Football becomes lifeline for lifelong Cambridge United fan

  • Watch Sarah Cooper's report for ITV News Anglia

For Linda Wilkin, football is everything. She's supported Cambridge United for 67 seasons, and last year when the country went into lockdown, her football family stepped up when she needed them most.

Linda lives alone in the city and was forced to shield when the Prime Minister announced the extraordinary measures in March 2020.

Linda Wilkin has supported Cambridge United for 67 seasons Credit: ITV Anglia

Her family were in another part of the country, and she didn't have the technology to connect virtually with anyone.

Simon Wall from the Cambridge United Community Trust said: "When I first started talking to Linda, she was quite low, she was shielding so she couldn't go out. Her family were living away, she didn't really have anyone to talk to."

"One of the first things we did is we got her a webcam, set it up for her and then she was away, and she's been to every afternoon tea since."

Linda now regularly joins virtual social events with the club Credit: ITV News Anglia

Linda went to her first game aged just four years old with her Dad. She said: "It was a time when I could be with my Dad and feel safe, and have love, which I didn't have a lot of."

The U's are currently second in League Two, and Linda is hoping when she returns to the stands, they'll be in League One - just one of many promotions she's witnessed at the Abbey.

We can't go back until next season, but I'll be there the first day.

Linda Wilkin, Cambridge United Supporter

Linda describes herself as a "vocal" supporter on the terraces. "I tell the referees exactly what I think of them. I even do it when I'm watching on the computer."

"Cambridge United are my life. If I can't get to a game I get very frustrated. It feels like my home, there's so much camaraderie there. Anyone would talk to you, you weren't excluded or anything."

The U's biggest fans can buy a cutout to sit in a seat at the Abbey Credit: ITV Anglia

Cambridge United are one of many clubs running programs to help their fans during the pandemic.

Simon Wall from the club's community trust said: "We're just doing our best to pay them back in the best way we can. Without the fans there's nothing."

Linda's just desperate to get back to supporting the club she calls her family.