12 March 2014

Cambridge away: All because of him

Down an alley along a country path to a cow shed terrace on the way out of Cambridge. For 89 minutes, the brooding frustrations of old: then suddenly pandemonium.

Photo by @jenn_ifer_jenn

With nearby pubs bolted shut like a seaside town preparing for a tsunami, the away areas of Cambridge’s Abbey Stadium were strangely full a good 10 minutes before kick-off. Surely a Luton record.

The U’s mascot, a grown man sporting the over-sized head of what looked like a cartoon dog that had lost a fight, lifted his shirt to reveal a “Why always me?” T-shirt and waved-on the traditional volley of abuse. Fitting perhaps.

Fitting because the air of Cambridge-as-victim would hang heavy atop the corrugated iron and scaffold of the Abbey tonight; victims of our superior financial clout and fan base. Victims of the success of the team “down the road”. Or so we thought.

Because without threatening Tyler too much, the team in Amber looked unnervingly confident on the ball and largely got the better of our young upstarts in the middle of the park. The Guttridge shaped hole glared almost as brightly from the pitch as if his shiny dome had been on there.

The ease by which we’ve brushed teams aside in recent months means we’re less used to an even contest, and so the sense that we were being given more than a run for our money was exaggerated perhaps. Speaking of Money, with deep banks of four swelled by the imposing Elliot, the manager’s tactics were sound and the team’s resolve strong. For 89 minutes...

At one nil down a hint of mild panic crept across the Cambridgeshire night. Though this may not have been “a mustn’t lose” game in the mathematical sense, for the massed ranks of Hatters who had braved the queues and the engaged tones to get a ticket, losing to this lot would more than stick in the craw. But we don’t panic on the terraces anymore, because we’ve got a not-so-secret weapon.

Standing just in front of his dugout across the pitch, a man dressed all in black, like an effortlessly wily old Milk Tray Man too enraptured with passion for his work to ever retire, took it all in. Off went Howells, who had been flying in the last month. Then Pelly, Still’s big signing from his bit-on-the-side West Ham. Next he took off the league’s top scorer, Gray, at a time when the desperation for a goal had left those of us in the Habbin Stand hoarse just 50 or 60 yards away.

The sound of the lonely virgin drumming from the home end began to throb quietly like a vein in 2,200-odd Lutonian foreheads as cross after cross was cleared by Cambridge’s lean and lanky back four; the referee playfully adding to the tension with hilarious decision after mindboggling call.

Then suddenly, unbelievably... relief.

From the jaws of defeat the persistent crossing of Henry finally found a proud Luton forehead, and on the stroke of 90 McGeehan nodded down for Cullen who spun like a rabid David Platt-a-like to volley it home. Two thousand journeys home rescued.

The finest sight and sound in football followed: the singing and pogo-ing continued to the final whistle and long into the night. I kissed a man, maybe two.

In the away end, as the weekly lap of honour approached, all eyes were fixed on Luton Town’s John Still. Because as our heart rates recovered and the distant drummer retired, we were certain that it was all because of him.

17 comments:

  1. were going up as champions , fuck the fa were on our way back , john still barmy army we hate Watford , come on luton , were going up as fucking champions, luton till I die

    ReplyDelete
  2. 30 points who give a fuck were luton town and were going up , you can stick your 30 points up your fa, fuck the fa were on our way back

    ReplyDelete
  3. buy your tickets for the last home league game of the season to forest green on easter monday, Monday 21st april kick off 3pm asap , Kenilworth road will be a sell out over 10,000 luton fans will be watching the champions lift the league at Kenilworth road, I cant wait for luton to win the league , I cant wait for the pitch invasion at Kenilworth road , come on luton , were going up as champions, luton till I die , coyh

    ReplyDelete
  4. come on luton were going to win the league , I think luton will possibly win league 2 next season aswell , I cant wait to see luton hopefully playing in the championship or premiership , were going to win the league , I cant wait for luton to win the league , I cant wait for the pitch invasion and party in luton , come on town we going to win the league , come on luton , coyh

    ReplyDelete
  5. john still barmy army , were going up as champions , we are going to win the league , what a mental away day Cambridge was , and when mark Cullen goal went in over 2,300 luton fans went mental , I think luton will win league 2 next season and then get promotion from league one , I think luton will play in the championship again and one day play in the premiership , come on luton coyh , john still barmy army we hate Watford , luton till I die , were on our way back fa

    ReplyDelete
  6. great away day , luton fans went mental when luton goal went in , had a great time at Cambridge , good time in the pubs in Cambridge and on the train there and back from Cambridge with luton fans , the police in Cambridge was idiots they treated us luton fans like we were scum , no need for riot police , police dogs and police horses outside the pub , the police were rude to luton fans

    ReplyDelete
  7. Brings a tear to my eye.What a fantastic telling of a night that will go down in the annals of Hatters history.
    And we had a great curry beforehand (Papisha outside the ground) cos they shut all the pubs.Happy Days!

    ReplyDelete
  8. get ur riot gear luton town are here

    ReplyDelete
  9. come on luton we are going up as champions

    ReplyDelete
  10. Have a nice lie down, eh mate.

    ReplyDelete
  11. the ref was rubbish he gave Cambridge everything last night he didn't know how to ref he was proper rubbish

    ReplyDelete
  12. Nice write up but what a wierdo that anonymous is

    ReplyDelete
  13. this is hilarious! what a freak

    ReplyDelete
  14. what a goal Cullen scored , I cant wait for luton to win the league , come on luton were going up as champions

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great article once again Kevin, couldn't get a ticket but was jumping around the living room with the missus when we scored. I know one day our unbeaten streak will end but I couldn't beat it ending to Cambridge !!
    COYH

    ReplyDelete
  16. Has an away goal ever been as loudly and rapturously received as that? The roar could be heard echoing for miles across the Fens. Even the ex-Liverpool star Richard Money (his new autobiography was published on Pages 6 & 7 of the programme) mentioned our "reaction" in his post-match interview....

    ReplyDelete