Remembering Fifty & Thirty Years Ago This Week
This season marks the 50th anniversary of Cambridge United’s last season in the Southern League which concluded in being elected into the Football League. Week by week we will look back on events of that memorable season and also 30 years ago, a season which saw the U’s win the first ever play off final at Wembley.
1969/70 Bill Leivers continued trimming his squad by giving free transfers to Alan Doyle and John Saunders, also granting transfer requests from Roly Horrey and Bill Casidy. Horrey had lost his place in the team, but it still came as a surprise that his request was granted. Cassidy, although still playing, had lost his goal touch. On Saturday 10th January United embarked on their first campaign in the new FA Trophy. It was to be another 35 years before they started another one! As they were reigning champions of the strongest league outside of the Football League and the only full time professional team in the competition, they were very hopeful of reaching the Wembley final. The visitors were Minehead, who had made the long journey from the west country with a overnight stop in London, but four players travelled up on the day and were delayed by over an hour. The match kicked off 20 minutes late in front of a decent attendance of 2,376 and the visitors soon took a shock lead. But goals from McKinven and Harris gave the U’s the lead before half-time. There were no more goals in the second half and the U’s went through to face Bromsgrove Rovers in the second round.
The following Saturday United returned to Southern League action at home to Wimbledon. Leivers had managed to bring in striker Paul Gilchrist, a 19 year old six footer on loan from Charlton Athletic. He replaced the injured Butcher and managed to score the winner after Hardy had given United the lead on 15 minutes and Wimbledon equalised twelve minutes later. The following Monday the U’s travelled to Corby for the Southern League Cup 2nd Round Replay. Corby took the lead twice, but Meldrum scored United’s second equaliser in the 88th minute to take the tie into extra time were goals from Harris and McKinven put the U’s into the next round. The recently recalled Horrey was man of the match.
IN THE NEWS IN JANUARY 1970 Westminster Bank and National Provincial Bank merge to form Nat West Bank. A Boeing 747 lands at Heathrow, the first Jumbo Jet to land in the UK. Rolling Stone’s Mick Jagger is fined £200 for possession of Cannabis.
1989/90 The first Saturday in the year saw United in FA Cup 3rd Round action at home to Darlington who had dropped out of the League the previous season and were making a decent effort of returning at the first opportunity. Darlington where easily the best team and were unlucky not to win, having the best chances and United hardly able to get out of their own half. The match ends 0-0. The replay the following Tuesday was a much different match with Darlington taking the lead on 30 minutes and having a second controversley ruled out. United turn tings round in the second half with goals from Taylor, Philpott and Dublin giving them a 3-1 win. Millwall are next up in the cup.
On Saturday 20th January the Grimsby Town came to the Abbey for a Division 4 fixture. After a half-time rollicking from manager John Beck wakes up the sleepy U’s and the Dublin, Taylor partnership gives United a 2-0 win. Now sitting in 11th place and only 6 points behind 3rd place with two matches in hand, promotion seems possible again. What a difference two wins and a change of manager make!
IN THE NEWS IN JANUARY 1990 Lord Justice Taylor publishes his report in the Hillsborough disaster, which claimed the lives of 95 Liverpool F.C. supporters on 15 April last year. He recommends that all top division stadiums are all-seater by 1994 and that the rest of the Football League follows suit by 1999, but rules out the government's proposed ID card scheme to combat football hooliganism as "unworkable".
Police in Johannesburg, South Africa, break up a demonstration against the cricket match played by rebel English cricketers led by Mike Gatting.
Cambridge United versus Millwall, FA Cup 4th Round Replay, Tuesday 30 January 1990.