Abbey Stadium was built in 1923 and is now the home of Cambridge United who are playing their football in League Two. The ground is located two miles north-east of the centre of Cambridge, along Newmarket Road, and is easily accessible to the fans by both private and public transport.
The current capacity of the stadium is 9,617 but with only 4,376 seated and the rest designed for standing room. Also, the stands are not entirely covered, leaving a part of both the standing and seating room exposed to the weather conditions. The pitch size is 100m x 68m with no running track nor undersoil heating but with a grass surface.
So far, the largest attendance ever recorded was 14,000 spectators in a friendly against Chelsea on 1 May 1970.
Even though the stadium was built in 1923, Cambridge United, or Abbey United as they were called back then, didn’t play there until 1932, almost a decade later. Until then, their home was at Parker’s Piece, which held special significance in the history of football since that’s the first place where the Cambridge Rules were played out, forming the foundations for the modern game.
In 1931, however, after realising the lack of spectator capacity and disruption caused during games would greatly impact their stay, they moved to a land that was bought for them by the club’s president, Henry Francis. A grandstand and changing rooms were then erected and eventually, the first match at the Abbey Stadium – which would get that official name only in 1961 – was played on 31 August 1932 against Cambridge University Press.
Of course, over the years, the stadium would get multiple refreshments, upgrades and improvements, most notably the opening of the grandstand in 1934, a roof to cover one part of the stands, increased capacity and, most recently, the addition of the new all-seated stand on the south side that replaced the old terrace.
Unfortunately, the Abbey Stadium has seen little to no improvement in the modern times due to Cambridge United’s difficult financial situation, which is also a part of the reason why their ground is not an all-seater, as was a requirement ever since the changes in legislation that followed the Hillsborough disaster. Of course, the fact that they are not plying their trade in the two highest leagues in England is the other part of the reason.
Following the rough financial situation, the Abbey Stadium land was then sold to then-director John Howard’s company Bideawhile 445 Ltd. in December 2004. Since then, there has been some movement on resolving the situation as the club confirmed they have reached an agreement to buy it back in 2006 as well as Howard announcing his plans to move the club to Milton, but so far, that has not happened just yet.
Later, in April 2008, they also sold the naming rights of the stadium and in June 2009 the Abbey Stadium was no more, with the R Costings Abbey Stadium taking its place in an attempt to boost the club’s finances.
Despite the fans trying to collect money to buy the stadium back from Bideawhile 445 Ltd in 2010, they were unsuccessful and the ground was sold to Grosvenor Estates for £3.5m. Now, there are plans for a new and improved stadium already in place that should be located on land close to Marshall Aerospace with a capacity of 12,000.
All the tickets to watch Cambridge United at Abbey Stadium can be found on the club’s official website and the price range varies between £16 and £20 for adults, depending on the stand you choose and of course, the age group of the buyer.
If the tickets are bought on the day of the game, the price will usually go up a bit. Also, even though it’s currently not possible to buy new ones, season tickets are usually available to purchase on their website as well.
https://www.cambridge-united.co.uk/ – Official website of Cambridge United
https://www.cambridge-united.co.uk/tickets/ – Cambridge United Ticket Office