A few weeks ago some OISE Cambridge students paid a visit to Villa Park to watch the game between Aston Villa and Manchester City (you can read their account, here).
We have no Premier League football to offer in Cambridge (the nearest ground would probably be Arsenal’s, a couple of tube stops north of King’s Cross station). But English football, unlike that of some other countries, has four professional divisions and a number of professional teams in the fifth division (known as the Conference National), of which Cambridge United is one.
Cambridge United have played in the fifth tier since they were relegated from the Football League in 2005; but this followed 35 consecutive year of league football, their high point coming in the early 1990s when they narrowly missed being founder-members of the Premier League (they finished 5th in the old second division in 1992).
The standard now is not so high, and nor is the gate – average attendance is in the low-thousands – but the football is fast and direct and the atmosphere raucous.
This is United’s last season at the Abbey Stadium, where they have played since 1932 – they are moving to a new stadium in the south of the city. The team is coming off a poor run which has left them 9th in the league, just behind Luton Town, who they play at home on Saturday in their penultimate home game of the season.
The ground is on the Newmarket Road (take a no. 3 bus from the centre; get off when you see either the stadium (by the road) or the ground). Kick-off is at 15:00. There’s never a problem getting a ticket. Come and give them your support, and experience a bit of real English football.
Oh, and they claim their bacon rolls have won awards.