Cambridge till I die
Spending a Saturday afternoon on the Terraces being a diehard supporter of an English Football team is a ritual, or more precisely an almost religious part of one’s life that I now have a full appreciation of as we gathered on the terrace at the Abbey Stadium, the ground of Cambridge United.
What am I doing here when one could be admiring the history and surrounds of this magnificent town about an hour by train from London? The reason stems back 17 years now! My business partner in Magpie Estate and good friend, Noel Young, is a supporter of Cambridge United and could be described as being part of ‘Cambridge till I die’.
Over these seventeen years my own ritual has developed, firstly scouring the paper on a Monday morning, when years ago the Saturday scores were published, to now checking the internet for the most sought after score.
So a few Saturdays ago I had my opportunity to stand on the terrace behind the goals and become a true one eye Cambridge supporter in real life. It was pre-match excitement when the “U’s” strode onto the, for now, hallowed turf for their match against Barrow. The players ran towards our end the throng of supports clapped, cheered and then emerged into various chants to embrace their team.
The game commences and a few opportunities to score emerge, the chanting and clapping becomes more intense and then to absolute delight the home side scores. The moment has to be absorbed; blink and you miss it as there is no high tech screen to give lazy supporters the chance of a replay. The crowd erupts, jumping up and down, cheering, clapping and craziness is the norm and Noel just gives me an approving glance, almost saying in his eyes this is going to be a great day.
The game dawdles on towards half time and the call in our cluster is made to head to the bar for what will be a quick refreshment. As we move over in that direction I take the off chance to sneak up some stairs to view the game for a moment and yes it happens Cambridge score again! The movement was quick and I hardly have time to take it all in when the ball is in the net. Jubilation, a strong lead at half time!
We regather on the terrace and watch the start of the second half. A much better view as the team is running towards us and dominates the play. Many close chances happen, one being so close and to me seemingly happening in slow motion. Then the unthinkable happens, Barrow score. Despair is a mild word to use at this moment. Tenseness emerges on the terrace and the supporters increase that chanting and singing willing the ball into the back of their net, just a few steps in front of them. Then the moment of glory arrives. Is the team safe, the final few moments are tense then the relief of a final whistle! I have witnessed a great victory for the ‘U’s’, a day to remember and naturally Noel is proud.