It is Saturday 30th May 1970 and supporters of Cambridge United are anxiously awaiting news from the Cafe' Royal in London. The news will confirm if the club has successfully been elected into the Football League.
It is not automatically accepted that they will be elected. Re-election to the Football League would continue to be used until 1986 as a process by which the worst-placed clubs in the league had to reapply for their place in the league, while non-league clubs could apply for a league place. It was the only way for clubs in the non-league. Rarely did the clubs vote for change and those seeking re-election would normally remain in the league.
However, Cambridge United are hopeful that all the hard work undertaken during the previous months and years will be enough this time to give the club their best ever chance of succeeding in being elected. From the time when the Fourth Division was inaugurated in 1958 only in Peterborough United (1960) would be elected. Following 1970 only Hereford United (1972), Wimbledon (1977), and Wigan Athletic (1978) would be elected. It was very much an old pals act
Clubs seeking re-election to remain in the Football League this year are Bradford Park Avenue, Newport, Hartlepool and Darlington. The U’s biggest rivals on the day for election were Wigan from the Northern League.
The Bill Leivers and the players had gone away on a short tour in West Germany to take part in a tounament. They were preparing to play against Bonner S.C who had been formed in 1965 through the merger of Bonner FV and Tura Bonn. The Bonner S.C that day consisted of four internationals including Horacio Troche who had played in both the 1962 and 1966 World Cup finals. In 1966 he had captained Uruguay against England in the competitions opening match.
before folding and going into liquidation on 3 May 1974 with debts of £57,652. Having sold their Park Avenue ground a year earlier and Kevin Hector to Derby in 1966 for £34k they succumbed to their financial situation and loss of league status. The club known by the same name that currently plays in the National League North was founded in 1988.
They were never able to recover from the shock of not being re-elected.
For Cambridge United it would be the beginning of wonderful journey that has seen highs and lows. The club almost reaching the Premiership and then being relegated from the Football League.
Like Bradford it has had financial problems and had to sell its ground.
However, it has always had the desire to succeed. The ability to fight and never give up
The 1970 Re-election votes
Darlington FL 47 re-elected to Division Four
Hartlepool FL 42 re-elected to Division Four
Newport County FL 31 re-elected to Division Four
Cambridge United SL 31 elected to Division Four
Wigan Athletic NP 18
Bradford Park Ave FL 17 not-re-elected
Cambridge City SL 2
Yeovil Town SL 1
Bedford Town SL 1
Hereford United SL 1
Morecambe NP 1
Romford SL 1
Boston United NP 0
Chelmsford City SL 0
Hillingdon Borough SL 0
Telford United SL 0
Wimbledon SL 0
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