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From the Vaults: John Beck and Cambridge United

In 1992, unfashionable Cambridge United almost became founding members of The Premier League.

This can be attributed to the unorthodox methods of one of football’s most controversial figures at the time – a man named John Beck. A staunch believer in long-ball tactics, the Cambridge boss was dubbed “Dracula” by the press, i.e. “he sucked the blood out of football.”

As ugly as it was, it worked. Beck transformed Cambridge from a mid-table 4th division side to one challenging for promotion to the newly formed Premier League in just 3 years, reaching the FA Cup quarter-finals twice along the way.

The club’s Abbey Stadium became the stuff of nightmares for visiting teams and Beck’s off-field antics have gone down in history as some of the most infamous mind-games in the sport’s history. It certainly helped their home form but the team didn’t fare as well on the road.

Beck, coupled with the firepower of a young Dion Dublin made Cambridge one of the emergent sides of the early 90s but their fall from grace was just as rapid…

 


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