So, for better or for worse, the season’s started. And as we crawl towards the end of August, desperately trying to construct the semblance of a functioning football team, I guess we should already start looking ahead to Christmas. I’m not talking about mulled wine by a roaring fire, seeing your incontinent and casually racist old relatives, or spending Christmas Eve half-cut finding a present for your family in the petrol station. Instead, I’m referring to the long-held festive tradition of advent, but this time in amber and black.
Last Christmas, United fans on social media were greeted with the ‘Cambridge United: 25 Years of Banter’ account, which supplied us with a daily dose of misery, unease and shame-faced laughter. In essence, instead of opening a little box with a Malteser inside, you follow this Twitter account and every day leading up to Christmas Day it recounts a moment from United’s history that can best be described as, well, ‘banter’ – from nearly reaching the Premier League in 1992, to a 7-0 hiding at Luton in 2018, it really did cover all bases of United irreverence.
UTAS had a chat with the man behind the keyboard to see what’s in store for Xmas 2018.
UTAS: So, what inspired the CUFC Banter Era Twitter page?
CUFCBE: 100% the Arsenal Bantvent calendar. It might be pretty embarrassing supporting United at times, but at least our embarrassments aren’t played out in the national press like Arsenal. I thought there was enough material for an attempt at a CUFC version, and after conferring with Twitter banter expert @LowQualityRegen I had the framework sketched out.
UTAS: Was it a chore updating every day? And how did you choose which events were worthy?
CUFCBE: I set up a Tweet scheduler and spent a weekend inputting all 25 tweets and images to go live at 11am each day. Whether that’s the best time for optimum tweeting I don’t know, but it seemed to work. For the content I focused on the period between 1992 and the present; that’s the era I started following United, and when it all started to go rapidly wrong. I had friends and family jog my memories on certain events, but most of it was fresh in my memory. I had to delete a couple of entries when it became clear Shaun Derry was providing us with live up-to-date banter – especially the Luton thrashing which couldn’t go unmentioned and was the second 7-0 defeat in the calendar.
UTAS: Which moment was best received?
CUFCBE: The one about the terrible Sunderland team beating us 7-0 at the Abbey did okay; a lot of people remembered just how shit that team was (David Bellion?! Phil Babb?!) and how awful they made us look that day. But I really rattled a few cages when I claimed we were the first club to play at the New Wembley twice (although we lost both times) instead of Stevenage. Had Stevenage even been in the Football League at that point? Are they really a ‘proper’ club? They’re not really a ‘proper’ club like us, are they? Are they?
UTAS: And which was the worst?
CUFCBE: I’m not sure, I felt a bit bad having a dig at Matty Clements when looking at John Beck’s worst signings, he put in a good enough effort. I though the one about Lionel Perez injuring Tranmere’s goalkeeper with a powerfully hit but poorly positioned penalty might have got a bit more traction, but overall I’m happy with the content.
UTAS: So the question on all of our lips; will CUFC Banter Era return for Xmas 2018?
CUFCBE: I’d like to think so. There’s plenty that didn’t make the cut last year, and to be honest I could probably just use Derry’s tenure at the Abbey for all the material I need. That should see me through into next year.
Give the account a follow now, nice and early to make sure you don’t forget before the big countdown begins all over again: @CUFCBanterEra.