Statto Corner v Norwich City
Cambridge United and Norwich City first crossed swords in the 1950s, when United’s first team competed with the Canaries’ ‘A’ (or youth) team in the Eastern Counties League for seven seasons until the U’s moved up to the Southern League. In 14 meetings United won nine times and lost only twice.
The clubs also met six times in the East Anglian Cup in that and the following decade, United winning twice, and in friendlies at the Abbey in 1967, 1969 and 1972, but their first teams began to meet competitively when a pre-season tournament, the Willhire Cup, was arranged in 1978, a group competition which also involved Ipswich Town and Colchester. Norwich won 3-1 at the Abbey in the inaugural round robin, but the U’s triumphed 2-0 in 1979 thanks to goals from Bill Garner and Derrick Christie. The final Willhire Cup was held in 1980 and United lost 4-0 at Carrow Road.
The only FA Cup meeting between the clubs came at the same venue on 3 January 1981; Greg Downs scored the only goal of the game for the hosts in a third round tie. The following season saw the clubs at the same level, Division Two, for the first and only time in their histories.
Norwich won their home match 2-1, Steve Walford and Mick McGuire’s goals only pulled back very late by a Steve Fallon strike. The result was the same at the Abbey, Fallon’s late goal again too little in response to earlier strikes from Peter Mendham and John Deehan.
The teams that day, 3 April 1982, were:
United: Key; Donaldson, Smith, Fallon, Murray; Cartwright, Spriggs (Turner), Gibbins, O’Neill; Finney, Goldsmith
Norwich: Woods; Haylock, Walford, Watson, Downs; Bennett, McGuire, O’Neill, Mendham; Deehan, Bertschin
The Canaries were then promoted to Division One, but they visited the Abbey every year from 1983 to 1986 to compete for the Cambs Professional Cup. The U’s won the first meeting on penalties, 4-3 after a 1-1 draw, with Andy Sinton (who also scored a penalty in the 90 minutes), Steve Spriggs, Robbie Cooke and Jamie Murray all successful from the spot. Norwich, however, took the trophy back to Norfolk in the following three years, by scores of 3-0, 4-1 and 3-0 again.
The clubs have also met in two benefit matches over the years, for Jimmy Thompson in 1975 (4-2 to Norwich) and for Andy Chapman, a teenage centre-back whose promising career was ended by injury before he could make the first team, in 1989, which finished in a 2-2 draw.
There were also eight friendly meetings between 1986 and 2013, culminating in United’s 1-0 win due to a stunning Adam Cunnington strike in the latter year, before another 2 x one-hour spectacular two years ago, which ended in a 1-1 draw and a 2-0 win for Norwich.
Mitov 6. Not particularly at fault for either goal, looked competent.
Halliday 6. Not at his best but getting there.
Legge 7. United’s best player in the first half, blocking and tackling everything.
Darling 6. Unflappable and gaining in experience every week.
Taylor 6. Did not let the side down.
Elito 5. No threat at all on the right wing, creating nothing.
Lewis 6. Gradually blossoming.
Hale 6. Tidy and decent, but do we need yet another central midfielder?
Maris 6. Busy as usual.
Berry 6. Has not looked quite himself so far.
Ikpeazu 6. No lack of effort, but was starved of quality supply.
Squire 6. Did not look out of place.
Davies 6. Still growing in promise.
Roberts 7. Impressive collection of vital blocks. Life in the old dog yet, it seems.
Coulson 6. Solid job.
Dunk 7. Dangerous threat on the overlap.
Mingoia 7. Usual top quality crossing.
Osadebe 7. Covers ground so easily; great potential.
Deegan 7. Looks like being a vital component at the heart of the side this season.
Brown 7. Impressive showing and definitely worth another look.
McGurk 6. Feeling his way into fitness and form.
Ibehre 7. Quality and experience immediately apparent. Should be a good mentor for Uche as well.
Foy 6. More valuable match time.
A strangely passive United side never looked like pulling back the two early goals it conceded in the first match, but game two looked much more promising with good performances and team understanding throughout. May the progress continue.
Man of the Match
Match 1: Leon Legge. Imperious and impenetrable.
Match 2: Harrison Dunk. A lively presence all over the park.
Young 6. Welcomingly unobtrusive.
Soundtrack of the Day
Peter Perrett “An Epic Story”
Statto Corner v Tottenham Hotspur 21/07/2017
The first testimonial to be held at the Abbey was for player-manager Bill Whittaker on 22 April 1954. A crowd of 5,000 witnessed a 2-0 defeat by one of his former clubs, Charlton Athletic; their most famous player, Sam Bartram, was unfit to play, but still turned up to perform a ceremonial kick-off.
A year later long-serving full-back Harry Bullen was awarded a benefit game, and 3,000 turned out to see his XI draw 1-1 with a Combined XI selected by Cambridge City player-boss Roddie Munro. In seven years and 171 appearances Bullen had never scored a league goal for the club, so he tried his hand at centre-forward in the second half to cries of ‘Give it to Harry!’ but was denied a goal when his header beat keeper Ted Culver but was hooked unsportingly off the line by Munro.
April of 1956 saw two testimonials staged at the Abbey. The first, for the legendary Russell Crane, attracted 1,500 to see his select XI draw 2-2 with another Combined XI; Crane naturally scored both goals. Tough-tackling half-back Johnny Percival then skippered his XI to a 6-0 victory over another Roddie Munro selection.
Len Saward paid for United’s first set of floodlights in October 1957 to enable the club to stage his testimonial against an Invitation XI, who won 4-3 before a crowd of 5,500 with goals from Division One stars Vic Keeble (3) and Peter McParland. That paled, however, in comparison to the match staged for the legendary Wilf Mannion the following March. 9,500 packed Newmarket Road to witness the U’s win 4-3 against an all-star International XI which included big stars of the day such as Stan Mortensen, Jimmy Hagan, Joe Mercer, Ted Ditchburn, Neil Franklin and Henry Cockburn.
Bob Bishop’s match against an All Stars XI the following year attracted only 1,167, while a game for Sam McCrory versus more All Stars in 1962 brought in 1,147 spectators. Three years later a joint testimonial for Fred Howell and Andy Smith saw United defeat an International Club XI which included Coventry’s Jimmy Hill 3-1 in front of 3,200.
November 1966 saw a team representing a fictional club from a BBC TV serial called ‘United,’ plus a few ringers such as McParland, Pat Saward and Derek Kevan, visit the Abbey for Rodney Slack’s benefit, the U’s prevailing 4-3 in front of 4,000, while the long-serving Jackie Scurr scored in his own match in 1968, a 4-2 defeat of Southend.
There were two testimonials in 1972, one for John Gregson (a 2-1 defeat to Ipswich, attendance 3,809), and the other for the tragic Trevor Roberts, by now stricken with terminal cancer which had spread to his brain. A joint Cambridge/Southend United side prevailed 3-2 against a West Ham side which included Geoff Hurst, Harry Redknapp, Billy Bonds, Tommy Taylor and Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson before a crowd of 6,309. Roberts passed away a month later at the age of just thirty.
Jimmy Thompson’s match in 1975 attracted an impressive 7,257 to see a 4-2 defeat to Norwich, but Dave Simmons had to settle for 2,568 versus Ipswich two years later. Terry Eades’ 1980 game against West Bromwich Albion attracted 3,660, then in 1985 a joint match for Steve Spriggs and Steve Fallon brought in a full-strength Manchester United side, which won 3-2 in front of 6,017 thanks to two goals from Mark Hughes and a Geoff Scott own goal. Fallon received another game two years later when he was forced to retire through injury, but only 743 attended against Wimbledon.
The late 1980s saw a spate of matches staged for players whose careers were cut short by injury: Keith Osgood (1986, Ipswich, 1,106), Geoff Scott (1986, QPR, 807), Steve Dowman (1987, Ipswich, 1,268) and Andy Chapman (1989, Norwich, 1,439), while club legend Lindsay “Wolfie” Smith was awarded a game against Leicester in 1990 which attracted 1,700.
There were no further testimonials played at the Abbey until 2003, when 5,803 turned out to pay tribute to John Taylor in a 5-3 defeat to Leeds. Most recently, Ian Darler’s match against Ipswich in 2005 (2,769) was most memorable for the United stadium manager’s agricultural tackle on a hapless opponent which necessitated his withdrawal, while Steve Fallon’s third testimonial, this time commemorating his service to local football as a whole, brought 900 to Newmarket Road in 2010 for a contest against his own ‘Legends’ assemblage.
Forde 7. Cracking signing, wise old head at the back.
Taylor 6. Stuck to his task.
Legge 6. Getting the cock-ups out of the way early. Or something.
Coulson 10. What else?
Carroll 6. First outing of pre-season.
Brown 7. Great promise, just needed to hold his temper.
Osadebe 8. Outstanding first half, so mobile and quick but accurate in the pass.
O’Neil 6. Played it safe as ever.
Dunk 7. A lot of good work, slightly more accuracy required in the cross.
Berry 6. In and out of the game, good goal.
Ibehre 6. The goals will come once he settles in properly.
Bannister 7. A selection of excellent saves, but where is the room for him in the squad?
Davies 6. More valuable experience.
Adu-Peprah 6. Looked reasonably tidy.
Roberts 6. Solid enough.
Darling 6. Continuing to grow.
Mingoia 6. Fairly subdued.
Deegan 7. Always involved.
Elito 6. Minor contribution.
Amoo 6. Impressive pace, now needs an end product.
Azeez 7. Another quick one who asked questions of the opposition. Now, can he finish?
Ikpeazu 7. The big man had the last word.
The night was all about paying tribute to one of our own, one of football’s good guys. The occasional outbreaks of football were a nice bonus.
Man of the Match
Josh Coulson. Of course.
Pollard 6. Perfectly adequate.
Soundtrack of the Day
The Waterboys “If The Answer Is Yeah”
Statto Corner Southend 29/07/2017
Southend have visited the Abbey Stadium 19 times in their history. Their first time was in September 1968 when they provided the opposition for the testimonial game of the long-serving Jackie Scurr, losing 4-2. Two years later the U’s were elected to the Football League and the Shrimpers won 3-0 in Cambridge against the new boys, with two goals from Billy Best and one from Phil Chisnall.
Things improved for the hosts the following season when they drew 1-1, and the two clubs combined in May 1972 to play West Ham in a testimonial for the terminally ill Trevor Roberts, prevailing 3-2. Both clubs then began to yo-yo up and down the League, meeting in the 1974-75 and 1976-77 seasons before their ways parted until 1985-86, Southend winning 2-1 at the Abbey for two consecutive seasons.
The clubs’ only cup meeting at the Abbey came in December 1989, when they met in the preliminary round of the Leyland DAF Trophy. A crowd of 993 witnessed a thrilling 3-3 draw, with Chris Leadbitter, Michael Cheetham and Liam Daish scoring for the U’s and Mario Walsh, Justin Edinburgh and Martin Ling replying for the Blues.
That same season the two clubs began to follow each other up the League, both winning two consecutive promotions; the U’s prevailed 2-1 in 1989-90, while the Blues won 4-1 and 1-0 in the following two seasons. The U’s gained a 3-1 victory in 1992-93 in their last home game of the term, but defeat at West Ham then sentenced them to relegation and the clubs’ fortunes diverged again.
Since then they have met in 1998-99 (3-0 to the U’s), 2002-03 (1-1), 2003-04 (1-0 to Southend), 2004-05 (2-0 to Southend) and on Boxing Day 2014, when the Shrimpers prevailed again, 1-0, thanks to a goal from Barry Corr.
The teams that day were:
U’s: Dunn, Tait, Miller, Coulson, Taylor, Kaikai (Atkinson), Hughes, Champion, Chadwick, Appiah (Bird), Chiedozie (Cunnington)
Southend: Bentley, White, Bolger, Prosser, Coker, Worrall (Weston), Leonard, Atkinson (Timlin), Hurst (Coulthirst), Payne, Corr
Forde 7. Safe presence.
Davies 7. Grew into the game and also offered a number of decent crosses when pushing forward.
Legge 7. Solid as ever.
Taylor 7. Looked as if he has been playing centre-back all his career.
Carroll 6. Still has a recurring tendency to lose possession.
Elito 5. Useless as a winger, got into some good positions when he switched but his finishing was pitiful.
Deegan 8. Just what the team needed.
O’Neil 7. Decent, tidy game with some good forays forward.
Dunk 7. Dangerous as ever.
Berry 7. Reliable if hardly outstanding, but his status as penalty taker must be in doubt.
Ikpeazu 8. Barnstorming presence and unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.
Azeez 6. Lively pace but unable to make much impression as a lone striker.
Maris 7. Dynamic and positive.
Mingoia 6. Quiet match by his standards.
United’s final warm-up before the big kick-off was something of a curate’s egg; good in parts with some decent individual performances, but the sum of the whole did not quite add up. Still room for improvement.
Man of the Match
Gary Deegan. The sort of fiery but experienced midfield leader this team has been crying out for.
Rock 6. Iffy penalty decision, otherwise satisfactory.
Soundtrack of the Day
Deerhoof “Your Dystopic Creation Doesn’t Fear You”