After the diversions of England and Staines Town, time now to get back to the matter in hand; Cambridge United v Weymouth, which is now less than a week away. Planning for the trip is underway; a couple of friends are gearing themselves up for the journey with me (poor things), another friend (a Cambridge local) will be meeting us there and I have an interview with a journalist (the second in three weeks). And, lest I forget, a game of football to watch to top it all off.
As my regular readers know (good grief, how pretentious does that sound?), Weymouth took over the mantle when they disposed of Eastbourne Borough in the First Round Proper. They will travel to Cambridge on Saturday and, as a consequence, I will be travelling there too.
Cambridge United FC play at The Abbey Stadium and have done so since 1932; they share their ground with Cambridge Regional College FC who only formed in 2006 as a feeder club and youth academy to their hosts. The current capacity at The Abbey is 9,617; the game on Saturday is not all ticket, but a reasonable crowd of 4,000+ is being predicted in some quarters. The club are giving out vouchers at the game which will give holders priority for tickets in the Third Round Proper, should they advance. This shrewd move alone will swell the gate.
The game on Saturday will be an all Conference tie, but I still think of Cambridge United as a league team. They spent thirty five years playing league football before their demotion in 2005, which brought with it a brief flirtation with administration. The sale of their ground and a last minute deal with the HM Revenue and Customs saw the club survive.
Cambridge United, known as Abbey United until 1951, have fond memories of the FA Cup, none more so than in 1990 and 1991 when great cup runs saw them reach the last eight of the competition in consecutive seasons. The 1990 cup run ended at Highbury with a 2-1 reverse against Arsenal in front of 43,000 spectators. And I sense that many Cambridge fans would relish the prospect of another captivating cup run this season.
And talking of the Cambridge fans...
In the build up to the FA Cup game on Saturday, I have had some rather bizarre correspondence from a few Cambridge fans. I have been asked whether I like ducks (?), whether I knew about the club's "Magic Pond" (??) and whether I knew about the moose that was found grazing on the pitch at the Abbey Stadium (???). If anyone can throw any light on this, please contact me. Or just call me gullible.
Oh, and here's one last interesting fact. Cambridge United's record victory (in March of this year) was 7-0.