|Full name||Deepdale Stadium|
|Location||Sir Tom Finney Way, Preston, Lancashire, PR1 6RU, England|
|Owner||Preston North End F.C.|
|Operator||Preston North End F.C.|
|Field size||110 by 77 yards (101 m × 70 m)|
|Opened||1878 (for PNE)|
|Preston North End F.C. (1878–present)|
Lancashire Lynx (1996–2000)
Deepdale is "widely recognised as being the oldest 'continuously used' football stadium in the world. But like most coveted historic accolades, it is fiercely contested".  For example, Maidenhead United F.C. have played at their York Road ground since 1871, but they are not a professional club, unlike Preston North End.
The land on which the stadium stands was originally Deepdale Farm. It was leased on 21 January 1875 by the town's North End sports club and originally used for cricket and rugby. It hosted its first association football match on 5 October 1878.
As football grew in popularity, it became necessary to have raised areas, so the idea of football terracing was formed. In the 1890s Preston built the West Paddock, which ran along the touch line and a tent was erected to house the changing rooms.
By the turn of the century, crowds were regularly over 10,000 and in 1921 they had to expand again. The Spion Kop was built and the West Paddock was extended to meet the Kop end.
The pitch was removed to allow the building of the Town End, which was completed in 1928 but was destroyed by fire only five years later and had to be rebuilt.
The Pavilion Stand, a relatively small stand of two tiers holding the changing rooms and offices, was built and opened in 1934.
During the 1960s and 1980s, big changes took place as roofs were placed on the stands, seating was installed and terracing extended.
In 1986, Preston North End decided to lay an all-weather pitch to try to generate some extra income for the club by renting the pitch to local teams to play on, to reduce the number of postponed matches as well as enabling the use of the Deepdale pitch as a training ground.
It was one of four football stadiums in the English league to feature a plastic pitch, but this proved to be unpopular with the fans and was finally ripped up in 1994, by which time it was the last remaining plastic pitch in the English league.
The regeneration of Deepdale began in 1995 when the old West Stand was demolished to make way for the new £4.4m Sir Tom Finney Stand which includes press areas and restaurants.
The next stand to be developed was the Bill Shankly Kop in 1998, followed by the Alan Kelly Town End in 2001, which replaced the popular Town End terrace. In 2008, a 25-metre screen was also erected on the roof of the Bill Shankly Kop.
The old 'Pavilion' stand, was replaced by the 'Invincibles Pavilion' for the 2008–09 season, named after the Preston North End team of the 1888–89 season who were the first League champions, the first team to complete the League and FA Cup Double, and the only English team to complete a season unbeaten in both League and Cup. The Invincibles Pavilion includes a row of executive boxes and a restaurant which overlooks the pitch as well as the Stadium Control Room, PA Box and Big Screen Control Room and an NHS walk-in centre has also been built into the stand.
Deepdale is now an all-seater stadium with a total capacity of 23,404, as follows:
- Sir Tom Finney Stand: 7,893
- Bill Shankly Kop: 5,933
- Alan Kelly Town End: 5,859
- Invincibles Pavilion: 3,719
Sir Tom Finney statue
Outside the Sir Tom Finney Stand, is a statue of the famous player himself, sculpted by Preston-born sculptor Sardajee Om Puri. The statue, commissioned for Finney's 80th birthday and unveiled in July 2004, was inspired by a photo taken at the Chelsea versus PNE game played at Stamford Bridge, in 1956.
The game was in 1956. There had been a big downpour just before the kick off. The match would not have been played today because there were huge pools of water on the playing surface. I was going past a defender and the ball ran in to a pool of water. It was a fantastic photograph and it won the Sports Photograph of the Year award. The sculpture is a true likeness.
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