It is with great sadness that the Football Club has to report the death of former player-manager Frank Cruickshank. Frank died on Tuesday 20th January 2015 aged 83.
Born in Polmont, near to Falkirk, in Scotland, Frank spent his entire playing career in England. He started at Burnley without making any league appearances before playing with Nuneaton Borough from 1949 to 1953. He then joined Notts County where he went on to make over 150 appearances for The Magpies from 1953 to 1960. Frank then joined Cheltenham Town for the 60-61 season and lined up against City that season.
After a season at Whaddon Road Frank was signed by Oscar Hold for the start of the 1961-62 season. He didn’t immediately start in the first team, having to be content with reserve team football in the Eastern Counties League. His chance for first team football came in mid- December 1961 when he replaced Jeff Suddards in the defence for the trip to Romford. He kept his place until the end of February but then was out of the first team until mid April. By the time Frank returned to regular first team duties away to Cambridge United on 16th April 1962, he had been appointed as player –manager following the decision of Oscar Hold to move to Doncaster Rovers. Frank’s debut as City manager was nothing short of disastrous – a 5-0 drubbing at King’s Lynn on 11th April 1962. However, better times were ahead and overall Frank made 23 first tea appearances for City in the 1961-62 season.
The 1962-63 season would of course see Cambridge City crowned as the Southern League champions and as such could be considered to be the top non league side in the country. In the title winning season Frank very much lead by example, playing over 50 games that season. A pivotal game that season saw City beat Cambridge United 2-1 in front of over 11,500 fans at Milton Road in April 1963. City clinched the title on 7th May 1963, just under 6,000 seeing City beat Bexleyheath & Welling 4-1.
Frank would remain as player-manager until February 1964 when he left the club. His last game in charge was a home defeat to “bogey” club Bedford Town.
Overall Frank played exactly 100 first team games for City but never managed to get on the score-sheet.
Apart from the Southern League Championship City won the Cambridgeshire Professional Cup twice under Frank's leadership (61-62 & 62-63) as well as the Huntingdonshire Premier Cup for seasons 61-62 & 62-63.
After leaving City Frank was player-manager at Newmarket Town from 1964 to 1969, a spell which saw the Jockey’s finish as runners-up in the 66-67 season.
Frank’s funeral service was held at Cambridge Crematorium last Wednesday.
Rest in Peace Frank.
Neil Harvey - CCFC Historian
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