If it ever finds a publisher, the book listing Ken Shellito’s achievements as Cambridge United manager will be the slimmest of volumes. One accomplishment that will always endear him to U’s supporters, however, was his signing of a man who would go on to break the club’s Football League goalscoring record, and hold it for 35 years.
David Crown will always be remembered for his 57 goals in 129 United games in the mid-1980s. More particularly, he is revered for the 1985/86 season, when he broke Alan Biley’s scoring record with 27 goals – 25 of them in the Football League. The record stood until 2020/21 and the coming of Paul Mullin.
But the most remarkable aspect of the feat, and one that is often overlooked, is that David was playing in a poor team when he achieved it.
When he signed from Reading in the summer of 1985, United, a mere two years after competing in Division Two, were on their way to having to apply for re-election to the League.
Although he had to wait until mid-September before opening his U’s goal account, David found the net with nagging regularity thereafter, even while his comrades shipped them at the other end.
He found a more inspiring gaffer to work with when Chris Turner took over from Shellito, and continued to find the net throughout the following two seasons, before leaving for Southend in late 1987 – cheered all the way down the A130 by grateful United fans.