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🔎 The Opposition: Cambridge United (H)

An in-depth look at Saturday's opponents

8 January 2020

It’s a return to League football on Saturday, as Exeter City face Cambridge United at St James Park, looking to make it nine games unbeaten in Sky Bet League Two.

Here’s all that you will need to know about Saturday’s opponents…

  • Founded: 1912
  • Nickname: The U’s
  • Honours: Football League One champions: 1990/92. Football League Two champions: 1976/77. FA Trophy: 2013/14

Cambridge spent their formative years outside the Football League and it was not until 1970 that the club finally emerged from dark into the fourth tier of English football.

That fateful year of promotion earmarked a fruitful and sustained period in the Football League, consolidating their position for the preceding thirty-five seasons before relegation in 2005.

In that time period the U’s won the Third Division in 1990/91 and then went so close to promotion to the Premier League, before coming up short in the play-off semi-finals.

The late 80’s and early 90’s were the most exciting times in the club’s history as they reached back-to-back FA Cup quarter-finals in 1989/90 and 1990/91, as well as the quarter-finals of the League Cup in 1992/93.

Cambridge bounced back from a nine year hiatus in the Conference in 2014 and have since retained their position in League Two.

The Manager

Scotland born Calderwood had an admirable playing career, where he made an eye watering 631 appearances between 1982 and 2001. He started his career at Mansfield Town, where he made 100 appearances, scoring a singular goal. He then moved to Swindon in 1985, where he made the bulk of his career appearances. Between the years of 1985 and 1993, defender Calderwood made 330 appearances, scoring an impressive 20 goals in the time. His lengthy time at Swindon came to an end however, as he joined Tottenham Hotspur in 1993, where he made 162 appearances between 1993 and 1999. Alongside spells at Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest, Calderwood’s final club would be Notts County, who he joined on loan in 2001, only making five appearances.

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He started his managerial career at Northampton Town, who he managed for three years between 2003 and 2006. In that time, he guided The Cobbles to League One, following a second placed finish in 2006. After leaving Northampton, he joined Nottingham Forest, where he managed to achieve yet another promotion, this time to the Championship. After being sacked in late 2008, he began to become more of an assistant manager, as five of his last six jobs before Cambridge were assistant manager jobs. He did have a brief stint at Scottish side Hibernian, but that only lasted one year.

He joined current club Cambridge United in 2018 from Aston Villa, where he was the assistant manager to Steve Bruce. Since Calderwood’s arrival, the most notable event would be the knocking out Championship side Brentford in the League Cup, where they managed to win on penalties 5-4 following a 1-1 draw in normal time.

The Ground

  • Name: Abbey Stadium
  • Capacity: 8,127
  • Year opened: 1932
  • Address: Cambridge United, The Abbey Stadium, Newmarket Road, Cambridge, CB5 8LN

The Abbey Stadium was built in 1923, following demand for a new stadium as then Abbey United couldn’t fit enough fans in their old stadium, Parker’s Piece. The land for the Abbey Stadium was purchased in 1931 by then Club President Henry Francis, who kindly donated the land to the club following their desperation to move to a bigger stadium. After decades of intense development, the final stand in the stadium was constructed in 1954, where the west stand was constructed.

Remarkably, the record attendance stands at 14,000 which is just under 6000 over capacity. This was due to the installation of new floodlights, meaning the U’s were in a position to host night games for the first time.

One to Watch

Sam Smith (8 Goals and 2 Assists)

Youngster Sam Smith started his career at Manchester United, before joining Reading in 2014. Since joining Reading, Smith has spent his almost all of his time out on loan, at clubs such as Bishops Stortford, Oxford United and Shrewsbury Town. Despite making over 30 appearances in these loan spells, he only managed to score two goals in the process, which were both for Bishops Stortford in 2016.

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In August 2019, Smith joined Cambridge on a season long loan following spells in League One the previous two seasons. So far, the 2019-20 season has been his most prolific yet, with Smith scoring 8 goals so far this season, alongside a respectable two assists for the striker. With Cambridge sitting in mid-table, The U’s will be hoping that Smith’s fairly prolific season will continue in order to help Cambridge make a late charge for the play-offs.

Season so Far 

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Recent Meetings

Exeter City 1 Cambridge United 0 | November 19 - Emirates FA Cup R1 Replay

The Grecians qualified for the next round of the FA Cup following a goal from Alex Fisher in the second half.

Cambridge United 1 Exeter City 1 | November 9 - Emirates FA Cup R1

A last-minute goal from Sam Smith denied Exeter a victory at The Abbey in the first round of the FA Cup away at Cambridge United on November 9.

Cambridge United 4 Exeter City 0 | October 19 - EFL Sky Bet League Two

Exeter City fell to a heavy defeat away at Cambridge United as they were beaten by four goals to nil at the Abbey Stadium.

Head to Head

  • Exeter City wins: 17
  • Draws: 12
  • Cambridge United wins: 28

Ticket News

Tickets are on sale at advance prices until 5pm in person and midnight online, on Friday, January 10 so you can save time and money, and pick your seat in advance. Click here to book online.

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