Exciting times are words rarely uttered by a Cambridge United fan, most of us can admit that over the years it has seemed to be disappointment after disappointment.
Whether in the transfer market, lack of goals, the poor position in the league, financial woes or the inevitable nil-nil following some dreary sideways football on a freezing January afternoon.
That said, it does appear at this time that there appears to be a glimmer of hope for some exciting times at the Abbey Stadium and for Cambridge United in the 2019/20 season.
Why you may ask? Well there are a few reasons, firstly starting off a league season unbeaten after 4 matches hasn’t happened since Cambridge United returned to the football league after nine years in the Conference in the 2013/14 season. Add to that, of the four matches so far, two of the opposition sides were relegated from League One last season (Bradford and Scunthorpe), the other two being Newport County and Colchester United, so definitely no slouches!
Secondly, the squad. Colin Calderwood seems to have built a team of numerous different skill sets, resulting in a very adaptable team. The gaffer appears to be favouring wing backs so far and three across the back, which has brilliantly allowed Greg Taylor to marshal the defence into a much calmer approach to dealing with opposition attack than in previous seasons.
The additions of Mark Richards, Harvey Knibbs and Luke Hannant, as well as Jack Roles on loan from Spurs have created a team full of confidence to attack and have been dangerous in all four league matches this season, as well as knocking Championship side Brentford out of the Carabao Cup!
Thirdly, a new stadium and training ground may be on the cards. These words have been uttered countless times over the years and has always ended up being nothing more than a pipedream. This time though, it could hold water, as just up Newmarket Road from the Abbey Stadium, the Marshall group, based at Cambridge Airport have announced plans to move from their long-standing home. There have been more than mere suggestions that part of this move may involve a development of a long overdue new stadium and training facilities for the club. As the airport is also part of the Abbey Ward, it would mean moving less than a mile from our current home at the Abbey Stadium.
Finally, the future of the club. Three years ago, Paul Barry a lifelong U’s fan purchased 50.1% of the club to save it from serious financial trouble. Paul has been funding some roughly league average losses since then and the club has recently announced unanimous approval to sell the remaining shares. Paul is keen to see the club develop over the next five years and has guaranteed to continue subsiding average league losses regardless of which league the club ends up in as well as writing off an existing debt of over a million pounds.
Dare I say it? No, not yet, but it is at least looking much more positive for a change. It has been difficult to be excited at Cambridge United since those magical days of meeting Manchester United in the FA Cup, it is looking up though and I personally am really looking forward to the rest of the season!