Richard Toombs and Ian Elliott are asking fellow fans, collectors and hoarders to donate old, unwanted United programmes. Coconuts aims to assemble a complete, bound set to form the historical backbone of a future permanent museum.
Richard explains that assembling the collection will enable Coconuts to continue the amazing historical legacy left by club historian Andrew Bennett, who died in February.
Ian, a close friend of Andrew’s, adds: “Andrew was an immensely generous man who kindly bequeathed his impressive programme collection to the Coconuts cause.”
Richard began collecting United programmes years ago when he realised that no definitive library existed at the club. “My intention was to leave whatever I had managed to accumulate to the club when I moved on. This was before the formation of Coconuts in 2012,” he adds.
“Recently I became aware that they had a lot of programmes in storage and decided to offer my collection, time and energy to amalgamate what we have collectively, and devote however long it takes to pulling together a complete collection.”
Apart from a few elusive programmes from friendly matches, most of the Coconuts collection for the post-1970 period is complete. With storage facilities bulging at the seams, the appeal is being focused on issues from before 1970.
“If people find some old programmes from that era in their garages or attics, we would love to hear from them,” says Richard.
Ian says: “United first published programmes in 1947, when they joined the United Counties League – an important step in the club’s rise to the Football League. The first one that we know about was printed for a pre-season trial match, Colours verses Whites, on August 16 of that year.”
Coconuts is restricted in what it can accept, but duplicates of pre-1970 programmes can sometimes be sold online, raising badly needed funds to acquire very rare programmes.
Anyone with Cambridge United programmes from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s is asked to get in touch using the contact form at 100yearsofcoconuts.co.uk, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coconuts will arrange delivery or collection of donations. Alternatively, small and easily carried donations can be delivered to the CFU caravan on match days.