We're obliged to the generous Rod Bishop, who has donated the framed display on the right to The Story of the U's, the Coconuts mini-museum in Cambridge United Supporters' Club's Abbey Lounge home.
It represents an important piece of U's history, for it contains what is believed to be the first full-time professional contract offered to a United player – at a weekly wage of £3 plus another £1 'when playing for the first team'.
Signed by full back Bob Bishop (Rod's father) and club secretary Fred Ward, and witnessed by player-manager Bill Whittaker, it dates to 16 August 1952, when ambitious United were playing in the Eastern Counties League but planning for bigger things.
The display also features Bob among the team that took on Bradford Park Avenue in the FA Cup second round on 12 December 1953, and the biography that appeared in Brian Attmore and Graham Nurse's '100 Greats' book published in 2002.
Bob, an athletic, versatile and influential player who was equally comfortable at right or left back, played 202 games for the U's between 1947 and 1956, when he hung up his boots to take on the role of trainer. He got forward occasionally, as his tally of six goals shows.
His United career spanned three eras: he joined when the club was competing in the United Counties League and stepped back from the trainer role when it was playing in the Southern League, in 1959.
It's a splendid addition to The Story of the U's for which we thank Rod – a long-term United follower and no mean sportsman himself in his day, although he showed a puzzling preference for the oval ball.
To arrange a visit to The Story of the U's, email email@example.com.
Back in England, he resumed his sporting career with Bury Town, from whom he joined United, with Bob, for the club’s first ECL season. The older brother earned £4 a week while Jack made do with a pound less.
He went on to establish himself as first-choice left winger for most of the season, with Joe Gallego playing inside him at inside left, and demonstrated his commitment during a 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur ‘A’ in October. He insisted on continuing after receiving treatment for a head injury in the first half, but after the match an ambulance was called as concussion was suspected. Jack refused it and left the ground the way he had arrived: wheeling his bicycle.
United finished fourth in their first ECL season, but then Gallego was switched to the left wing and Jack’s first-team outings were scarce until he rejoined Bury Town in March 1953. He later played for March Town United and continued to show his talents as a cricketer.
Jack was married to Audrey, who survives him, They lived in Bury St Edmunds, where Jack worked as an engineer. He died on January 18.
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