The Story of the U's – the rise, rise, fall and rise of a remarkable football club
The history of Abbey/Cambridge United Football Club, its people and its community is on display at Cambridge United Supporters' Club in Newmarket Road, thanks to 100 Years of Coconuts and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Titled The Story of the U's, the mini-museum recounts the tale of a football club that grew from the humblest of beginnings to claim a place on the national stage – supported every step of the way by the dedicated work of its fans.
From the earliest days of Abbey United in 1912 (or was it even earlier?) to the heights of a challenge for a place in the Premier League and beyond, it's a story of belief, ambition, devotion, genius and sheer hard work.
Using a wealth of memorabilia, documents, photographs and interpretive material, The Story of the U's takes visitors on a journey from the poverty and grime of Edwardian Barnwell to the heady glamour of the 1992 Division Two play-offs.
It's an amazing story of the almost unimpeded growth, within a few decades, of a tiny club competing in the Cambridgeshire League's third division into one knocking at, and then bursting through, the doors of the Football League.
Some remarkable characters helped to make that meteoric rise possible: Harvey Cornwell, the Grand Old Man of Cambridge football; Frank Pettit, who almost single-handedly kept the club alive during World War II; Russell Crane, the local boy who broke all the records; Lil Harrison and fellow supporters who worked tirelessly to bring the money in; Wilf Mannion, one of England's greatest ever players; Bill Whittaker, Alan Moore and Bill Leivers, managers who realised Cambridge United's potential and helped to put the club where it is today.
There are low points in the story, of course: the sale of the beloved Abbey Stadium and subsequent relegation from the Football League in 2005 count among the worst moments in United fans' lives.
As always, the club found strength in the determination and devotion of its supporters and employees, and rose back to where it belonged in 2014.
A grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund has enabled 100 Years of Coconuts, the heritage arm of supporters' trust CFU, to develop and open The Story of the U's. It's just one element of a two-year project that will also see the launch of an ex-players' association and the Cambridge United Hall of Fame, work with community groups and schools and pop-up exhibits at other museums and community events.
The Story of the U's is located in Cambridge United Supporters' Club's premises at the Abbey Stadium, 530 Newmarket Road, Cambridge CB5 8LL. It is open to Supporters' Club members and their guests during normal opening hours, and by arrangement for non-members.
100 Years of Coconuts would be delighted to show you round. Email email@example.com to arrange a visit.
The Story of the U's is open to Supporters' Club members and their guests during normal club
Not a member? Email
to arrange a visit.
To join Cambridge United Supporters' Club, call in, phone 01223 241771 or email