The Cambridge United family lost a much-loved member to the Covid-19 virus with the death on January 2, at the age of 74, of Brian Whitmore.
Local boy Brian, a compact striker/inside forward of skill and commitment, was an example of the success of United’s fruitful late-1950s and1960s youth development system. He played as a youth with the likes of Alan Payne, Peter Robinson and Graham Felton, all of whom made their way into the U’s first team.
Brian, who attended Netherhall School and was chosen for Cambridge City Schoolboys – where he played alongside future Chelsea striker Roger Wosahlo and fellow U’s Paul Lucas and Richard Ison – made 15 first-team appearances between 1963 and 1965, scoring three times.
His debut came on 7 October 1963, in a 3-0 home win over Histon in the East Anglian Cup; his last game in amber was just over two years later, when United drew 3-3 with Wellington Town in the Midland Floodlit League.
His football career also took him to Cambridgeshire clubs including Soham Town Rangers, Histon and Chatteris Town.
Born on 18 September 1946, Brian followed a career in engineering with a Pye company, later to be taken over by Phillips. He moved to South Yorkshire in about 1985 and later ran a fashion jewellery outlet in Sheffield’s Meadowhall shopping centre. He was a keen squash player and swimmer, keeping up the latter activity until last year.
Brian’s last years were marred by a struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, but 100 Years of Coconuts and Cambridge United Former Players’ Association were delighted to welcome him, his devoted wife Maureen and friends Fred and Sandra Marshall to the home game against Leyton Orient on 8 April 2017. He met his old youth team manager, Peter Reeve, and former teammate Rodney Slack, and showed great interest in exhibits in The Story of the U’s, Coconuts’ mini-museum in the Supporters’ Club.
The funeral, which will be restricted to 30 people, will take place at Rotherham Crematorium at 10.30am on January 14.