Captain Luke Knight eager to get going with Cambridge City in Northern Premier League
Luke Knight cannot wait to get started in a season which should turn a new page in the history of Cambridge City.
The 33-year-old midfielder will captain the Lilywhites during a campaign that will see them move to their new home at Sawston.
And Knight cannot wait for the City fans to be rewarded for all their efforts at the club and the support they provide, in good and bad times.
In a sign of what is being built at City, despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic and the change in leagues from the Isthmian to the Northern Premier, they have kept the same squad together for nearly two years now.
It was a group of players that went unbeaten in 10 games, without conceding a goal, before the first lockdown, and then went on a brilliant FA Cup run during last season’s aborted campaign.
That run culminated in a trip to Darlington FC, which had to be played behind closed doors because of FA restrictions, even though supporters had been allowed at City’s home games for the wins over Biggleswade, Stowmarket and Halesowen.
“It was disappointing for us [to be behind closed doors] and disappointing for the fans as well because they are so good, probably one of the best groups of supporters that I have played in front of,” said Knight.
“They are such a welcoming group. When I first joined on loan from Royston, you always wonder how the fans are going to take to you – I was just welcomed in with such open arms.
“It’s such a family club. It’s such a nice feeling when you turn up on a matchday and they are all there welcoming you in.
“If results don’t go for you, they are never the type to turn on you. They really do get behind you, home and away. The amount of times we go away and out- support the home team says it all.
“From my perspective and the boys within the dressing room, they [the supporters] are highly thought of; we do really appreciate the efforts they go to to go to the games and everything they do around the club for us.”
Knight is one of the central figures in the City squad.
Having made his debut for Bedford Town as a 16-year-old, in the intervening 17 years he has played for Slough, Royston, won promotion with Biggleswade and captained St Ives to promotion as well.
That experience is a huge asset to the Lilywhites.
“I’ve got a good couple of hundred games under my belt now. I’m like the dad of the group,” jokes Knight.
“I have to take them under my wing sometimes, rein them in sometimes.
“It’s really refreshing. I’m coming to the age now where I’ve had quite a successful non-league career so it’s nice to be able to give back to the youngsters if they are struggling with certain things.
“Anyone in the squad knows me well enough that if they are struggling then they can have a chat about anything, which is nice that they trust me as a captain.
“They are such a good group. Everyone gets on with it, and whatever is asked of us we all crack on and do.”
If City can replicate the form that they have shown in both of the two cancelled campaigns, then by the time they move to Sawston, who knows where they will be in the table.
It is hoped that the switch will be in the winter, with the new stadium developing at speed, with the pitch seeded, the road to the ground completed and the car park nearly done.
Knight knows how much it will mean to the club to have a place to call their own after leaving their Milton Road ground in 2013.
“Going back years, I played against Cambridge City when they were at their old ground and for them not to have one for so long, it was always in the pipeline, but is it going to happen, is not going to happen?” he said.
“You hear things like they are starting to get planning permission, but then they don’t know when they are going to start building and months and months pass and you don’t hear anything.
“You wonder if it is going to be one of those that is never actually going to happen. More so for the fans than me, I’m so happy that they’re going to have a home ground back.
“For us players, of course, going into a new stadium is going to be amazing.”
He added: “At the minute, you’re coming to Histon to play us, but hopefully in a couple of months it will be you’re coming to Sawston, that’s our place, our stadium.”