Abbey Stadium: Cambridge United

Newmarket Road, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, CB5 8LN
By Liamtaylor007 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Abbey Stadium is a bit of an odd case as far as football grounds go, seeing as it was built in 1923 but didn’t actually see any football played on it until Cambridge United moved in in 1932. It wasn’t a fully formed stadium in 1923, of course, needing development to make it into a satisfactory home ground for The U’s when they arrived in the early days of the 1930s.

The first football match the the Abbey ever witnessed was a friendly between Cambridge United and a team from the Cambridge University Press. One of the most famous university cities in the world, the Cambridge Rules were first played by the team at their former ground, Parker’s Piece.

Stats

Abbey Stadium Stats
Year Opened1932
Capacity8,127
Average Attendance4,737
Record Attendance14,000 (Cambridge Utd v Chelsea (1970))
Pitch Size100 x 67 (6700)
NicknameThe Abbey
Former NameR. Costings Abbey Stadium
OwnerGrosvenor Estates
Clubs HostedCambridge United, Cambridge Regional College
First FixtureCambridge United v Cambridge University Press (31/08/1932)
Cambridge United Stats
Year Founded1912
NicknameUnited, The U's
Club MascotMarvin the Moose
RivalsCambridge City, Peterborough United, Histon, Northampton Town, Luton Town
Previous StadiumsMidsummer Common, Stourbridge Common, Newmarket Road, Parker's Piece
KitYellow & Black Stripes (Home) / Black & Yellow (Away)
Training GroundClare College Sportsground
Shirt SponsorMick George
Team OwnerPaul Barry
Record GoalscorerJohn Taylor (86)
Record AppearancesSteve Spriggs (416)

Abbey Stadium Photos

Abbey Stadium Seating Plan & Where to Sit

The Main Stand is a single-tier section of seating that runs along the length of the pitch and contains the family area and the dugouts. The North Terrace is, as the name suggests, is a terraced section of the ground that is known to fans as The Newmarket Road End. The Habbin Stand is also terraced, being a single-tier section of the stadium that occasionally hosts the away fans. Finally, The Marston's Smooth Stand is the newest part of the stadium and is also often used for away supporters, though more commonly it’s where the home fans go.

Cambridge United Ticket Prices

Cambridge United don’t categorise their matches, so the only things that will make a difference to the price you pay are your age and where you want to sit in the ground. Adults will pay from £16 for terrace seats to £22 for a spot in The Community Stand. Concession prices range from £12 to £22, whilst Juniors will pay £8 in the terrace and £10 for The Community Stand, though they aren’t allowed in the posh bit.

How To Get Cambridge United Tickets

You can buy your tickets to see United play by dropping into the ticket office in person, going online or calling them over the phone.

Where to Buy

Getting To Abbey Stadium

Cambridge is famous all over the world and for that reason getting to the city itself is reasonably easy. Here are the usual routes for travel you’ll want to use:

Train - Cambridge Railway Station is less than an hour from London King’s Cross and about an hour and a half from London Liverpool Street. You’ll than have a thirty minute walk to get to the ground.

Bus - The Citibus C3 runs from the train station to the ground regularly.

Car - From the South take the M11 to Junction 14 then get on the A14. Leave that at the fourth Junction, get onto the A1303 and head towards Cambridge. From there follow the signs. If you’re coming from the North follow the A14 then the instructions above.

By Air - Cambridge International Airport is, somewhat unsurprisingly, the closest airport to the city of Cambridge.

Taxi - £10 is a rough price to expect to pay for a taxi from Cambridge Train Station to Abbey Stadium. It will take just under fifteen minutes, traffic dependent.

Parking Near Abbey Stadium

There’s no parking at the ground itself, but on-street parking is available. Just be sure to keep an eye out for parking restrictions.

Useful Resources

Abbey Stadium Hotels

Cambridge is, as we’ve already said, one of the most famous university cities in the world. It’s used to having to put up both parents dropping off their uni going children and tourists who just want to have a look around. Here are some decent hotel options for you:

Longreach House - £65+

41 Longreach Road, Cambridge, CB4 1UQ
Not far from Jesus College and about eleven minutes from Abbey Stadium is this small property with a bar, an indoor tennis court and a garden. There’s free Wi-Fi in the reception area and free parking. More details.

Arbury Lodge Guest House - £70+

82 Arbury Road, Cambridge, CB4 2JE
This upscale guest house is around twenty minutes from the ground and has just five guest rooms. You’ll get a free a breakfast, free Wi-Fi and free parking. So free stuff, basically. As long as you ignore the fact you’ve paid money. More details.

Tudor Cottage - £80+

292 Histon Road, Cambridge, CB4 3HS
Half an hour walk from the stadium is another upscale B&B that also offers a free full English breakfast, free parking and free Wi-Fi. There are proper chain hotels in Cambridge, of course, but it’s a city with personality so your hotel should have some too. More details.

Pubs & Bars Near Abbey Stadium

Given it’s a university city, it’s obviously fair to say that you’ll be able to find a bar or two to have a drink in before the game. Here are some of our favourites:

Supporters Club

Abbey Stadium, Newmarket Road, Cambridge, CB5 8LN (01223 241 771)
This is a supporters’ club, but you can join it at any time and it’s a family friendly place. There’s live music on a match day, darts and pool to play and TVs for live sport.

The Wrestlers Pub

Newmarket Road, Cambridge, CB5 8JE (01223 566 554)
Despite the misleading name, you don’t actually have to be a wrestler to go here. Anyone’s welcome, though it’s more of an upscale bar than a sports pub - but you can get Thai food there, so that's a plus.

The Regal

38-39 St. Andrew’s Street, Cambridge, CB2 3AR (01223 366 459)
Not far from the centre of the city is this JD Wetherspoon pub. It’s got all of the sort of things you’d expect from that particular chain of pubs, including cheap food and a decent drinks selection for not much money.

Facilities

The Marston's Smooth Stand in particular has good facilities, but you’re not really going to be found wanting wherever you go.

Prices

  • Programme: 3.00
  • Pie: 3.00
  • Cup of tea: 1.50

Hospitality

Main Stand - By The original uploader was CU4ever at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

There are two main match day experiences on offer at Abbey Stadium, with the Executive Hospitality in the 8Build Lounge offering the more sophisticated choice. There you’ll get a three-course meal and visits from members of the first team plus a Q & A with the CEO; but if that’s a bit too stuffy for you then you might want to consider the more lively Premier Travel Hospitality Suite, which offers food, pre-match entertainment and a match day host, and half-time refreshments.

Private Hire

The hospitality suites at the ground have been refurbished recently, specifically with the aim of enticing businesses to use it as a conferencing centre. With room to host up to 100 delegates and top-class facilities, it’s a place to consider using if you’re hosting an event in Cambridge.

Stadium Tours & Museum

At the time of writing there is no museum at Abbey Road and the club doesn’t host tours either, so you will jut have to imagine what the boardroom looks like.

About Cambridge United

By The original uploader was Lobby at Italian Wikipedia (Transferred from it.wikipedia to Commons.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Formed as Abbey United in 1912 (do you see where the Abbey part of their home ground comes from now?), the team changed its name to Cambridge United in 1951. The club didn’t compete in the Football League until 1970, but they stayed there for 35 years until their relegation in 2005. They spent nine years in the Conference before once again becoming one of the 92 in 2015.

There was a club called Cambridge United in the city from 1909, but it didn’t have any association with the current side. The club’s highest placed finish was in 1992 when they finished fifth in the second-tier of the Football League. They reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup in the 1990 and 1991 and won the FA Trophy in 2014. They’ve also reached the quarter-finals of the League Cup once in 1992.

Abbey Stadium History

View from the South Stand - By Liamtaylor007 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Home to Cambridge United since 1932, the Abbey Stadium was named after the Abbey district of the city. It has not only hosted United, but from 2006 until 2014 Cambridge Regional College played their home games there too. Regional College was Cambridge United’s feeder club but it was dissolved in 2014.

United played a friendly against Chelsea in 1970 to mark the first use of the grounds new floodlights and the game was a hit. 14,000 people turned out to see what Chelsea players looked like at night, setting an attendance record for the stadium. The match has its own claim to fame, being the first time that any ground’s attendance record was noted as having taken place at a friendly.

Future Developments

John Lord / Flickr.com

At the turn of the millennium there were grand plans to develop the stadium, but financial problems meant they had to be put on hold. Instead, the stadium was sold to Bideawhile 445 Ltd on a sale and lease back basis. Since then Cambridge supporters have launched the Cambridge Community Stadium Trust, which has the specific aim of trying to buy the ground back.

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