The Abbey Angle
IT HAS been a busy close season at Cambridge United, with promising developments both on and off the pitch. Manager Rob Newman has managed to keep the core of the team that finished last season in impressive form, with most first-team regulars extending
IT HAS been a busy close season at Cambridge United, with promising developments both on and off the pitch.
Manager Rob Newman has managed to keep the core of the team that finished last season in impressive form, with most first-team regulars extending their contracts for the coming season.
He has also signed several players, notably Matt Bloomer, who had an impressive loan spell in the U's defence last season.
The new-look United have gelled well in pre-season, beating Cambridge City, Bury Town, Leyton and Histon, and performing well in their big home friendlies against Norwich, West Ham and Ipswich.
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With the defence and midfield looking solid, if the probable starting strike-force of Robbie Simpson and Danny Carey-Bertram can get the goals, then surely at the least a play-off place is a realistic target this season.
Off the pitch, controversial director John Howard has resigned from the board.
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Howard recently rejected an offer to purchase his 50 per cent interest in Bideawhile, the company who bought the Abbey two seasons ago, by director Paul Barry.
As a result, the board asked Howard to resign because of his conflict of interests.
In his place come two new directors: major shareholder Dr Johnny Hon has rejoined the board and been appointed vice-chairman, and Philip Law, a 44-year-old lifelong U's fan and secretary of the Cambridge Centre of The Chartered Institute of Building, will be in charge of stadium management and infrastructure development.
Following the resignation of Terry Baker two months ago, a new chairman has been appointed - former Norwich City striker Lee Power, who played alongside Rob Newman in a career cut short by injury, before forging a successful career in sports publishing.
Power believes he will bring to the club an in-depth knowledge of the game and business of football, and says he is relishing the challenge ahead.
Finally, there was good news on the financial front this week, as director and major shareholder Paul Barry revealed he and Hon would be injecting fresh capital into the club.
He said: "We have put together a budget that will allow the club to break even in 2006-07, even with the £200,000 annual rent."
The U's kick off the season with a home game against newly-promoted Northwich Victoria on Saturday before travelling to another promoted side, St Albans on Tuesday.
- Cambridge United Away Travel Club are running to St Albans, departing the Abbey at 5.15pm.
Adult members seats cost £8, non-members £10 and children £5. Seats can be booked by phoning 01223 729206 or 07749 829883