The December Amber News can be found by clicking here
I'll be honest I've not read the Amber News for a while but I did promise you an article a while back and here it is. Not the one I originally intended (still working on that and balancing the prospect of being sued for libel by some old hooligans) but one nonetheless. Don’t know if the pics work very well and I am absolutely no IT expert – just a member of the lost generation on that front! [me too – Ed]
And he was right. A short history lesson, sorry that sounds so blinking patronising! My apologies, particularly as I know a lot of you have graced this earth a lot longer than me and indeed have supported CUFC equally longer. Anyway, the attached pics show our original Cambridge United badge. Well more or less. Let me explain.
Despite becoming Cambridge United in 1951, which rendered the old “AU” motif rather redundant, we didn’t have a badge until somebody came up with this idea which saw it designed and created in 1963 in time for the programme cover for the 1963/64 season and several subsequent seasons until the late 1960s. It’s incredible to think that we have NEVER worn this badge on a shirt, isn’t it? Yes we wore a hybridised version on the yellow (eek) and black quarter shirts between 1996 and 1998, thanks to Patrick the kit supplier at the time who were going through one of their retro phases. It’s equally astounding to note that CUFC didn’t wear a badge on their shirts from 1951 to 1974, full stop. Twenty three years and no badge on the shirt, that’s weird, isn’t it? Even allowing for that spell in the 60s when badges on shirts did become rather ‘passe’, that’s a long time. Did nobody question it? Dad?
The attached image shows us the coat of arms of the City of Cambridge adorning a shield. This will be familiar to you if you’ve ever been in a taxi in Cambridge and/or you’ve clocked the design above the entrance to the Guildhall on the east side of the Market Square. The Council these days seem to distance themselves from it with a more ‘modern’ Big C design in front of what looks like King’s College Chapel, when it comes to “Welcome to Cambridge” signs anyway, although the original still holds sway as I say if you jump in a cab outside the station on a wet evening home.
The CUFC monogram needs no explaining. Did Carlisle and Colchester exist then?? The original badge had two smaller shields to the left and the right, on the left was the motif of the Cambridge & District Sportsmen’s Guild, a fundraising outfit effectively(for CUFC)) which formed in the early 1960s and was based at the Supporters’ Club. And to the right was the Supporters’ Club badge itself. Come 1971 these emblems had disappeared from the badge (see my comments below), evidence no doubt of less than harmonious relations between all concerned. Which some may say remain to this day although the Guild dissolved many years ago.
Moving down the badge we see the “Abbey” construction paying homage, folklore tells us, to the Abbey Church (St Andrew the Less to give it its full name) on Newmarket Road. This needs no introduction really as it gives its name to the whole district that I and many others including CUFC live in round here, is the political ward as part of Cambridge City Council and apparently gave its name to a little sporting institution which commenced proceedings in 1912. The ball, the goal and the verdant turf remind us what sport we’re talking about.
Finally, we have the scroll at the bottom emblazoned with United In Endeavour, the club’s (un-) official motto, as much CUFC as black and amber, coconuts, Harry Habbin, Corona soft drinks and Ian Darler. Coined I recall in the 1960s when so many volunteers contributed so much to the development of the “Abbey” Stadium, particularly the construction of the Habbin Stand. Unified in their hard work.
I mentioned 1971 above. This is quite apposite because this is the last time we saw this badge (minus the two shields as I say) in any way representing Cambridge United. Decent as it was to see it on the cover of every home programme during the 1971/72 season, one cannot help but view it as a rather ignominious exit in the end for such a glorious creation. Come the start of the 1972/73 season then the “book and the ball” badge was on its way which eventually found itself on the shirt front at the beginning of the 1974/75 season. Although only Cambridge United could take two seasons to get the new badge from the programme cover on to the shirt. Again, weird.
And now I look at our current badge. How has this ‘effort’ survived over thirty years? How much thinking went in to it? If you took away the scroll at the bottom who would be able to tell whose badge it actually was? I give it a tick for the homage to the City of Cambridge coat of arms, ie the bridge balustrades, but the rest of it………where’s the club’s motto even? A toilet seat if ever there was one.
Time for a new badge. I’m not naïve enough to think we could see the return of the old badge. It’s naïve in this age of minimalism where new badges are concerned (see Arsenal, Spurs, Fulham, Juventus(OMG!), Swansea, Cheltenham, etc) although Manchester City’s introduced last season demonstrates there is life out there and I can carry on dreaming……and look at Swindon’s and Barnsley’s return to their roots in badge terms in recent years. And Brentford? The bee returns in its full glory this season. What a sting that was.
Could we not use though some of the features from the old badge, the Abbey setting, the ball and the United In Endeavour scroll and introduce those into a modern design? With a bit more black and amber colouring, maybe.
Check out the new old flag in the Abbey Arms this season. I wonder how many people know the history behind it. And plenty of nods to the past in the CFU caravan, embroidered patches, car stickers, mugs, coasters, caps, beanie hats, they’re all there.
Andy “Foxy” Fox