17th minute penalty in 37th minute. Bill Cassidy hit the post in the first minute of the second half, but in a no holds barred battle which the referee struggled to control, the hosts gradually took control and scored in the 79th and 86th minute. Dennis Walker’s last minute penalty was small consolation. United’s band of fans travelled home disappointed.
FOOTBALL IN NOVEMBER 1969 Everton had opened a gap of eight points at the top of the First Division ahead of Leeds United who were above Liverpool who had just lost 4-0 at forth placed Derby County.
1989/90 Saturday 4th November saw Aldershot travel to the Abbey for a Forth Division match. Both teams were sitting four points away from a play-off position. Aldershot lost centre-back Steve Wignall in the 17th minute with a dislocated shoulder after 19 minutes and United’s deadly duo forwards John Taylor and Dion Dublin gave them a 2-0 lead but a host of good chances go begging. Aldershot hit back twice after the break and Jon Sheffield in the Shots goal manages to keep the U’s out in a late flurry. Next up was a Friday night trip to Colchester United were Gary Clayton manages to concede two penalties in the space of eight minutes, both for handball. Tom English scores the first but John Vaughan saves the second. Tony Dennis had volleyed the equaliser in between. A rare Dion Dublin goal from distance makes it three away wins on the trot. The U’s were now sitting in eleventh place.
The first round of the FA Cup saw United travel to Aldershot (two weeks after the League match at the Abbey) on the Friday night. In a drab match John Taylor scored the only goal with a close range header to put United into the second round draw the following Moday lunchtime.
FOOTBALL IN NOVEMBER 1989 Rumours are rife about Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish joining Rangers after a rift between Graeme Souness and Rangers chief executive Alan Montgomery. Norwich City lose 4-3 at Arsenal after being 2-0 up but the game will be remembered for the disgraceful scenes which followed Arsenal’s injury time penalty winner when all 22 players were involved in a melee which police onto the field of play.