We’re now more familiar with the Us these days, but Cambridge City are the original team from that part of the world for Boro’. The original and, in our opinion, the best. Now, before we get angry letters from esteemed residents of that city who follow the Amber Army, let’s back up our wild claim. First, the Lilywhites pre-date the oikish Abbey upstarts by a clear four years. That, and we first met City nine years before United popped up on our radar.
By dumping us out of the 1994-5 FA Cup, Cambridge City put us on the wrong end of a cupset. It was not what we’d call fun. Their 2-0 win came at the Second Qualifying Round stage and was, in fact, the third time they’d knocked us out of a cup. First was a Third Qualifying Round victory in the 1987-8 FA Trophy. The second instance was in the 1989-90 FA Trophy First Qualifying Round. Just hope we don’t meet them in a cup clash again, eh?
Formed in 1908, you couldn’t even call Cambridge a city back when the Lilywhites entered this mortal universe of ours. So, it can’t be a shock to learn that Cambridge Town would be their first name. It wasn’t ’til 1951 that Cambridge got city status. But, even then, it wasn’t quite as simple as switching from Town to City. Why? Well, because Abbey United wanted the name Cambridge City too.
The Lilywhites got their application in first, however. So, Abbey United had to settle on the name Cambridge United. Madness.
Now, we’ve skipped ahead nearly half a century. So, we’ll go back and fill in the gaps. At the start, the club competed in the Southern Amateur League. In 1936, they even turned down an invitation to join the Football League. It seems the men in power wanted to bring the professional game to East Anglia; Norwich City the only side flying the flag for the region at the time. The Lilywhites’ reason? When they formed, they commited themselves to playing as amateurs. Joining the Football League went against that.
After the dust had fallen on World War Two, the Lilywhites joined the Spartan League and won that title three times between 1946 and 1950. At this point, they decided to move into the Athenian League; rockin’ the new City moniker from 1951 onwards. In 1958, however, came another move. This time, it was into the Southern League. And it started a long-term association with the competition.
Why do we know Cambridge City?
How times had changed. After passing up a golden chance to join the Football League, the club turned professional upon joining the Southern League. Between 1959 and 1974, the Lilywhites applied to the Football League five times. Every single time, they were told “no”. They had their chance – and had blown it. And it wouldn’t help that United were elected to the League in 1970. The regret the Lilywhites must’ve felt!
In their time as a Southern League side, they were crowned champions at the end of the 1962-3 campaign. As runners-up in 1970 and 1971, they did come close to repeating the feat. But there’s a theory that United’s rise into the League wasn’t helping their cause off-the-pitch. In 1976, they were relegated from the Premier Division into Division One North. After being put in the Midland Division after a restructuring of the competition, they made the switch to the Southern Division in 1982. And, finally, their fortunes started to improve.
After winning the 1985-6 Southern Division title, the Lilywhites were back in the Premier Division. And straight to the top end of it they soared; eyeing up another promotion up to the Conference. The closest they came saw them fall nine points short at the end of the 1987-8 campaign. And it was a season in which we met them for the first time. We were in Vauxhall Opel League Division One during that season; a level below where they were (for all intents and purposes). And it’d be an FA Trophy tie that would pair us together.
How to get to Cambridge City – Travel Information – Distance: 34 miles
** At time of writing, Cambridge City are playing at Histon **
All being well, you should be able to do this in less than an hour. Head north on the A1 to Junction 9 and take the A505 towards Baldock. Keep going along until you reach the edge of Royston. After passing Tesco on ypur right, take the first exit at the roundabout and take the northbound A1198.
Stick with this for around 4.5 miles over two roundabouts until you reach a third that gives you the choice to join the A603. You’ll want this to take you towards Cambridge. Just over seven miles later and you”ll need to join the M11 northbound. You’ll be heading along the M11 for 2.5 miles, before exiting at Junction 14 for the eastbound A14.
Come back around on yourself to join the A428 and this becomes the A14. Don’t get too set, however, as you’ll be needing the junction just over a mile down the road; this is the B1049. Take the first exit at the roundabout and, after going over a former railway bridge, the ground is on the right.
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.