On 25th November 2021, almost 150 guests saw 13 more U’s Legends inducted into the Hall of Fame in a ceremony in the Abbey Stadium’s Signature Suite. In the eyes of many guests, the best of these events yet.
Cast your eyes down the list – it oozes class & commitment to the Amber & Black cause.
Ron Atkinson, Brendon Batson, Derrick Christie, Josh Coulson, Andy Duncan, Roly Horrey, Dave Kitson, Carol Looker, Dave Matthew-Jones, Lionel Perez, Colin Proctor, Lindsay Smith, Malcolm Webster.
Full citations of all our Inductees can be read on the Cambridge United Hall of Fame website.
It was the fifth Hall of Fame event, organised by a team of fans from CFU & Coconuts, headed by Emma Smith. The evening - expertly led by Tom Lee with help from Stuart Wood – was filled with nostalgia, remembrance, laughter, pride. There were lumps in throats and tears in eyes. Another truly great club night for our U’s football family.
Once again, club photographer Simon Lankester provided fantastic photographic memories for us. He certainly knows how to capture the winning atmosphere & energy of the night. How many other legends can you spot?
Huge thanks to Wendy Glancy and Esse Figueroa for our venue & catering – brilliant job.
Planning has already begun for the 2022 Hall of Fame. Keep an eye out for announcements next year. Once on sale, you’ll need to be quick – tickets sell fast!
100yearsofcoconuts recently re-ordered all four books in the Celery and Coconuts series. The books are now in stock and available to order. You can either order them individually or you can order all four books together here details here in the series here
Written in Andrew Bennett’s distinctive, expressive style, the books are illustrated as well as providing vital statistics - it will merit a place on any Cambridge United supporters bookshelves.
They can be purchased on line see below for details or click here
100yearsofcoconuts can arrange for the books to be posted out or they can be collected on matchdays from the Programme Exchange in the main car park outside the club shop. Whichever, option you choose you will enjoy reading and collecting them.
Celery & Coconuts: Volume I – Newmarket Road Roughs The Story of Abbey United and Cambridge United Football Club: 1912-1951. In the early years of the twentieth century, many residents of the Cambridge district of Barnwell had little going for them. It would take a long time for the poverty and squalor of the dense warren of housing, erected hurriedly during the Victorian industrial boom, to be alleviated.
Abbey United sprang up in the gloomy streets and on the bumpy commons of Barnwell. Sustained by the aid of the church, local benefactors and a steadfast band of devoted supporters, the club made rapid strides. As the 1950s dawned, it was contemplating the big time.
Celery & Coconuts: Volume II – Risen from the Dust The Story of Abbey United and Cambridge United Football Club: 1951-1970 by Andrew Bennett Paperback; In 1951, Cambridge United were a lowly United Counties League football club, although one with huge ambitions. As they prepared for their first season in the Eastern Counties League, they appointed their first full-time player-manager and looked towards the stars.
Supporters and players alike rolled their sleeves up and started work on the rapid rise that in 1970 took them to their promised land: the Football League.
Risen from the Dust, the second volume of Andrew Bennett’s brilliant Celery & Coconuts, the definitive history of an extraordinary club, takes readers on a breathtaking surge upwards through the leagues.
Backed by painstaking research and Bennett’s eye for a story, Risen from the Dust reveals what can be achieved by a community determined to succeed.
Champagne & Corona The third volume of Andrew Bennett’s brilliant Celery & Coconuts history of Cambridge United, relating the incredible story of the 1970s, is available to order now.
With a foreword by star 70s striker Alan Biley, Champagne & Corona tells the tale of a revolutionary decade – one that saw the club continue its irresistible rise to claim a place in English football’s second tier.
The Moose that Roared - is volume four of the books documenting the clubs history. This volume features one of the most successful periods & exciting times for Cambridge United fans & with a foreword from a legend from that period in Shaggy it should be an exciting read for fans.
You can order all the books or individually via the following link here
With the FA Cup approaching it seems apposite, whilst trundling back down Cut Throat Lane this week, to dig out an old fixture from 30 October 2007 and the FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay against the black and whites from the county town of Staffordshire. I have said on here many times that the Conference years were a blur period(no apologies to Oasis) so it was interesting looking at the attached programme and thinking I was only 33 at the time(sic - ed).
The U’s had drawn 1-1 at Marston Road the previous Saturday which had been our second visit there in a month. And of course another showing for the infamous “Newmarket Town” third strip of yellow/royal blue/yellow which was to appear later in the season again at Forest Green. In the day the concept of a third kit was pretty alien, even in the Premier League. How things have changed, eh. I see Coventry have just brought out a third kit, in the last week of OCTOBER! Anyway, back to the game, a Scott Rendell penalty ensured a replay three days later. And this time we made no mistake trouncing the Rangers 5-1 with a double for Olly Knights and one each for messrs Boylan, Rendell and Wolleaston. In the squad that evening for the visitors were none other than Tom Youngs and Fred Murray…. The prize? A home tie with either Crawley or Aldershot Town in the first round proper on 10 November. Turned out to be Aldershot whom we beat 2-1 in front of 2,641 but our journey ended in the next round. Just glancing at the roll call of United officials in the programme, anybody remember a director called Geoff Peck? I don’t.
On this day in 1960 Diego Armando Maradona was born in the suburbs of Buenos Aires. He made his senior debut in Argentina ten days short of his sixteenth birthday. Scored 34 times in 91 appearances for his country and participated in four World Cups. He played in Spain for Barcelona and famously won two Serie A titles(including their first) for Napoli in 1986/7 and 1989/90. He had tattoos of Che Guevara and Fidel Castrol on his arm and left leg. He died on 25 November 2020, fifteen years to the day after the passing of another footballing great, this time from the back streets of Belfast.
Evening, all. I always think it makes sense to play Wednesday on a Tuesday, don’t you? We haven’t lost at home to the Owls in the league you know since March 1984 so let’s hope that weighs heavy on their scapulae.
On our trip down Cut Throat Lane this evening we are travelling 22 seasons back to the Roy Mac era and life in the third tier following promotion the previous season. A miserable Tuesday night in October and a crowd of just 4,328 witnessed a sorry 0-1 from Utd’s perspective. All this after a rip-roaring derby win v Col U the previous Friday evening.The Clarets doubled us that season and we haven’t met them since! Flicking through the programme good to see Martin Butler had pocketed his second hatrick of his U’s career against said Col U. Remember his first………………...7-2 v Mansfield. I was unable to resist calling the Utd club call number. Remarkably the line is live and a robot answered reminding me the service is administered by I-Line Services(?) but that’s as far as I got…
I loved Colin Davies the general manager’s optimism with his vision of a refurbished Abbey in a few years’ time. Probably good for his mental wellbeing that he didn’t predict potential armageddon in 2005, instead. Finally, some interesting names in the Burnley squad. Merry- go- round manager Micky Mellon, Paul Crichton in goal(booooo!), another ex-U Tom Cowan and even the lead singer of The Jam and Style Council graced the side at that time.
On this day in 1973 the Sydney Opera House was officially opened by the Queen. Designed by a Dane it was estimated to take four years to build but took fourteen. The original budget was 7 million dollars but in the end it cost 102m. The roof has over one million tiles, all shipped not from Thailand(sic) but Sweden! And it meant employment for 10,000 construction workers. You are truly enriched.
It feels like I have been waiting for this game for a while. In League terms it’s been 10,801 days but who’s counting, eh? I bet Steve Claridge and his manager still remember that day well! Our track record with today’s visitors is indeed one of sporadicity. It took 75 years to meet the Tractorboys for the first time and it’s been 29 years since the last duel, in League competition anyway.
Today’s old programme focus is a division two fixture against our next opponents, Sheffield Wednesday, this time played on 16 October 1982, our fifth season of six in said division. Our visitors were managed by none other than Jack Charlton and it is fair to say their squad looked, shall we say, decent for the time. Some interesting comments in the programme from schoolchildren who had been guests at the previous home game against Carlisle. Apart from anything else they seemed to enjoy the “food” on offer at the game. The “look back in time” feature was interesting too, 1972 at Southport in front of a crowd of over 7,000(yes, 7,000). What would the Sandgrounders do today for a crowd of even half that?
Anyway a decent game that day ended in a 2-2 draw. We were though two down within ten minutes of the restart(both from Gary Bannister, remember him?) but Floyd Street and Chris Turner saved the day in front of a crowd of 5,677, which I sincerely hope is bettered this time round.
And to end on a really cheery note. Ten Nazi leaders are hanged as war criminals after the Nuremberg war trials on this day in 1946, including Joachim von Ribbentrop who was the first. He had been responsible as foreign secretary for the non-aggression pact signed with Russia in 1939. Which lasted until the advent of Operation Barbarossa and the invasion of Russia in 1941!
100 Years of Coconuts & CFU are DELIGHTED to announce the new date for our postponed Hall of Fame event. It will take place on Thursday 25th November 2021 in the club’s Signature Events Suite.
We’ve rolled the 2020 and 2021 events into one big occasion. It’ll be your only chance to see a record number of inductees at a single event.
Our inductees cover the 20s-40s (yep, you read that right), 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, and 10s as well as off-pitch personalities. We’ll also be joined by Hall of Famers and former players from the 1960s right through to the 2000s.
The event includes a delicious two-course dinner, a chance to win in our Raffle and opportunities for lots of legend selfies! All that for just £25 per head.
Terry Eades 1944-2021
The Cambridge United family is mourning the death, at the age of 77 on October 4, of Terry Eades, a hugely talented defender whose career in black and amber spanned two eras of the club’s history.
Universally liked, admired and respected, Terry was signed from Southern League rivals Chelmsford City in February 1969 and, on his way to a total of 366 U’s matches, six substitute appearances and 12 goals, proved an influential and popular member of teams in both the Southern League and Football League.
His place in club legend was recognised by induction into the Cambridge United Hall of Fame in 2019 – only the second of the famous side that gained election to the Football League in 1970 to be so honoured.
Born in Banbridge, County Down in 1944, Terry joined Chelmsford at an early age following his family’s move to England. He starred for the Clarets in several late-1960s clashes with United before becoming, in the early weeks of 1969 at the age of 25, manager Bill Leivers’ fourth and final acquisition from the 1968 Southern League champions. A fee of £2,500 changed hands.
After seven years at New Writtle Street, he arrived with hopes that the U’s would be the non-League club chosen by Football League chairmen in the event of an existing club being voted out. Praising United’s professionalism, he had, he said, been unsettled by rumours that Chelmsford would move to semi-professional status.
Vying with Gerry Baker for the centre-half position, he made his Southern League debut at Bedford Town at the end of March and starred in a 2-0 win, contributing the first goal. With Leivers encouraging him to forage forward, he scored again as United won 1-0 at Nuneaton two days later.
Terry’s cultured, calm and skilful presence was a huge influence on the team as they claimed two successive titles and were elected to the Football League in the summer of 1970. He was one of only two United players making their League debuts as the first season kicked off against Lincoln City on August 15, but he never looked out of place as the U’s established themselves.
Voted player of the year by supporters on several occasions, he was often described as inspirational and outstanding. The Cambridge Evening News said on one occasion: “He cannot be a one-man team, but he tried.”
On 6 January 1974 Terry wrote himself into the history books when he became the first United player to score on a Sunday, as the U's drew an FA Cup tie with Oldham Athletic 2-2; United’s first had been an own goal. Soon afterwards he was recommended to Republic of Ireland manager Johnny Giles – his father had been born in Tipperary. So it was that he found himself marking teammate Graham “Willie” Watson, who was being tried out at centre forward as Ireland’s squad played a practice game against United at the Abbey.
He began a long association with the motor trade when he began working part-time for Holland Motors. As the club captaincy passed from Terry to Brendon Batson under Ron Atkinson, Brendon spoke generously of his friend: “He has been one of the best centre halves I’ve seen in the Third and Fourth Divisions and I’m surprised he has not gone on to higher things.”
After a short loan period at Watford, Terry was granted a testimonial in 1977 as his remarkable contribution to the United cause was recognised with the granting of a free transfer. But it wasn’t long before he was back as a non-contract player, passing on his knowledge and experience to younger players in the reserve side.
His last game came in May 1977, and in 1978 he signed for Histon. He became the Stutes’ manager when fellow ex-U David Bradford stepped down, but he couldn’t resist playing for long.
Terry’s long-delayed testimonial match finally came in April 1980, when Atkinson showed the respect in which he was held by fielding a strong West Bromwich Albion side at the Abbey.
A single-figure handicap golfer for nearly four decades and a member of the Gog Magog club for 50 years, he also took pride in his garden, particularly its roses.
Terry leaves children Anthony, Catherine and Dominic, and five grandchildren: Victoria, Luke, Josh, Ceci and Daniel. His wife Helen, whom he married in 1964 at Great Dunmow, died in 2018 after a brave fight against cancer. Terry showed similar character in his battle before succumbing to the disease at the Arthur Rank Hospice, a stone’s throw his beloved golf course.
Evenin’ all, as Dixon of Dock Green fame used to say. I know, that rules anybody out born after about 1968! Welcome to the Gills from Medway for our first home league fixture of the season and indeed our first scrap in the league since October 1999, our first season back up in division 3. Blimey. The home side ran out 2-1 winners that day at Priestfield. When I see Gillingham’s name I always think of Brian Moore and Paul Scally. Whatever anybody thinks of the individuals, two people with an indisputable contribution to the very fabric of Gillingham FC over the decades.
On this very day in 1957 we were on Eastern Counties League duty and hosting the then league leaders, Spalding Utd. We were tenth at the time so a tough afternoon beckoned and it proved to be so as the visiting Tulips ran out 3-1 winners although ‘our’ Brian Moore got a pen just before half time. You’ll see from today’s featured programme that we had a certain Wilf Mannion in our ranks but even he couldn’t uproot the opposition. Nor indeed Russell Crane playing his sixteenth season for the black & ambers.
Browsing through the programme I find the ad pages as fascinating as the articles. I wonder if our former commercial manager has any links to ‘Fairbairn’s’, I’m sure Nick will tell us. And looking at HR Aldiss in Rose Crescent reminds me where I purchased my very first Harrington jacket in the 1970s. And a warm welcome awaits us at the Wrestlers on Newmarket Road……….what would they have made of becoming a leading Thai restaurant/pub forty years later and counting, I wonder. And “U’s Nu’s” is a different take on your average news bulletin page although I’m not aware it ever caught on in subsequent seasons.
On this day in 1968 that great inspiration for a footy song, Hey Jude went number one in the charts and stayed there for nine weeks. La la la, la la la la la la la la…….
Ray Ruffett 1924-2021
Cambridge United lost its oldest surviving former player with the death on September 29, at the age of 97, of Ray Ruffett. The club and the former players’ association extend their condolences to the family and friends of a much-loved friend and colleague.
A skilful and influential ball-playing wing half, Ray signed for Abbey United in 1950 and stayed on as the club became Cambridge United the following year. Over five seasons he turned out 200 times for the U’s, contributing four goals and captaining the side from 1951 onwards.
He was born in Luton on 24 July 1924 and, after appearing for England schoolboys, played for the town’s club during World War II before signing up for the army. Flying with the 6th Airborne Division’s glider-borne infantry forces, he saw action in Greece, in the Allies’ 1944 landings in Normandy and in the battle of the Rhine crossing in 1945. The savage fighting that formed these actions no doubt helped to equip him with the cool level-headedness that he later displayed on the football pitch.
Back at Kenilworth Road after demob, he waited a long time for his debut in the Football League’s Second Division. It arrived in April 1949, when the Hatters lost 3-1 at Bury – and Ray suffered an injury that limited further opportunities.
He signed for Bill Whittaker’s Abbey United, then playing in the United Counties League, in the summer of 1950 at the age of 26, and made his first league appearance in a home draw against Corby Town. Soon he was a vital member of a stern but creative half-back line alongside Whittaker and Johnny Percival.
He was an ever-present in the 1951-52 season, during which Abbey United became Cambridge United and stepped up to the Eastern Counties League. By now he was one of the fledgling professional club’s highest-paid players, earning £6 a week to complement the wages he earned as a commercial traveller.
Player-manager Whittaker had no qualms about handing Ray the responsibility of captaining the side: he was, said the boss, the best man for the job – a shrewd and experienced tactician who was liked and respected by his teammates.
He was seldom missing from the first team as his United career progressed, and the accolades kept coming. The Cambridge Daily News reporter was once moved to write: ‘Ray Ruffett moved about the field like a Roman emperor, calm, scientific, throwing out long passes to both wings with such an air of confident ease that I expected him at any minute to polish his nails.’
Ray played a key role in the thrilling FA Cup runs of 1953 and 1954, when the U’s beat Football League opposition for the first time, although the ECL title proved elusive. After a 1954-55 season in which United had exited the Cup in unfortunate circumstances at Torquay, he decided not to sign on for another season, preferring to join Biggleswade Town and shorten his commute from his home in Luton. No longer would he have to endure interminable bus-train-bus journeys via Hitchin to reach Newmarket Road.
Apart from his years in the army, Ray spent his entire life in Luton. It was there that he died following a battle with cancer.
Top Ray Ruffett receives the Cambs Invitation Cup from mayor Henry Langdon after United had beaten Cambridge City 2-0 in the final at Milton Road on 1 May 1952
Ray Ruffett below pictured by the Cambridge Daily News in the 1953-54 season
Afternoon all and a big welcome to the Cod Army from Fleetwood. Let’s hope that by the end of this afternoon’s proceedings they will have had their chips.
As a recently departed footballing legend once famously said, football’s a funny old game. In the last fortnight we’ve been mauled at the Abbey by a bunch of pesky gargoyles from a cathedral city up north. We then proceed with our own Saturday afternoon raid amongst the naval dockyards of the south and dislodge the nose of one formerly presiding over said gargoyles. Play up, eh!
Talking of the navy, a loose connection as our trip of sentimentality today takes us to the famous old army town of Aldershot whose side we hosted in a Conference fixture fourteen years ago today, in what was our third campaign in what I always refer to as the “blur”. To be fair nothing too much to get sentimental about that evening although our opponents, having had a pretty mediocre start to the season, went on to clinch the title with 31 wins and a points haul of 101. Whilst mere mortals like us and Burton contested the playoffs. I wonder who Aldershot’s manager was at the time……(Gary?)
The programme is chunky at 64 pages and is interesting mainly because of some of the recent matches featured. The previous Saturday saw us at Stevenage, a memorable game with a great atmosphere and as the report says, “we” sang from 2pm to past 5. I do remember being particularly hoarse on the train home that day. And one of the few occasions in our history when we donned black and amber stripes, with white shorts and socks. You are, I know, enriched for that! If you wanted to give yourself a little shudder then flick to the chairman’s page and say to yourself, “there but for the grace of God we could be Swindon Town.”
On this day in 1952 born in New York City to Barbara Pitney Lamb and Franklin D’Olier Reeve was American actor Christopher Reeve. Probably best known for his role as Clark Kent in ‘Superman’( 1978) and his horrific horseriding accident in 1995 which left him paralysed from the shoulders down. He died nine years later.
On that sobering note enjoy the game this afternoon and don’t forget there’s another one coming on Tuesday.
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I'm the living embodiment of the spirit of the U's, and I'll be blogging whenever I've got news for you, as long as I don't miss my tea.