D3D4 asked Cambridge United fans to submit their top 10 players of all time and after tallying up the results here are the 10 that were chosen.
10.Liam Daish – Daish will be a name very familiar to those who grew up watching football in the 1990’s as he was a key player at Coventry City but it was at Cambridge where he made his name. After failing to break into the Portsmouth side he was released and joined Cambridge United in 1988. He was a key defender in the side that won promotion from the fourth division to the second and was given his first international call up by the Republic of Ireland during his time at the Abbey. He was part of the side that so nearly made it to the first division (inaugural Premier League) in 1992 but defeat to Leicester City in the play-off semi-finals ended that dream
He was sold to Birmingham for a mere £50,000 in 1994 and was sold two years later to Coventry City for £1.5m
Fry once said of Daish:
“If a squadron of F-111s were attacking the Birmingham penalty area he would try and head them away.”
Daish has since had an excellent managerial career with non-league Ebbsfleet United to whom he showed immense loyalty.
9.Steve Claridge – Never have I witness such a scruffy git take to the football field but in Steve Claridge Cambridge United found one of their greats. He was signed by the U’s from Aldershot for just £75,000 in 1990 and quickly became a fan favourite. His relationship with Beck was a difficult one as Claridge did not enjoy playing in the long-ball style that was Beck’s signature and Beck did not approve of the striker’s gambling problems.
After 31 goals in 91 appearances he was sold to Luton for £160,000 following the play-off loss to Leicester. His time with Luton did not work out and with Beck gone he returned to the Abbey for a second spell signing for a club record £195,000.
His second spell proved just as successful for Claridge at least and his 21 goals in 64 appearances attracted the attention of Barry Fry. He signed the striker for Birmingham in 1994 in a deal worth £350,000 and is also a cult hero at Portsmouth who he joined in 1998. He is currently the manager of Salisbury FC and even made an appearance for them at the age of 51
8.John Taylor – Taylor was one of the players that made his name under the John Beck era. He netted more than 40 times in160 appearances during his first spell but was shockingly sold to Bristol Rovers during the season that the U’s finished 6th in the then second division.
The move saw United pay £90,000 and Taylor in exchange for Devon White. The move was one of the worst in the club’s history as White was ineffective and Dion Dublin lost his strike partnership that had been so successful.
Taylor would return in 1997 with the U’s now under the stewardship of Roy McFarland and he scored another 40 goals in a further 172 appearances helping players like Martin Butler and Trevor Benjamin with his experience. He is the top league goal scorer in the clubs history with 84.
He became manager of the club in 2002 but his time as manager was not successful and he was sacked in 2004.
7.Steve Fallon – Fallon was a local lad who joined the U’s in 1974 when he was just 18 years old.
Over the next 12 years he would make over 400 appearances for the club to become one of the best remembered players in Cambridge United history.
He was forced to retire in 1986 due to a knee injury but went on to spend the next nine years as manager of Cambridge City as well as having spells in charge of Histon.
6.Alan Biley – A player of some talent, Alan was born in Leighton Buzzard and was with Luton Town in his youth career.
He joined Cambridge in 1975 and went on to score an amazing 85 goals in just 180 appearances in all competitions for the U’s.
He went on to play for Derby, Everton and Portsmouth where he scored 50 times.
5.Lee Philpott – Lee Philpott was a talented midfielder who started out with Peterborough United. He joined Cambridge in 1989 and was a key player in the success that saw the club promoted to the second division and, even more amazingly, reach two FA Cup quarter finals. In his time with the U’s he made 178 appearances and netted 23 times.
He was sold to Leicester City in 1992 for £350,000 going on to make 93 appearances for the club. He also played for Blackpool, Lincoln City and Hull. Following the end of his playing career he had a spell as Assistant Manager at Harrogate Town and now runs LPM Football Agents.
4.Paul Wanless – Paul was a player popular at a number of clubs including Oxford United, Forest Green Rovers and Cambridge United. During his time at the Abbey Stadium he made 350 appearances in all competitions during a seven year spell, scoring more than 50 times.
Wanless was also the club captain and returned to Oxford United to make another 60 appearances before dropping into the non-league with Forest Green, helping them avoid relegation.
3.Alan Kimble – In 1986 Alan Kimble joined Cambridge United on a free transfer. This was possibly one of the best moves the club have made in their history.
He was an excellent penalty taker and in his 299 appearances with the U’s he scored 23 times.
Kimble was part of the U’s side that made a rapid rise through the divisions in the early 1990s but left after the club was relegated in 1993.
He joined Wimbledon for a £175,000 and would stay with the “crazy gang” for nine years playing at the top level.
2.Steve Spriggs – Steve holds the record for the all time leading league appearance maker for Cambridge United with 416 between 1975-87.
He was born in Doncaster and started his career at Huddersfield Town, making only four appearances for the first team.
He moved to Cambridge in 1975 and was part of several successful sides over the next 12 years. Spriggs was a midfielder and was part of the successful teams of the 70s that got promoted in 1977 and then again in 1978.
1.Dion Dublin – All round nice guys Dion Dublin made his name in English football at Cambridge United following his release from Norwich City. The U’s signed Dion as a centre back which is where he had played at youth level for the Canaries but his potential as a striker was soon spotted by the U’s coaches.
He joined them in 1988 and his ability to find the net helped them to two historic promotions in 1990 to Division Three and then to Division Two in 1991. They almost made it all the way to the Premier League but lost in play-offs.
He left the club a short time later, signing for Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United for £1 million. He went on to have a very successful career at Coventry, Aston Villa and finished his career where he started back at Norwich City. Dublin also played four times for England and has been voted the best ever player to have donned a Cambridge United shirt.
He is now a pundit for the BBC and a presenter for some dodgy real estate programme on BBC 1.