2008–09 Cambridge United F.C. season
|FA Cup||First Round (Lost to Kidderminster)|
|Conference League Cup||Third Round (Lost to A.F.C. Telford)|
|FA Trophy||Second Round (Lost to Crawley Town)|
|Top goalscorer||Scott Rendell (13)|
|Highest home attendance||7,090 (v Altrincham, League, 26 Apr)|
|Lowest home attendance||2,662 (v Northwich, League, 14 Mar)|
|Average home league attendance||3,567|
The 2008–09 season was the 97th season in the history of Cambridge United F.C., and the club's fourth consecutive season in the Conference National. After finishing as runners-up and losing in the play-off final during the 2007–08 season, the club were optimistic of a return to the Football League either as champions or through the play-offs.
The club appointed little-known manager Gary Brabin to guide them through the season, who joined from Southport with relatively little managerial experience. He replaced the successful Jimmy Quinn who parted company with the club by mutual consent after lengthy talks with chairman Phillip Law.
The club enjoyed a successful season, although they were not close to catching eventual champions Burton Albion for much of the season. However, in the final months some excellent form, together with the departure of Burton's manager Nigel Clough, saw the gap close and Cambridge could have won the title and promotion on the final day of the season had they beaten rather than drawn at home to Altrincham. As it was they finished runners-up for the second successive season and despite a memorable play-off campaign, which included beating Stevenage Borough 3-0 after extra time in the second leg at the Abbey Stadium to overturn a first-leg deficit, Cambridge lost the play-off final to Torquay United.
Cambridge United were founded in 1912 as Abbey United, named after the Abbey district of Cambridge. For many years they played amateur football until their election to the Football League in 1970. The early 1990s was Cambridge's most successful period; managed by John Beck the club won the first ever play-off final at Wembley Stadium and gained promotion from the Fourth Division before reaching two successive FA Cup quarter finals in 1990 and 1991 and winning the Third Division in 1991. The club reached the play-offs in 1992 but failed in their bid to become founder members of the Premier League. This was the club's highest final league placing to date and since then it has been in almost constant decline.
The following season the club sacked Beck and were relegated from the First Division. Further relegation followed two seasons later. United returned to Division Two but were relegated in 2002. In 2005, after 35 years in the Football League, Cambridge United were relegated into the Football Conference. This brought with it financial difficulties and the club filed for administration, coming out of it three months later after the intervention of sports minister Richard Caborn, but not before selling their Abbey Stadium home to keep the club afloat and closing the youth system.
The club's first season in the Conference National was one of stabilisation, followed by a close shave with relegation. Under the stewardship of Jimmy Quinn, the club recovered in the previous season to finish in the play-off final. However, after despite losing the 1-0 to Exeter City, the club were hoping to build on this relative success under the new management of Gary Brabin following Quinn's departure.
The team kit for the season was produced by Vandanel for the second season. The same kit was used as in the previous season, with a white and black away shirt, and amber and black striped home shirt. As for previous seasons, the kit had two different sponsors - local company Global Self Drive at home and Kershaw away.
A special edition play-off final shirt was also released and worn for that match. Produced by Vandanel, the shirt was all amber with limited black trim and sponsored by Kershaw.
First team squad
This table shows the squad as it stood at the end of the season.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
|Position||Nation||Name||Conference National||FA Cup||Total|
|Match won||Match drawn||Match lost||Biggest win||Biggest loss||Top||Play-Off Position|
|Kick Off||Opponents||H / A||Result||Scorers||Attendance|
|12 July 2008||King's Lynn||A||2 – 3||Beesley, Reed||unknown|
|15 July 2008||Cambridge City||A||1 – 1||Beesley||910|
|19 July 2008||Everton||H||4 – 2||Parkinson (2), Willmott, Beesley||4,495|
|23 July 2008||Soham Town Rangers||A||4 – 2||Willmott (2), Jardim (2)||569|
|26 July 2008||Coventry City||H||1 – 3||Farrell||1,751|
|28 July 2008||Bedford Town||A||1 – 2||Ives||304|
|30 July 2008||West Ham United||H||0 – 0||–||2,491|
|1 August 2008||Braintree Town||A||Cancelled||–||–|
|Kick Off||Opponents||H / A||Result||Scorers||Attendance||Pos|
|9 August 2008||Northwich Victoria||A||1 – 0||Jardim 28'||1,445||6th|
|12 August 2008||Kidderminster Harriers||H||2 – 1||McEvilly 27', 61'||3,008||4th|
|16 August 2008||Barrow||H||2 – 1||McEvilly 28', Hatswell 40'||2,663||1st|
|23 August 2008||Eastbourne Borough||A||3 – 0||McEvilly 21', Farrell 40', Holroyd 84'||2,105||1st|
|25 August 2008||Kettering Town||H||0 – 2||–||3,489||2nd|
|30 August 2008||Weymouth||A||2 – 2||McEvilly 42', Beesley 45'||1,367||3rd|
|2 September 2008||Ebbsfleet United||A||1 – 1||McEvilly 45'||1,832||4th|
|6 September 2008||Wrexham||H||2 – 0||Beesley 28', 64'||3,076||2nd|
|13 September 2008||Torquay United||H||0 – 1||–||4,041||5th|
|20 September 2008||Mansfield Town||A||1 – 1||Brown 33'||3,171||6th|
|23 September 2008||Oxford United||H||1 – 3||Jardim 56'||4,170||8th|
|28 September 2008||Grays Athletic||H||1 – 0||McEvilly 90' (pen)||2,971||5th|
|4 October 2008||York City||A||0 – 0||–||2,608||6th|
|7 October 2008||Lewes||H||1 – 0||Challinor 90'||3,194||5th|
|11 October 2008||Weymouth||H||1 – 0||Challinor 11'||3,981||3rd|
|16 October 2008||Forest Green Rovers||A||2 – 2||Hatswell 34', Crow 66'||789||3rd|
|1 November 2008||Rushden & Diamonds||H||0 – 0||–||3,547||7th|
|15 November 2008||Crawley Town||A||2 – 2||McEvilly 51' (pen), Convery 90'||1,570||7th|
|18 November 2008||York City||H||1 – 0||Purkiss (OG) 51'||2,914||4th|
|22 November 2008||Altrincham||A||0 – 1||–||1,123||5th|
|29 November 2008||Ebbsfleet United||H||1 – 0||Rendell 45'||2,807||4th|
|6 December 2008||Torquay United||A||0 – 0||–||2,310||6th|
|9 December 2008||Burton Albion||A||1 – 3||Rendell 63'||1,804||6th|
|20 December 2008||Salisbury City||H||4 – 0||Willmott 24', Rendell 51', Holroyd 62', Pitt 63'||3,340||6th|
|26 December 2008||Histon||H||2 – 2||Hatswell 15', Rendell 42'||6,488||6th|
|28 December 2008||Stevenage Borough||H||1 – 1||Rendell 3'||3,351||6th|
|17 January 2009||Woking||H||4 – 1||Crow 3', 22', Beesley 66', Willmott 83'||2,696||5th|
|22 January 2009||Wrexham||A||0 – 2||–||3,103||6th|
|29 January 2009||Oxford United||H||1 – 1||Carden 72'||3,774||7th|
|1 February 2009||Rushden & Diamonds||A||2 – 1||Holroyd 21' (pen), Bolland 88'||2,058||3rd|
|17 February 2009||Kidderminster Harriers||A||3 – 1||Rendell 20' (pen), Holroyd 31', 55'||1,361||3rd|
|21 February 2009||Lewes||A||2 – 0||Rendell 83' (pen), Willmott 87'||962||3rd|
|24 February 2009||Grays Athletic||A||1 – 0||Rendell 42'||754||3rd|
|28 February 2009||Crawley Town||H||1 – 1||Pitt 82'||3,231||3rd|
|2 Match 2009||Histon||A||1 – 1||Hatswell 74'||2,579||3rd|
|7 March 2009||Burton Albion||H||2 – 0||Rendell 55', Willmott 76'||4,377||2nd|
|10 March 2009||Mansfield Town||H||2 – 1||Rendell 49', Reason 90'||2,781||2nd|
|14 March 2009||Northwich Victoria||H||4 – 1||Holroyd 25', Rendell 30', 37', Parkinson 80'||2,662||2nd|
|17 March 2009||Barrow||A||2 – 0||Holroyd 63', 83'||1,341||2nd|
|30 March 2009||Woking||A||1 – 0||Reason 83'||1,775||2nd|
|4 April 2009||Forest Green Rovers||H||0 – 1||–||3,245||2nd|
|7 April 2009||Stevenage Borough||A||1 – 2||Willmott 17'||3,408||3rd|
|11 April 2009||Eastbourne Borough||H||2 – 1||Phillips 65', Holroyd 71' (pen)||3,391||2nd|
|11 April 2009||Kettering Town||A||2 – 1||Holroyd 14' (pen), Willmott 74'||2,340||2nd|
|11 April 2009||Salisbury City||A||2 – 1||Rendell 19', Parkinson 45'||1,031||2nd|
|11 April 2009||Altrincham||H||0 – 0||–||7,090||2nd|
|30 April 2009 Play-off semi-final first leg||Stevenage Borough||3 – 1||Cambridge United||Stevenage|
|19:45||Roberts 47', Morison 61', 85'||Report||Phillips 48'||Stadium: Broadhall Way
Referee: Rob Whitton
|4 May 2009 Play-off semi-final second leg||Cambridge United||3 – 0||Stevenage Borough||Cambridge|
|12:00||Willmott 56', Rendell 72', 119'||Report||Stadium: Abbey Stadium
Referee: Paul Tierney
|17 May 2009 Play-off final||Cambridge United||0 – 2||Torquay United||London|
|16:00||Report||Hargreaves 35', Sills 75'||Stadium: Wembley Stadium
Referee: Gary Sutton
|25 October 2008 Fourth Qualifying Round||Boston United||2 – 3||Cambridge United||Boston|
|15:00||Leabon 28', Ryan 57'||Report||Crow 8', Willmott 48', Bloomer (OG) 83'||Stadium: York Street
Referee: Richard West
|8 November 2008 First Round||Kidderminster Harriers||1 – 0||Cambridge United||Kidderminster|
|15:00||Richards (pen)17'||Report||Stadium: Aggborough
Referee: Paul Tierney
|13 December 2008 First Round||Histon||2 – 3||Cambridge United||Impington|
|15:00||Midson 5', Knight-Percival 60'||Report||Rendell 46', (pen)52', Willmott 90'||Stadium: Bridge Road
Referee: Gary Sutton
|14 January 2009 First Round||Cambridge United||0 – 5||Crawley Town||Cambridge|
|15:00||Report||Weatherstone 10', Pittman 56', 85', 88', Quinn 90'||Stadium: Abbey Stadium
Referee: Michael Naylor
|4 November 2008 Third Round||Telford United||4 – 3||Cambridge United||Telford|
|19:45||Carey-Bertram 9', Rodgers 21', Fearns 54', 72'||Report||McEvilly 15', (pen)77', 90'||Stadium: New Bucks Head
Referee: P Wright
||Promotion or relegation
|1||Burton Albion (C) (P)||46||27||7||12||81||52||+29||88||Promotion to League Two|
|2||Cambridge United||46||24||14||8||65||39||+26||86||Qualification to Conference National playoffs|
|4||Torquay United (P)||46||23||14||9||72||47||+25||83|
|11||Rushden & Diamonds||46||16||15||15||61||49||+12||63|
|18||Forest Green Rovers||46||12||16||18||70||76||−6||52|
|21||Woking (R)||46||10||14||22||37||60||−23||44||Relegation to Conference North/Conference South|
|22||Northwich Victoria (R)||46||11||10||25||56||75||−19||43|
Updated to games played on 26 April 2009.
Source: Football Conference
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored
* Mansfield deducted 4 points; Oxford deducted 5 points; Crawley Town deducted 1 point;
(C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (E) = Eliminated; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round.
Only applicable when the season is not finished:
(Q) = Qualified to the phase of tournament indicated; (TQ) = Qualified to tournament, but not yet to the particular phase indicated; (RQ) = Qualified to the relegation tournament indicated; (DQ) = Disqualified from tournament.
- Awarded on 2 June 2009.
|Internet Player of the Year||Wayne Hatswell||10||DF|
|Internet Young Player of the Year||Chris Holroyd||4||FW|
|Goal of the Season||Paul Carden (vs Oxford United)||15||MF|
- "Brabin takes the reins". Cambridge News. 23 June 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2008.
- "Quinn Leaves By Mutual Consent". cambridgeunited.com. 15 June 2008. Archived from the original on 15 September 2008. Retrieved 16 June 2008.
- "Cambridge vs Altrincham". Cambridge United. 26 April 2009. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
- Cambridge United Potted History Archived 8 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine. cambridge-united.co.uk. Retrieved 20 July 2007.
- "Cambridge United file for administration.. is this the end of the U's?". BBC Cambridgeshire. Retrieved 21 January 2008.
- "Cambridge United – A Fresh Start". www.cambridge-united.co.uk. 22 July 2005. Retrieved 21 January 2008.
- "Cambridge United Clear Last Hurdle". www.cambridge-united.co.uk. 18 July 2005. Retrieved 21 January 2008.
- "Abbey sale keeps Cambridge afloat". BBC. 1 December 2004. Retrieved 8 June 2007.
- Historical Kits – Cambridge United
- "CUFC Launch Play-off Final Shirt". Cambridge United. 7 May 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
- "Mansfield hit by points deduction". BBC Sport. 6 October 2008. Archived from the original on 7 October 2008. Retrieved 6 October 2008.
- "Five-point deduction for Oxford". BBC Sport. 12 January 2009. Archived from the original on 14 January 2009. Retrieved 12 January 2009.
- "Crawley win FA appeal over points". BBC Sport. 27 February 2009. Archived from the original on 4 March 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2009.
- "Player of the Season Awards". Cambridge United F.C. 2 June 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2010.