Abbey days are here again for Cambridge United

PUBLISHED: 07:14 01 December 2017

Shaun Grady of new community sponsor AstraZeneca and Jez George Cambridge United CEO

Shaun Grady of new community sponsor AstraZeneca and Jez George Cambridge United CEO

Simon Lankester

Club partners make renaming of stadium possible

Nick Fairbairn, Cambridge United's head of partnerships, and James Blair, sponsorship manager of Bloor International Enterprises.Nick Fairbairn, Cambridge United's head of partnerships, and James Blair, sponsorship manager of Bloor International Enterprises.

Cambridge United’s home ground will be returned to being called the Abbey Stadium, the club has announced.

It has been known as the Cambs Glass Stadium since the start of the 2016-17 season, but support from key club partners, including Cambs Glass, has allowed the change to take place with immediate effect.

With stadium naming rights now commonplace and providing a big source of revenue to football clubs, the official return of the name that has been part of the fabric of the U’s since inception has been made possible with the extended support of one club partner and the generosity of another.

Cambs Glass is part of Bloor International Enterprises, where lifelong U’s fan Michael Bloor is group chairman, and they have agreed to continue to work with the U’s, while stepping aside from the stadium name so the Abbey can be reinstated. And a new partnership will be announced in coming weeks.

And the club has also announced that AstraZeneca has agreed to extend its Active Science partnership with the Cambridge United Community Trust to become Cambridge United’s community sponsor.

The Active Science collaboration – incorporating sport and wellbeing - began at the end of 2015, and the partnership with AstraZeneca will be expanded to support other community initiatives including social isolation among the elderly, childhood obesity, literacy and digital access, and adult education, particularly in the Abbey Ward.

Jez George, Cambridge United chief executive, said: “Today’s announcement means a lot to everyone associated with Cambridge United Football Club.

“The Abbey is our home - and we want the club’s link to its locality and its history to be preserved and strengthened, now and into the future.

“We would like to thank Cambs Glass and Bloor International Enterprises for their magnificent gesture in fully supporting this idea.

“We would also like to thank AstraZeneca for extending their support beyond the Active Science programme which they have developed with our Community Trust over the last two years.

“As the club’s first ever community sponsor, they will enable us to contribute even more in the coming years to the well-being of our immediate and wider community.

“It is testament to Cambs Glass, Bloor International Enterprises and AstraZeneca and our ever expanding portfolio of partners, who all share our vision, which enables us to make this decision to ensure the stadium naming is now sacrosanct rather than a commercial imperative.

“Sport, particularly football due to its universal popularity, can be a real force for good and Cambridge United recognises the responsibility associated with this privileged position.

“The partnership with AstraZeneca is born from shared values from two organisations, one having recently relocated to Cambridge and one having been in Cambridge for more than 100 years; both committed to the community.”

Shaun Grady, AstraZeneca’s VP business development, said: “We’re really pleased with and proud of the progress made with the Active Science collaboration with Cambridge United and the Community Trust.

“It has contributed to AstraZeneca and MedImmune’s initiatives within the community. Active Science promotes science in schools through sport, and, like all our community initiatives, enables colleagues from across our company in Cambridge to get directly involved in the delivery of the programme.

“Having seen the tremendous work the club and trust do across the community, it is a pleasure and privilege to have the opportunity to expand the work together on other really great community initiatives. The stadium being called the Abbey again is a fantastic added bonus.”

And Bloor International Enterprises sponsorship manager James Blair said: “We are extremely proud to have helped to facilitate the naming of the ground back to ‘The Abbey Stadium’.

“First and foremost, we are fans of the club, so when Jez first contacted us about reinstating the Abbey name, we knew we had to do everything in our power to push it through.

“We also remain keen to support the club and are finalising a significant new deal which will be announced over the next few weeks.

“From a personal perspective, I can’t wait to watch the U’s playing back at the Abbey.”

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