Cambridge University Nil Satis Federation

Dave Rusk 29/07/2017 34comments  |  Jump to last

Saturday, 18 May 1968. FA Cup Final at Wembley. West Bromwich Albion v Everton. Harry Catterick was putting the final touches to build the team that would win the League in 1969-70 – the magic era of the “Holy Trinity”. We had battered West Brom 6-2 earlier in the season. Surely the FA Cup Final was going to be a formality? But we were (are) Everton, aren’t we? Tight game. 0-0 approaching the 85th minute mark with extra time looming.

Johnny Morrissey beats his full back and crosses. Jimmy Husband, six yards out and unmarked... this is it! But he headed over the bar. “Oh dear” (or something equivalent) went the shout from the thousands of Evertonians at Wembley that day. “Oh Dear, Indeed” (or something equivalent) went the groan in the first period of extra time when Jeff Astle scored what eventually turned out to be the winner. Losers' medals all round.

But what did most Evertonians do after due reflection? Okay, move on. Let’s plan for next season. Come On You Blues!


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And amongst those “moving on” were four Evertonians who were about to join Cambridge University (CU) in the late summer of 1968. Mike Stevens, John Taylor, John Tinsley, and Mal Lee.

Academic life at Cambridge was, at the time, and had been for decades, supplemented by “Societies and Clubs”, many of which were officially accredited by the University, and based on students’ hobbies and interests. Being Cambridge, these tended to be things like the CU Rowing Club, CU Squash Club, CU Philately Club, Fox Hunting Club, Cheese and Wine Tasting Club and of course the world famous CU Footlights Club.

Into that mix the “four founder members” decided in 1968 to launch the Cambridge University Nil Satis Federation (referred to colloquially at the time as “The NSF”). The incorporation of elements of the Latin Motto of EFC was a nod to the traditions of Cambridge University. But, on reflection, little else was!

John Tinsley, when recently recalling the “Big Bang” moment when The NSF was formed, described it as follows:

“The organization was formed – I recall – on a train journey from Birmingham to Cambridge – after a football tournament. The name NSF was agreed – slight reference to NLF – National Liberation Front – from the Vietnam War. I don’t recall that we ever added the CU in our day.

“Meetings were then held in Trinity College bar and were surprisingly formal – minutes from the previous meeting, motions passed etc. May be my fault – I was then on the Students Representative Council and also in the Labour Party so therefore steeped in petty bureaucracy and hackery.”

It was “Resolved” that the above-mentioned Jimmy Husband would be invited to become the first Honorary President of the NSF (a testament to the loyalty of true Evertonians despite disappointment) and Jimmy duly accepted the invitation by means of a hand-written letter which was preserved for many generations of subsequent NSF members in a plastic wrapper (no such thing as / we couldn’t afford / a laminator in those days) and is remembered in NSF folklore as “The Big Jimmy Husband Letter”. Regrettably it has, as have a number of other NSF memorabilia, disappeared like lost “Relics of Saints” over the intervening years.

During the tenure of the next wave of NSF members in 1969 onwards, The NSF “went through all of the hoops” to become, against all the odds, an officially affiliated Cambridge University Society – written constitution, Club Crest etc. As part of that process, the official name was changed to “Cambridge University Nil Satis Federation” (CUNSF) to pass muster! This accreditation allowed CUNSF access to University funds which were used to hire coaches to take members to EFC away games in London and other parts of the South East. There were three trips to Tottenham in the Division 1 Championship triumph of1969-70, two of which were called off as a result of bad weather, but we all saw the Alan Whittle winner in March 1970 in the pouring rain.

We still maintained the same traditions as our founder members in meeting every Sunday evening in Trinity College Bar (then, and still now, one of the “Establishment” colleges) to call our meetings to order, pass round the copies of the previous week’s “Pink Echo” (Footy Echo for current readers) that we had had posted to us, drink copious amounts of ale, discuss all things Everton, and propose and pass motions of support and censure (the latter in the initial years mostly about either “Dirty Leeds” – our main rivals at the time, or our “loveable red cousins”).

And, against what might have seemed all the odds, it went on and on! NSF members graduated from Cambridge University, and progressed their careers but, every year, the NSF held an Annual General Dinner / AGM at (normally) a restaurant in Cambridge, which current and former NSF members attended. A post-dinner ritual was an 11-a-side match on Parkers’ Piece, kicking off at midnight in full kit. It was hardly School of Science due to the amount of ale drunk and the fact that all 22 players were in blue Everton shirts!

In the late 1970s, Martin Dobson succeeded Jimmy Husband as President. He took his duties seriously – so much so that he insisted on hosting a CUNSF annual dinner at Goodison. Not only that, Martin paid for the meal and drinks and brought along Bob Latchford and Duncan McKenzie too (see Martin and Bob, right with CUNSF member Chris Moody).

Numbers attending have varied over the years, but many of the former members went on to become “Captains of Industry” across the Globe, and some AGM meetings have been attended by persons flying in from America, Japan, and all manner of foreign parts!

But none of us have forgotten our roots. All Evertonians. All ready to have a bevvy and a good laugh and discuss / reminisce about all things Everton.

The current President is Joe Royle, who was recently nominated for election and accepted the nomination particularly as a nod to the continuity of the era of the foundation of the NSF (Joe in his pomp as a player) and the current EFC setup with Joe heavily involved.

As it will be the 50th anniversary of the founding of the NSF in 2018, we will be holding our anniversary AGM & Dinner on 8 September 2018.

Although we have managed to keep in touch with many of the former graduate members of the NSF, we have lost contact with others. Some are characters of legend with whom we would like to re-establish contact, particularly with a view to their attending the 2018 Anniversary AGM Dinner.

So, if any of you guys / ladies (you will know who you are) are reading this, please log onto our Facebook page “Cambridge University Everton Supporters Club” and get in touch. Alternatively, contact CUNSF Secretary Dave Rusk on 07710 238257 or email Dave at

And for new Cambridge students who are Everton supporters and who are about to “Go Up” to Cambridge (I know, for most people from Liverpool, going to Cambridge is “going down” South, but humour us) please also get in touch so that we can extend our membership to the next generation.

Come on You Blues!!!

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Reader Comments (34)

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Peter Mills
1 Posted 01/08/2017 at 09:17:12
Dave, not really related but your mention of the Pink Echo brought back very fond memories of my time at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, 1977-80.

It was hardly a hotbed of footy fans, as you might imagine, and the lads I lived with were amazed when every Tuesday morning a parcel would arrive at our house with a copy of the Pink Echo, the report from Monday's Daily Post if we had won, and a hand-written letter from my Dad.

Dave Abrahams
2 Posted 01/08/2017 at 09:29:37
Great story, Dave, nice touch by Peter. Strangely, not messing, my paper lad is going to Cambridge in September. He is a loyal blue; I'll mention this article to him when he comes.
Alan McGuffog
3 Posted 01/08/2017 at 09:54:54
Hi Dave... just wondering: Did Ronnie Walker ever involve himself in the organisation? A classicist and a blue (when we were at school anyhow).
Steve Carse
4 Posted 01/08/2017 at 10:20:48
Dave, one of the great things about retirement – you finally get the time to put pen to paper (or as it is now finger to keyboard) to reminisce and romanticize about all things Blue. Seemingly the last time you had such an amount of free time on your hands was when you were a student!
Peter Mills
5 Posted 01/08/2017 at 11:20:35
Dave, tell your paper lad not to be intimidated when he goes to Cambridge. Remind him that he is better than nobody, but nobody is better than him.
Dave Rusk
6 Posted 01/08/2017 at 11:43:40
I must confess the bulk of the article was written by Andy MacFarlane. My plagiarism was solely because I have a TW account and Andy doesn't.

Alan - if you recall, Ronnie was married at 18 and Jackie forbad support of EFC. No wonder they divorced!

Tony Abrahams
7 Posted 01/08/2017 at 11:46:46
To borrow a phrase from the great Bob Dylan, Peter! To watch the paper-boy, anyone would think that Dave had 3 pitbull terriers waiting behind the door, the speed in which the kid gets out the path!
Alan McGuffog
8 Posted 01/08/2017 at 12:06:14
Ha ha, Dave. How could I have forgotten his marriage to Jackie... on his stag night, a few of us swam the Thames, Putney to Fulham. We may have had a drink or two.
Nick Wall
9 Posted 01/08/2017 at 12:09:28
I was a loyal NSF member from 1980 to 1983 – I doubt that there were many future Captains of Industry among us then – great to see that you guys are still going.
Dave Abrahams
10 Posted 01/08/2017 at 12:48:02
Peter (#5), good advice: Tony, that advice doesn't apply to you!!!
Paul Ferry
11 Posted 02/08/2017 at 04:00:48
I was at Cambridge for eight years and the only blues I met there were mates from Liverpool coming down for Norwich or Ipswich away.
Dave Rusk
12 Posted 02/08/2017 at 09:35:33
Nick (#9) please let me have your email address either here or use my email address in the above article so I can add you to the NSF directory so you receive emails. It may also put you in touch with former NSF pals with whom you have lost touch.
Dave Rusk
13 Posted 02/08/2017 at 09:40:36
Dave (#2). EFC are helping us publicise NSF, hopefully via the programme and the Evertonian, in time for both the start of the new season and the beginning of a new university year.

Hopefully your paper lad can revive NSF amongst current students – as Paul (11) suggests, NSF has been "in hibernation" since the 1980s.

Jim Potter
14 Posted 02/08/2017 at 11:47:39
Enjoyable article, Dave.

When I went to Liverpool Uni in the 80s ,one of my friends went to Cambridge – but inexplicably (to me) he never joined NSF.

Alan (#8) – swimming the Thames when sober is scary enough, but after a shed full of ale?!

Dave, do Oxford have an equivalent? (Obviously inferior to the original...)

Jonathan Tasker
15 Posted 02/08/2017 at 13:09:20
Interesting to see the Parker's Piece mention – very few seem to know how important Parker's Piece is in the overall history of football.
Joe Cavanagh
16 Posted 02/08/2017 at 15:15:58
I was in Cambridge between 1972 and 1978, first as a student and then as a commuter to work in London, but sadly I never got to know of the Society. A missed opportunity and a great pity, I think.

Mind you, I already struggled to fit in studies alongside a busy social and sporting calendar, especially as a keen college footballer playing four 90-minute games a week, so maybe it's just as well I didn't discover the Society.

As an ex-Corporal rather than Captain of industry, and mostly retired, I now live in Brazil but get to the UK a couple of times a year. Last time I was in Cambridge I was amazed how much it had changed – there are now gazillions of restaurants and bars to choose from, whereas in my day there was that Greek joint down Petty Cury – the one that served chips, rice and salad with every dish (anyone remember the name?). And most of the pubs were traditional alehouses rather than bistro bars.

So which restaurant is hosting the AGM/dinner this year?

Dave Rusk
17 Posted 03/08/2017 at 10:15:08
To clarify and answer some of the issues raised since the article was posted:

Dave A (2) – tell your paper lad to visit the Societies Fair at the start of term. In 1971, as a bored and lonely working class freshman, I walked past the Cello Society, the Gilbert & Sullivan Society and did a double take when the next table was festooned with EFC programmes and other memorabilia. We are hoping to restore the NSF stand in October.

Jim (14) – In our day there was no corresponding Oxford version of NSF. I went to Alsop and a fellow Alsopian Evertonian, Ronnie Higham, was captain of St Peters College First XI so the NSF team went on a drunken weekend to play St Peters.

Joe (16) – I played for Caius a couple of times a week but the NSF team played against college XIs and informal supporters clubs of other, mainly London based, Div One teams. In the early 1970s, a tradition was for NSF to play the RedShite on the morning of the FA Cup Final. We normally won, albeit the memory becomes somewhat selective after 45 years !

The restaurant you mention was the Eros in Petty Cury. There was also the Corner House in King Street.

NSF had a mini reunion last year but there won't be one in 2017. We are saving ourselves for the 50th anniversary one next year. Joe Royle, our President, has confirmed he will be there, although is suffering right now from dislocation of both his artificial hips.

Jim Hillier
18 Posted 03/08/2017 at 20:44:33
At Queens from 79-82 and knew nothing of it. Fuck
Dave Rusk
19 Posted 04/08/2017 at 10:24:02
Jim (#18) – as with Nick (#9) if you want to join NSF as a graduate member, give me your email address and/or visit the Facebook page searching for Cambridge University Everton Supporters Club or get your kids to show you how to!!
Andrew Davies
20 Posted 05/08/2017 at 13:55:00
I endorse all of Dave Rusk's comments and grateful to him for tracking me down and putting me back in contact with everyone. I was at Cambridge from 1970 to 1973 and like Dave a working class lad settling in to very unaccustomed surroundings when somehow I got to hear about CUNSF. I had forgotten that we all got "blues" for that weekend in Oxford.

From memory (unreliable) we played an Oxford 11 on a primary school sized pitch (small goals anyway) and won about 11-4 and afterwards the lights went out since it was during the 1972 miners' dispute.

Highly recommend the Corner House. Massive portions. In my day the Moussaka followed by peach melba.... Joe C – you are not wrong about the changes however. And trillions of tourists.

Jim Hillier
21 Posted 05/08/2017 at 14:25:07
Hi Dave,


Philip Duke
22 Posted 05/08/2017 at 15:45:11
I was lucky enough to go up to Caius in 1973 where Dave Rusk and Ronnie Walker were already ensconced (we all went to the same school). They quickly showed me the best pubs (Mitre rather than the Baron of Beef etc,) and through Dave I found the NSF.

I live in Colorado now so won't be able to attend the 50th reunion. But I'll be with you in spirit. My two sons and their families are visiting that weekend, so I'll make sure we tip a glass in your direction. They too are crazy Evertonians. COYB.

Paul Ferry
23 Posted 06/08/2017 at 05:54:27
They quickly showed me the best pubs (Mitre rather than the Baron of Beef etc,) - erm Champion of the Thames and Free press

I was at Cambridge from 1987-1995 - Phd Jesus, research fellow Clare -,and I swear to God I never met a blue there other than mates driving down for aways.

The high choice restaurant in '87 other than midsummer common was the Pearl over the road from John's chapel.

I also spent a lot of time in the maypole near Jesus Green and used to work in that boozer on the river round the corner where Clive James went every night.

Love to join the society.

Philip Duke
24 Posted 06/08/2017 at 14:53:22
Just realised that the 50th reunion will be next year. So I'll be saving my pennies to make sure I get there. My sons would love to join me. What's the feeling of everybody for inviting a special guest of our own (or two)?
Dave Rusk
25 Posted 07/08/2017 at 10:20:56
Paul (#23),

if you let me have your email address, I'll add you to the NSF email contact list for future updates as this TW thread will disappear soon. I've just added Jim (#21)

Off topic, how good was Ever Banega yesterday? And in fact the whole Sevilla team, until they tired late on.

John Deegan
26 Posted 07/08/2017 at 12:06:20
I was at Fitzwilliam College from 1968 to 1971and I remember that there was a supporters' group in the university. The name Mike Stevens from the original post rings a bell and it was probably him who told me about it, but unfortunately I never signed up.

I was very much into "left" politics at the time (once a lefty, always a lefty?) and there was a standing commitment on Sunday evenings which had to have priority. There were at least two more lefty Evertonians at the college at the time; Alfie May, whose wit could shrivel up the ego of absolutely anybody and who was the perpetual sparring partner of the now well-known historian David Starkey, and Dave Martin who sadly died of cancer in the summer of 1970.

Looking back to the 60s, who could have known then that we would see so little success on the football field for most of the 50 years since? Let's hope Ronald Koeman can help change all that.

Paul Ferry
27 Posted 09/08/2017 at 06:46:14
Dave – – our old crosby phone number – hope to hear from you soon, mate.
Paul Ferry
28 Posted 09/08/2017 at 07:01:24
John mate (#26),

Starkey at Fitz – I think he was a research fellow busy on his Tudor revolution in government stuff then that was this finest moment stabbing his doctoral supervisor Geoffrey Elton in the back and Geoffrey who I got to know when I was a research fellow at Clare never forgave him.

John, do you remember a Geordie, Keith Wrightson, who was at Fitz when you were who was my doctoral supervisor at Jesus and now is at Yale? He supports the Barcodes... lovely fella.

John Deegan
29 Posted 09/08/2017 at 15:31:08
Paul (#26),

You may well be right about David Starkey's treachery but I wouldn't know although you are right about his research area at the time. Although I was a maths undergraduate I knew most of the historians at Fitzwilliam, including Keith Wrightson who was a year ahead of me.

I lost touch with Keith in the mid 1970s although a few years ago I understood that he was back in Cambridge. He seemed to have fallen out with most of our old mates, for reasons not very clear to me.

I always got on with him although he was the only person I ever met who could slide a ciggy from a packet in his pocket into his mouth, and light it, without anybody spotting him. Not that I am calling him tight, but it was good manners in those days to flash the ash when it was your turn.

Damian Wilde
30 Posted 09/08/2017 at 22:12:51
Absolutely fantastic read, Dave, thank you for sharing. Very impressed with the society and the fine presidents! Unfortunately no Everton federations at the universities I attended, but some great Blues, makes you feel more connected.

ps: David Starkey, pompous prick!

Paul Ferry
31 Posted 10/08/2017 at 05:47:43
Keith returned to Cambridge in 1985 John, became a reader, and moved to Yale in 1998 though Cantabridgia counter-offered with a chair. He is without any shadow of a doubt the most eminent early modern English social historian today – fellow of the British Academy and so on. I'll mention your name to him.

Love that we are doing this here on ToffeeWeb.

I had not much affection for Elton but got to respect him. I was at Clare when he died, lifting out of his bath on a Sunday morning. Missus didn't report the death for 8 hours.

Damien is right, Starkey is a pompous prick.

Dave Rusk
32 Posted 10/08/2017 at 09:59:06
Paul (#27) – I did a literal Copy/Paste of the email address in your post but my email to you bounced. I presume you missed out an "l" – in other words it should be 'gmail', not 'gmai'. Please confirm.
John Deegan
33 Posted 10/08/2017 at 17:59:05
Paul (#31),

Thanks for the update on Keith and I am pleased that he has done well in his career. He always was a hard working (as well as clever) bloke but it is news to me that he was a Barcodes man; he came from County Durham (Chester-le Street) and I always assumed that he would be a Sunderland supporter, so far as he had any interest in football.

Please do remember me to him if you are in touch. I know that most people have a low opinion of Starkey, and indeed he was a bit of a knob when I knew him, but I think that he is a brilliant speaker both on TV and in person when it comes to Tudor history, but what do I know – I'm a retired town planner.

Paul Ferry
34 Posted 12/08/2017 at 21:08:44
You're right David. You, too, John. Starkey is a great speaker. I'll definitely send your best to Keith. One of his books is a social and economic history of Whickham in the 16th and 17th centuries!

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