When Richard Money, channelling Russell Crowe, said in October 2013 that he felt like asking Cambridge United supporters if they were not entertained, he got the answer loud and clear within a few short months: yes, we are very much entertained.
If he perceived a lack of passion among certain sectors of the Amber Nation that day, he was in no doubt the following May about how much Cambridge football people appreciated what he had given them.
One half of Wembley roared its approval as he raised the play-off trophy to signify that, after a nine-year hiatus, United were back in the Football League. Taken together with the capture of the FA Trophy at the same venue two months previously, it represented a huge achievement – and one that the fans have voted to recognise with Richard’s induction into the Cambridge United Hall of Fame.
It is thoroughly deserved. When he was appointed head coach at the Abbey Stadium in October 2012, Richard was joining a club that was going nowhere much. Enduring its seventh season of Conference football, it was financially weak and uninspiring on the pitch. But if anyone could restore pride, status and trophies to the Abbey faithful, it was Richard Money.
The nadir of United’s fortunes was reached a few weeks later when they capitulated in Newport, coming away with their tails between their legs after a 6-2 humbling. They had learned a lesson that Richard made sure they didn’t forget.
He rebuilt the squad the following summer, bringing in men who were eminently equipped to tackle the huge task ahead of them. The 2013/14 season started at a gallop with a 5-1 win and continued in the same vein for months – it was November before United lost a Conference game.
Richard had given the fans the best start in the club’s history and laid the foundations for those two Wembley wins. The icing on the cake came in 2015, when his inspired team took the mighty Manchester United to an FA Cup replay at Old Trafford that effectively stabilised the club.
People who knew him weren’t surprised. The force of his personality was evident to anyone who crossed his path; he had impressive credentials as a coach and manager in this country and overseas; and his long playing career had shown him to be a skilful, determined, uncompromising winner.
That character trait was exemplified one April night in Munich, when Liverpool faced an ultra-confident Bayern team in the second leg of the 1980 European Cup semi-final. The depleted Reds were given little chance following a 0-0 draw at Anfield, but Bayern had reckoned without the resolve of Richard and his teammates. A 1-1 draw put Liverpool through.
Richard can look back on that achievement, and now this Hall of Fame induction, with wholly justified satisfaction.