Who Are Ya? - Cambridge United
Thanks to Adam... Who do you support?
Cambridge United How long have you supported them?
First game was December 1990 when I was six so I make that 23+ years. 23 years of ups and downs, more downs than ups! Last season's league finish?
An underwhelming 14th - had to look that one up as it seems like a long time ago now! How has your season gone in comparison to your pre-season expectations/hopes?
I think our aim was to get into the play-offs but we were hoping to sneak in and there was an expectation that we could miss out. We were hopeful but the feeling was that next season was going to be the one when we went for the title. To have run Luton close up to the end of February or so is a massive surprise, though there is a bit of a disappointment that we were unable to put a decent fight up in the last couple of months. Richard Money is regarded as a good manager at this level, but comes across as someone who gets awfully defensive when he gets questioned? How's he been this season?
It's been quite amusing actually, some of his interviews have been cringe worthy especially with the Radio Cambridgeshire commentator Mark Johnson in the early part of the season. MJ would ask questions which were a little loaded which were met with massive short shrift from Money. MJ has now learnt to ask more open-ended questions so as to not seem to be negative towards the side.
I think Money is just very protective of the players and thinks people can be overly critical without appreciating that there is good work going on and that sometimes it's not always plain sailing.
You also learn that Money tends to direct comments in interviews at various quarters, like players, the fans, opposition managers, players and fans etc. So if he comes across as a grumpy sod, it's often not aimed at the interviewer specifically! Is there an element of 'what if' given that you had a bit of a mini slump around January/February time?
Definitely. We've been in this league for nine years now and the first half of the season was a sort of dreamland that we haven't experienced for a long time as Cambridge fans, probably since 1999 when we were last promoted under Roy McFarland. We lost two major players who returned after their loan spells (Chris Maxwell and Kweis Appiah) and we struggled to replace them, to be honest we still haven't. On top of that, we had some heavy injuries to our forward line which meant we drew far too many games to keep in touch with a Luton side who were just rampant in January and February.
Good luck to Luton though. John Still has done a good job there to control the rather raucous fans. They're a very big club at this level and frankly we couldn't compete with their resources this season. So to answer your question, there is a sense of 'what if' but I think we can be proud of what we've achieved this season. Luton are now up as Champions with yourselves in the Play-offs. Who do you think will fill the other 3 spaces and do you have a preference of who you'd want to face?
It looks like Halifax and Gateshead have hit form at the right time and Grimsby seem too good to blow it at this late stage so you'd imagine it would be those three. Braintree have been a massive surprise to me and I guess they might make it but I get the sense that they are on the verge of falling away. They need a good pair of games this weekend to upset the other three really. If you fail to go up, how likely is it that you'd be able to keep hold of your better players like Luke Berry?
Financially we're reasonably stable so I'd like to think the squad will be held together and improved upon as opposed to us resorting to a fire sale to balance the books as in the past! Berry signed a new two year contract last month so we're hopeful that he will be with us next season but realistically we think he will be off if we don't get promoted.
Aside from Berry, there aren't many players who have attracted attention from scouts at teams from higher leagues. Harrison Dunk was being watched but his injuries have really harmed his chances of a move. I'm not sure who else is appealing to higher clubs, Josh Coulson and Luke Chadwick maybe but they're both home town boys so you get a sense they'd like to stay with us. One player who will no doubt get a decent welcome at Sincil Bank is DSY who had a productive loan spell here. How has he done since he got recalled and where does he stand at Cambridge? Do you envisage Money offering him a new deal (I think he has a year option?)?
I'm not sure what other U's fans think but I have a feeling his contract might not be renewed. He's obviously a real handful up front but he has been frustratingly inconsistent for us and Money will probably think there are better options out there.
That said, he did really step up when our striking injury crisis was hitting us and he did work his socks off for the side. He's obviously a good guy and a good team player, it would certainly not be his attitude or work ethic which would result in him leaving. Did Mitch Austin get much of a look in on his return?
No he didn't. I'm not entirely sure why Money brought him back to be honest, apart from to try to bring some fresh faces into the training ground. I can't say he overly impressed me. Don't get me wrong, he's far from the worst player we've had down here but we've got other players in those roles who have been far more deserving of first team spots.
We seem to like taking players off you. Russell, Platt, Garner, Austin, DSY and had Clare training with us, too. Who's likely to keep this trend going next season?!
I hope we send you no one! Russell, Platt and Clare were players who had been with us a while but fell out of favour whereas the other three were originally sent Lincoln's way to get some game time while we had a full squad.
I imagine Lincoln would be happier not to grab anyone from us either to be honest. You're in a rebuilding phase and a decent run at promotion isn't really achieved by loaning players for one or two months from Conference rivals. With Hyde and Tamworth relegated, who else do you think will join them?
I have to confess that I haven't been concentrating on the bottom of the table much this season so I wasn't familiar with who was in the mix!
Out of the sides in 18th to 22nd, Dartford have been the most impressive in the games we've had this season and I'm really surprised they're down there. Southport also seem to be far enough clear to avoid it. So sadly it looks like it may be one of the two ex-league clubs and the reincarnation of another. Hereford seem to be in a real mess off the pitch and Aldershot don't seem to be much better and I'd fear for either if they went down. Did you attend the reverse fixture earlier in the season? If so, what were your views on the game?
I didn't go actually as I was away for the weekend. I heard it was a very even contest and we were a little bit fortunate to come away with the win as it could easily have gone either way. Thoughts on Lincoln City?
This season has obviously been a bit disappointing for Lincoln but it happens like that sometimes. As an ex-league club, the infrastructure is clearly there for you to put together a decent season and get in the mix again, especially with a heavy weight like Luton gone. I'd say patience is key. I think you may surprise a few people next season.