Six star performers on and off the pitch were inducted into the Cambridge United Hall of Fame during a celebratory dinner in the Abbey Lounge, home of the Supporters' Club, on Thursday, March 21.
Players Terry Eades, Steve Fallon and Tom Finney, manager Roy McFarland, commercial powerhouse Bill Cawdery and club historian Andrew Bennett joined their peers in the Hall of Fame, which is managed by 100 Years of Coconuts and recognises outstanding contributions to the story of the football club.
Eades, Fallon, Finney and McFarland were chosen by United supporters via online and paper voting, while Cawdery and Bennett were selected for induction by a Coconuts/ Cambridge Fans United electoral college.
‘The Cambridge United Hall of Fame recognises the work of people who have changed the history of the club significantly, one way or another,’ former Coconuts chair Pat Morgan told the press.
‘It doesn’t matter whether their contributions were on the pitch, in the dugout, in the boardroom, in the offices or on the terraces.
'The Cambridge United team is not just 11 players on the park on a Saturday; it’s every character who has ever played a part in the never-ending story that unfolds each week.’
Three of the new Hall of Famers were present to receive their mementos of induction: defenders Eades and Fallon and striker/midfielder Finney.
Mark Cawdery received his late father’s memento and Sam Wilson accepted his uncle Andrew Bennett’s award, while diners were able to watch a recording of McFarland’s acceptance speech.
The new inductees joined the existing Hall of Famers who have been inducted since the launch of the scheme in 2016: commercial manager Dudley Arliss, player/supporter Russell Crane, players Alan Biley, Dion Dublin, Wilf Mannion, Rodney Slack and Paul Wanless, player/managers John Beck and John Taylor, team managers Bill Leivers and Richard Money, stadium manager Ian Darler and supporter extraordinaire Lil Harrison.
Bennett’s induction to the Hall of Fame also served as the inauguration of the annual Andrew Bennett Award, which is intended to recognise extraordinary inputs to the club and its community.
It was instituted in memory of the late honorary club historian, archivist, writer and author of the Celery & Coconuts history of Abbey United/Cambridge United, who died in February last year.
Cambridge United director of football Graham Daniels presided over the ceremony, which was also attended by many supporters and ex-players including Andy Beattie, Alan Biley, Derrick Christie, Sam Harris, Peter Hobbs, Keith Lockhart, Rodney Slack and John Taylor.
Visit photographer Simon Lankester's Flickr account to view full coverage of the evening.
So far former players Alan Biley, Terry Eades, Steve Fallon, Tom Finney, Sam Harris, Peter Hobbs, Keith Lockhart, Rodney Slack and John Taylor have confirmed their presence on the night.
Three players, one manager and two ‘off-pitch’ personalities will be inducted to the Hall of Fame, where they will join other heroes from United’s history. Visit cuhalloffame.org.uk to read their stories.
Tickets, priced at £25 for a two-course dinner and the chance to rub shoulders with the stars, are available from the CFU online shop.
Organisers are gathering an enviable collection of prizes to be won in the event’s popular raffle, and guests will have the chance to chat with U’s legends over a drink before and after the ceremony.
Go to the CFU online store to order your tickets, but you are advised to do it quickly – the Hall of Fame dinner always sells out quickly.
Look out for updates here and on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
The Cambridge United Hall of Fame is managed by 100 Years of Coconuts, the heritage arm of Cambridge United supporters' trust CFU.
Substitution crept gradually into the game, but it wasn’t until the mid-1960s that the first subs in the English professional game stripped off. Before then, if a player couldn’t continue, you were either down to ten men or you soldiered on with ten and a quarter.
So it was essential to United manager Alan Moore that the eleven men he chose to play at Hereford in November 1962 were fighting fit. This fact seems to have been lost on wing half Mike Bottoms, who had been signed from QPR not long before.
We haven’t got a photograph of Bottoms, so the picture on this page depicts a recent Coconuts committee meeting discussing possible inductions to the Cambridge United Hall of Fame.
An old injury had recurred the previous week but Bottoms told anyone who would listen that he was raring to go, 110 per cent on top of his game, couldn’t wait.
The Hereford game was only a couple of minutes old when, as you have doubtless guessed, he broke down and thereafter had as much effect on the game as would Long John Silver without his crutch. His fellow U’s fought bravely but came away 2-1 losers.
Moore, not a big man but one capable of instilling fear in a fighting-drunk honey badger, was amused neither by Bottoms’ name nor by his deception.
‘I would have suspended him for a month but for the fact he has a nice family and I can’t see them go without any wages,’ he raged. ‘As it is, I have told him that he will never kick another ball for my first team.’
It transpired that U’s trainer Roy Kirk had passed on players’ fears that Bottoms might not last the 90 minutes, so Moore had called him in.
'I prodded all round the injury and there was not a peep out of the player,’ fumed the manager, ‘but within three minutes of the kick-off this old injury recurred and the team was let down.’
Bottoms’ United career was over after just 11 appearances – some of them quite short – and his contract was cancelled soon after.
Remember, you can vote for anyone who has worn the black and amber, or managed or coached the team, as long they’re not an established Hall of Famer.
That rules out votes for John Beck, Alan Biley, Russell Crane, Dion Dublin, Bill Leivers, Wilf Mannion, Richard Money, Rodney Slack, John Taylor and Paul Wanless.
The new inductees will be announced, along with two more inductees chosen by a Coconuts electoral college, at a star-studded ceremony and dinner in March 2019. We’ll publish details of the event in due course.
Meanwhile, get your thinking caps on and get voting.
Mention the name of Dave Stringer to any football fan who was around between the 1960s and the 1990s and they’ll say: ‘Oh yeah, he used to play for Norwich.’
It’s true the Great Yarmouth native had a glorious playing career with the Canaries, chalking up 499 senior games, and it’s true he’s also a managerial legend up there, having taken the club to two FA Cup semi-finals and fourth place in the old First Division.
But by now he was picking up more injuries than he had been used to, and when Norwich offered him the job of youth team coach he moved back to Carrow Road.
‘It was a fairy story,’ he recalled of his time at the Abbey. ‘It was great to be a part of it, and I get a lot of satisfaction from looking back at what we achieved.’ And so say all of us.
It was time to start forging that second career, and time for us to thank our lucky stars that we had the chance to admire the skills and commitment that made Steve an Abbey legend.
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