50 years as a Football League Club for Cambridge United

  • Watch Donovan Blake's report on Cambridge United's election to the Football League 50 years ago

When Cambridge United unveiled a limited edition all-white replica strip for their SkyBet League Two match against Newport in October, it got supporters thinking of the club's first forays playing in the Football League fifty years earlier.

Back in 1970, United finally succeeded in being elected as a league club after many failed attempts.

Cambridge Evening News reports on United's election to the Football League Credit: '100 Years of Coconuts'

It's fair to say back then, winning a league place was more of a case of who you knew, rather than what you were good at. 

Prior to 1987, clubs who finished in the bottom four of English Football's fourth tier had to seek re-election to keep their place.

Ambitious sides plying their trades in the Southern League and Northern Premier League often applied to be elected but success in being voted in by right was very rare.

Bill Leivers was manager of Cambridge United when they were elected to the Football League in May 1970 Credit: ITV Anglia

Winning three Southern League under manager Bill Leivers, however, made it difficult for the establishment to ignore United.

For former players Brian Grant and Roly Horrey, the memories of being elevated from non league obscurity to Football League prominence are still fresh.

Former Cambridge United player Brian Grant Credit: ITV Anglia

Former Cambridge United player Roly Horrey Credit: ITV Anglia

And a City famed for its academia was suddenly attracting interest from the wider sporting public.

Lifelong Cambridge United fan Nigel Browne Credit: ITV Anglia

Lifelong supporter Nigel Browne is a contributor to an online museum dedicated to Cambridge United called '100 Years of Coconuts'