Author:  James King | Shirt Collector | Cambridge United Fan.


A very warm welcome to our guest blogger, James King.  I'm sure many from our #kitcommunity will have come across his amazing collection of shirts from his beloved Cambridge United.  We're delighted James has taken the time to tell us a little about his collecting story and how his Dad inspired his love of his hometown club.  You can check out his stunning collection, in its full glory, via his Instagram jdking_cambridge_united_shirts.  Well worth a follow.   




I have been actively collecting Cambridge United shirts since around the mid-nineties. Before then, I had a few from when I was younger and bought or was was gifted both the home and away shirts each season. When eBay was in its infancy, it was a veritable paradise for the collector and by the mid 2000’s I had amassed over 120 mostly match worn Cambridge shirts from 1975-2005. 


1977-79 CUFC Home Shirt


Disaster struck in 2010 when I was made redundant. I was out of work for quite some time, and it was inevitable that sacrifices were made - selling my prized possessions helped to keep the wolf from the door.  In 2015, when back on my feet, I decided to try and rebuild the collection. I was effectively starting from scratch (bar a couple of prized shirts I’d kept and would have gone hungry for). Whilst I will never get back to the collection I once had, I am enjoying giving it a damn good go.


Fond Memories:  In the Habbin Stand with my Dad in 1986


My First Cambridge Shirt

The first shirt I ever owned (barring a well-worn 1983/84 Mileta away shirt, which was handed down to me by a family friend) was the 1990/91 white Scoreline away shirt. In fact, both shirts from this season are right up there with my favourite club shirts.  For many years I was annoyed with myself that as a stupid 15-year-old I’d given mine away to a summer holiday romance when in Crete over the summer of 91.  I genuinely never thought I would be able to replace it. Fortunately, I’ve since managed to get hold of replica and a player edition #3 as worn by Alan Kimble. It’s extremely stained, probably from all that mud at Molineux! 


1990/91 CUFC Away Shirt #3 Alan Kimble


The First Shirt I Remember Watching the U’s Wear

I had been taken by my dad to a few games in the early/mid-eighties and just about remember the tail end of the classic Umbro kit from the Docherty era, also the Mileta ‘Spraymate’ shirt is buried deep in my memory too.  The shirt worn from when I first started to attend regularly is the Umbro striped affair we sported for the second half of the 1985/86 campaign, after the contract with Mileta had been terminated.  It’s a classic Umbro design, which seems slightly dated for the time looking back, but I do have happy memories of David Crown banging in a few wearing this one. I have only ever seen a couple of these in recent years, one of which I unfortunately sold and the the other I still have.  I'm sure there must be a few more out there somewhere?



1985/86 CUFC Home Shirt 


My Rarest Shirt

After the success of the 1991/92 season (if you need to look it up, the club reached the play-off semi-finals for the promotion to the inaugural Premier League) the club embarked on a pre-season tour to Sweden and wore these Influence ‘Airtex’ style V-neck shirts. I believe the club shop sold a handful of these the following season, so if you have hold of one, it’s a gem.  Here is a #8 version allocated to Richard Wilkins.


1992/93 CUFC Pre-Season Tour Shirt 


My Favourite Shirt

It will always be the Nike ‘Lynfox’ sponsored shirts Cambridge wore from 1986-88. These fabulous shirts bring back memories of our amazing League Cup run, when we beat Ipswich (thanks to that man David Crown again) and we also gave a star-studded Tottenham side a stern test, before eventually losing 3-1.  It seemed that when wearing this jersey, we played every game under floodlights, which enchanted me as a 10/11-year-old.  Mr Petit selling his lottery tickets, the Bangles ‘Walk like an Egyptian’ played before kick-off and at half time for every single match, Wolfie returning to the Abbey, an Alan Biley cameo, the bomb scare…..  I could go on.


 1986/88 CUFC Shirts 


My Most Valuable Shirt

My most valuable shirt would probably not be the one most Cambridge fans would expect.  As a child in the early 80’s, my Dad would take me to the odd game at the Abbey.  Over time, I went to more and more games and my hometown club would become a lot more than just something to do on a Saturday afternoon. Many friendships over the years have been forged which stand to this day and the list of memories, especially those when we nearly reached the Premiership will stand with me forever.

I owe all of that to my Dad, who passed away in 2017.  The white Vandanel away shirt in my collection from the 1994/95 season belong him - its the only shirt he ever bought.  Money wise, it’s worth maybe £80-100, but to me it’s priceless. You may have spotted it already at the top of this article, there is a photograph of my Dad and me, which I was delighted to find on Facebook, stood very happily in the Habbin Stand, during a match in 1986.  Happy times.


 1994/95 CUFC Away Shirt 


Kit Community

Social media has probably been instrumental in this growth along with the fact that as a long-standing supporter of a club with a smaller fanbase, fellow fans will often like to talk about the collection and the memories these shirts hold for them and occasionally offer me items. Some younger generation Cambridge fans have now also been bitten by the shirt collecting bug and I am always happy to answer questions and offer advice where I can.

It’s also been tremendous over the years to be able to connect with collectors from other clubs, help each other where we can, and at the same time preserve our respective club’s history.  Some of these collectors have now published books and this is something I am trying to presently get off the ground myself.

If anybody has any interesting shirts pre 2000 that they would like more info on or are looking to sell, particularly the 1990/91 FA Cup Quarter Final shirts and the Nike away, please do get in touch with me via  I have a few gaps and would love to complete the set again.


Up the U’s

James King