He kept 90 clean sheets during that time, 22 of them coming in his debut season of 1976/77, when he was ever present as United won the Fourth Division title.
Malcolm is a native of Doncaster, where he was born on 12 November 1950, but it was in north London that he made his first impression on football. He was 18 when he made his League debut for Arsenal, being thrown in at the deep end against Tottenham at Highbury when Bob Wilson broke an arm. The Gunners lost 4-3 but Malcolm kept his place until he was floored for 12 weeks by glandular fever and the club signed a replacement in Geoff Barnett.
He played around 100 times for both Fulham and Southend but fell out of favour at Roots Hall and was released in 1976. Disillusioned with football, he was working in a friend’s furniture store when he was given a month’s trial by U’s boss Ron Atkinson. His first appearance came in a behind-closed-doors pre-season friendly against Mansfield at the Abbey, won 3-1 by the visitors.
Malcolm’s United career really kicked off in the first leg of the League Cup at Oxford on 14 August 1976, when he was outstanding in a 1-0 defeat. A string of impressive performances and a couple of penalty saves earned him a permanent contract, which he signed following a 4-0 September win over promotion favourites Watford.
Quickly establishing himself as a lively presence in the dressing room, a reliable shot-stopper and – despite a previous reputation as vulnerable to crosses – commanding in the air, Malcolm made the number one spot his own and was voted player of the year by Supporters’ Club members.
That season was the start of a happy and fruitful stay at Newmarket Road that saw the club establish itself in Division Two under John Docherty. Malcolm’s last game as a U came in a 0-0 draw at Oldham on 4 February 1984, but he was back in 1986 as Chris Turner began the process of turning United’s fortunes around.
After a break from football starting in 1988, he began a coaching career that was remarkable for its longevity and successes. Malcolm was in great demand as a coach, both at club and at the goalkeeping school he ran.
Below is Malcolm's best ever eleven -
Brendon Batson. Chis Turner. Steve Fallon. Jamie Murray.
Steve Spriggs. Tom Finney. Floyd Street Willie Watson.
Alan Biley. George Reilly
Best Manager.John Docherty
Best Physio.Pete Melville.
Malcolm Webster’s All Time Best XI
Keith Brannagan- Goalkeeper. Born in Fulham and joined United straight from school. Made his debut at seventeen years old. Was an ever present in the 1986/87 season and played a total of 138 first team games for the U’s, before joining ex manager John Docherty at Millwall for £100,000.
Brendon Batson- Right Back. Born in Grenada, West Indies in 1953. Signed for Cambridge United from Arsenal in 1974 for the bargain price of £5,000 after manager Bill Leivers had been quoted £50,000 a few months earlier. The first black player to appear in the Gunners first team and featured ten times before his move. Was captain and an integral part of Ron Atkinson’s Forth Division Championship team. Overall played 180 first team matches for the U’s before joining up with Atkinson at West Bromwich Albion.
Chris Turner-Centre Back. The only player to feature in as an all time favourite for both Cambridge United and Peterborough United. A true legend at the Abbey and London Road. Played 100 matches for the U’s and later became manager, turning fortunes around after the disastrous regimes of John Ryan and Ken Shellito and setting up the foundation of John Beck’s double promotion team.
Steve Fallon- Centre Back. If it wasn’t for a knee injury at 29 years old it’s almost certain Steve would of been the record appearance holder for United. As it is, he is only bettered by Steve Spriggs. Within a month becoming United manager Ron Atkinson went back to former club Kettering to snatch Steve from under the noses of Peterborough. Played a total of 447 first team games and was awarded Cambridge Evening News Player of the Year award a record three times.
Jamie Murray- Left Back. Possibly the best full back to play for United. Scottish by birth but moved with his family to Aylesbury when he was 5 years old. Joined United in 1975 from Rivet Sports along with team mate Floyd Street. A total of 269 appearances for the U’s, including 147 consecutive matches from November 1980 to January 1984. Also played for Sunderland and Brentford.
Steve Spriggs- Midfield. Cambridge United’s record appearance holder and a mainstay of the double promotion winning team of the seventies. Short in stature but big on endeavour, effort and dedication. Hard tackling and with a ferocious shot, Steve was the heart and soul of United for 12 years and played under six different managers. Total of 448 appearances and 60 goals.
Tom Finney-Midfield. The idol of the Habbin Stand regulars in the 1970’s. The Northern Ireland international joined United from Sunderland in 1976 and became the first current international at Cambridge, winning seven more caps while at the Abbey, including going to the 1982 World Cup in Spain. Brave to the extent of foolhardiness, Tom never pulled out of a tackle and won a reputation with referees that dogged him throughout his career. A total of 352 appearances and 65 goals.
Floyd Streete- Midfield. Turned professional with United at 16 years old after coming off a factory production line an playing part-time for Rivet Sports in Luton. Floyd was a powerful midfield with the build of a heavyweight boxer who could also fill in at centre back and even up front. A total of 142 appearances and 20 goals.
Graham “Willie” Watson- Midfield. A true Cambridge United legend. A fans favourite for most of the 1970’s. Willie’s enthusiasm, spirit and dedication combined with great vision made him the first name on the team sheet for almost a decade under three different managers. The £5,000 United paid for him is described as the best money they ever spent. After six years he was sold to Lincoln for £15,000 then came back on a free transfer. Total of 233 appearances and 30 goals.
Alan Biley- Forward. Speedy left winger turned into a striker by United’s assistant manager Paddy Sowden when he was snapped up from Sowden’s previous club Luton Town. A skilful, fast goal scorer with lots of flair and an eye for the spectacular. Became something of a cult hero with United fans with his Rod Stewart hair cut and George Best habit of clutching the inside of his shirt cuffs which tended to rip the stitching from the shoulder. Total of 187 appearances and 88 goals.
George Reilly-Forward. United paid a club record £140,000 for George when he moved from Northampton in 1979. He soon struck up a partnership with Alan Biley. The pair knocking in 13 goals in 10 games before Biley left to join Derby County. Reilly left United for Watford in 1983 and played in the 1984 FA Cup Final, He went on to play for Newcastle and West Bromwich Albion before Chris Turner brought him back the U’s in 1988. Total of 178 appearances and 50 goals.