Richard set for round two against Manchester giants

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A young man from Yetholm will proudly stride into the Theatre of Dreams on Tuesday night to take on the likes of Di Maria, Van Persie and Fellaini.

Richard Tait, 25, who moved to Manchester when he was 10, has been a part of the Cambridge United set-up since May 2013, when they were in the Conference.

Richard Tait  Picture by Dave Harwood

Richard Tait Picture by Dave Harwood

He helped them progress to League Two later that year – and had the spotlight firmly on him thanks to his and his team-mates’ heroics against Manchester United in the FA Cup fourth round last Friday evening.

It was certainly a case of David against Goliath. Cambridge’s total wage bill is around £1million, while the Red Devils shell out £200million in a quiet year.

But in a stunning display of defensive commitment, right back Tait and his colleagues fought out the 0-0 draw that earned them the lucrative replay at Old Trafford.

Perhaps understandably for a team unused to the glare of publicity, Cambridge slapped a media ban on their players.

But we spoke to Richard’s uncle, Peter Tait, from Kelso.

Peter, who played for Kelso United alongside Richard’s dad, also called Richard, told The Southern: “I think Richard will be taking all this attention with a pinch of salt, he’s pretty well grounded.

“The replay will be just another game at the end of the day for him, but it is a fantastic money-spinner for the club.

“I text Richard quite regularly when he plays games and we follow his career.

“I was at Carlisle when Cambridge played them a couple of weeks ago at Brunton Park and Cambridge kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory.

“Their defence is really impressive, I think they just have a few problems scoring goals.”

Richard first signed for junior club Curzon Ashton in 2007, before landing a youth contract with Nottingham Forest.

But when Billy Davies got rid of all the reserves and youth sides, Richard got his chance with a loan move to Tamworth, where he gained a contract and stayed until leaving for Cambridge.

His manager Richard Money does not hold out much hope for the replay, but said the first tie was “incredible”.

His advice to his players for Tuesday? “Just go and enjoy it, soak it in. Whatever happens, happens.”

We hope to catch an interview with Richard after Tuesday’s match.

Photographs: Courtesy of Simon Lankester (top) and Cambridge News