It is now fifty years since Cambridge United won the Southern League for the second time in succession and then were elected to the Football League this was achieved with a squad of primarily sixteen professionals most of whom stayed on for the first season in the Football League.
If we look at the team photograph above, what happened to the players after they left the club?
Below is Part 1 of a series to provide some information of what happened as the players moved on.
Today we look at Rodney Slack, Robin Hardy, Bill Cassidy, John McKinven
Rodney Slack - When the season finished Rodney was released by the club he had joined in 1962; having previously been at Leicester where he was Gordon Banks understudy, and QPR . A popular player with supporters the decision to release him was met with shock and anger, with many fans writing to the local press to state their views. Rodney had played over 350 matches for the club. His final match at the Abbey Stadium was against the FA Cup holders Chelsea in front of a 14,000 crowd in May 1970.
His final Cambridge United match came during a tournament in Germany where the players found out that the club would playing next in the Football League
Many thought it was shame that a player who gave so much to Cambridge United in the Southern League years was not present at its first match against Lincoln,
Rodney went on to be involved in local football playing for Soham and served also the local community as a fireman.
He is often seen at the club nowadays and was a member of the 100yearsofcoconuts group until recently. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016, one of first former players to be inducted.
You can watch Rodney tell his story in a four part interview captured by 100yearsofcoconuts .
Robin Hardy - Robin was captain of the 1968/1969 side that had won the Southern League and continued to lead the side during 1969/1970 season, playing as a sweeper, centre back or in midfield as Leivers varied his teams tactics from game to game.
Unfortunately, injuries would restrict his starts during the 1969/70 season,. His is influence and knowledge of the game was still important to the side.
Robin was retained by the club for their first season in the Football League and played alongside Terry Eades in the first match against Lincoln. He had been replaced by Colin Meldrum as the captain of the side and through the season started just 15 league matches.
Although starting the season in the team by the end of the 1970/71 season he was one of the players not retained by the club as it looked to improve its competitiveness in the league. He had been in and out of the side all season. Never able to hold down a place for any length of time.
Before joining Cambridge United he was a professional footballer with Sheffield Wednesday from 1958 to 1965, Rotherham United from 1965 to 1966. However, he gave up football to become a landlord. He was lured back into football when Bill Leivers came calling.
Robin sadly died on the 16th January 2017
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