An edited version of this article appeared in the Cambridge United matchday programme for the game against Mansfield on 19 December 2015.
It’s amazing what you find when you’re not really looking. A routine trawl by Coconuts volunteers through some of the Abbey’s gloomier hidey-holes three years ago uncovered this rather battered and unburnished trophy.
We were puzzled at first, but as the Coconuts elves set to work with the Goddard’s Long Term Silver Polish (it’s got hallmarks and everything), we were delighted to discover it played a small but important role in the history of Cambridge United.
Behold the National Playing Fields Association Challenge Cup in all its dented glory. If you could read the inscription you would see it was presented by Lt Col JCW Francis MBE.
Ring any bells? John Clement Wolstan Francis, who died in 1978, was a nephew of the Henry Clement Francis who in 1931 gave Abbey United the land that would become the Abbey Stadium, and a cousin of Walter Maclaren Francis, one of the club’s first directors when a limited company was formed in 1950.
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