Well, Manchester United might be the best soccer team in England, and DC United back where we lived in the U.S. has won the MSL championship several times, but I have a new team to cheer for now: Cambridge United, the Yellow and Black! Last weekend, as part of the "perfect Cambridge weekend" we have yet to blog about, we on the spur of the moment decided to hop the bus to the local soccer stadium. We planned to pay 15 pounds each (about $30 each) but some guys had free tickets they sold us for 5 pounds each. Voila, we were in.
Now good old CU isn't the best team in the land. In its glory years it made it to the 2nd division of English soccer twice. English football puts the top 70 plus or so teams in 3 tiers with the top one, the Premier league, being the like our NFL or MLB--the big money-makers. But Cambridge United has fallen on hard days. The bottom 4 teams in a division get "relegated" s(ent down one division )and CU had been kicked down into a smaller league called the Nationwide conference. And they're in danger of falling even more as they battle to not be among the bottom four this year.
So we had few expectations. Then, lighting struck--CU scored in the first 5 minutes, then scored again, and again, and again. By the time it was over it was 7-0, the largest win in their history--and against a team way above them in the standings. The old stadium, which holds between 7000-9000, was rocking. The announcer got a great roar when he announced that the man of the match was: the whole team!
It was a great, sunny day and we quickly became United fans--and not just because of their legendary bacon rolls (below), which as one might expect is a lot of bacon on a roll!
When we got home around noon from Germany yesterday, we quickly decided to try to catch the day's game against the leagues top team. CU was still in danger of being relegated since the teams below them had extra games to play, but an American investor had made news by deciding to sink money into the team so people were more hopeful about the team's future. That didn't last long. The dreaded Dagenham & Redbridge Daggers quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead and the crowd sat stunned--except for the visiting teams fans jumping, chanting and playing drums in the corner of the stadium where police watched them carefully. Still, CU had been playing well and the Daggers had just scored on their only 2 shots. Slowly the tide turned. CU goal! The visiting fans still chanted. CU gooooooaaalll! Tie game. CU gooooooaaaaalll and the stadium went wild as the home team jumped in from right before halftime. The Daggers fans were quiet finally. Then United kept up the pressure in the second half and scored yet another goal for a final tally of 4-2. The chant of "Yel-low, Yel-low" had finally drowned out the Daggers' fans. Now we're debating whether to take a road trip to Exeter to see the team's away game next Saturday!