The Cambridge United family has lost a much-loved and esteemed member with the death of Jack Morgan at the age of 92 on April 26.
Renowned as the man who first played ‘I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts’ over the tannoy, Jack belonged to a diehard U’s family. His mother and father worked tirelessly for the club and Supporters’ Club and his brother Arthur played 110 first-team games between 1947 and 1955; usually but not always in goal.
Jack was born in the Hills Road area of Cambridge in 1924. His family subsequently moved to Ditton Fields; a hotbed of United support. He and his three brothers were soon enthusiastic supporters and later, like his parents, he served on the Supporters’ Club committee.
As Abbey United progressed towards professionalism and the Football League, it was the norm for supporters to help out with all manner of jobs. Jack remembered scrubbing floors and marking the pitch, but a highlight of his work was the playing of records, perched in the little box that still adorns the north-west corner of the ground, through the tannoy on match days.
Supporter Robin Mansfield recalled Jack taking him to his first U’s game in 1955. ‘It was he who first decided to play that record [Coconuts] whenever we had a win,’ he said. ‘I have asked Jack why he chose that particular record. His reply was: “It was purely accidental. I had a pile of records in front of me and thought this one would do!” He just carried on playing it and the tradition continues to the present day.’
Jack, who turned out at right half for United Reserves ‘when they were short’, worked at Marshall’s during World War II. He later became a rent collector for
Cambridge City Council before being promoted to housing manager, and then worked for the Rent Officers’ Association throughout the East of England. He and his wife Audrey had one daughter, Jane, and a granddaughter, Sophie.
The funeral service will be held on Cambridge City Crematorium’s East Chapel on Thursday, May 12 at 12.15pm. Jack’s family has requested that no black be worn. Jack talked about his life when Radio Coconuts visited his Chesterton home last year. The recording can be found at 100yearsofcoconuts.co.uk/radio-coconuts.html. Robin Mansfield’s story is at 100yearsofcoconuts.co.uk/robin-mansfield.html.