Preston North End F.C.

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Preston North End
PNE FC.png
Full name Preston North End Football Club
Nickname(s) The Lilywhites, PNE, The Whites, Preston, The Invincibles
Founded 1880; 136 years ago (1880)[1]
Ground Deepdale
Ground Capacity 23,404[2]
Chairman Peter Ridsdale[3]
Manager Simon Grayson[4]
League The Championship
2014–15 League One, 3rd
(promoted via play-offs)
Website Club home page
Current season

Preston North End Football Club (often shortened to PNE) is an English football club located in the Deepdale area of Preston, Lancashire. They currently play in the Championship, the second tier of the English football league system, having won promotion from League One via the play-offs at the end of the 2014–15 season.

The club was a founding member of the Football League and completed the inaugural season unbeaten to become the first league champions, in the same season winning the FA Cup without conceding a goal to become the first club to achieve the English football "Double". Preston's unbeaten League and Cup season earned them the nickname "The Invincibles".

Preston's most recent major trophy success was their FA Cup victory over Huddersfield Town F.C. in 1938. Many notable players have played for the club, including Tom Finney, Bill Shankly, Tommy Docherty, Alan Kelly, Sr. and Graham Alexander.

Based on results achieved in the Football League from 1888–89 to 2014–15, Preston were ranked as the fourth most-successful English football club of all time domestically, while only Notts County had played more Football League games than Preston.[5]


Preston North End was originally founded as a cricket club in 1863, by Mr Walter Pomfret of Deepdale Road, who was the first person to rent the field on which North End has always played. The original rent was £8 per year. As Preston already had a strong town's club, they adopted the "North End" suffix because they moved to the North End of the town when Moor Park opened, playing their matches at Moor Park. Prior to that they played at Bow Lane. The club adopted rugby union code in 1877, but one year later they played their first game under the rules of association football, and in May 1880 unanimously passed a resolution to adopt the association code.[1]

Preston North End were famously successful during the early years of professional football in England. In 1887, Preston beat Hyde 26–0 in the First Round of the FA Cup, still a record winning margin in English first-class football. Preston forward Jimmy Ross scored eight goals in the match, going on to score 19 goals in the competition that season, also still a record.[6]

In 1888–89, they became the first league champions and the first winners of "The Double", becoming the only team to date to go throughout an entire season unbeaten in both the league and FA Cup – winning the FA Cup without conceding a goal.[7]

Preston were league champions again the following season, but have not won the title since. The club's last major trophy was an FA Cup triumph in 1938.

Preston North End in 1888–89, the first Football League champions, subsequently doing 'The Double'

Preston's most famous player, Sir Tom Finney, played for the club between 1946 and 1960. Finney is considered to be one of the greatest footballers of all time, and was also a local lad, dubbed the "Preston Plumber" due to his professional training as a plumber. Finney remains the club's top goalscorer, with 187 goals from 433 appearances, and also scored 30 international goals for England.

Following Finney's retirement, Preston were relegated to the Second Division in 1961 and have not played in the top division since. The club did reach the FA Cup final in 1964, but lost to West Ham United. Preston were relegated to the Third Division in the 1969–70 season. The club won the Third Division title at the first attempt and so returned to the Second Division.

Bobby Charlton, an England World Cup winner from 1966, was appointed Preston manager in 1973, but was unable to prevent the club from sliding into the Third Division in his first season and left after two years in charge. A brief respite in 1978 saw Preston win promotion back to the Second Division, but go down after three seasons. In 1985 the club fell into the Fourth Division for the first time in its history.

Under David Moyes, Preston were soon promoted to Division One from Two in the millennium.

In 1986, Preston finished second from bottom in the Fourth Division and only avoided dropping into the Football Conference because the other Football League members voted in favour of the division's bottom four teams retaining their senior status.

The arrival of new manager John McGrath saw Preston win promotion to the Third Division a year later and they were still at this level when McGrath left in 1990. Veteran player Les Chapman took over as manager, but left in October 1992 to be replaced by John Beck. The 38-year-old Beck had only recently been sacked by Cambridge United, where he had achieved two successive promotions and come close to attaining a unique third. Beck was unable to save Preston from relegation from the first season of the new Division Two. He endured a Division Three play-off final failure before quitting in 1994 to be replaced by his assistant Gary Peters.

Peters guided Preston to Division Three title glory in his first full season as manager and quit in February 1998, to be replaced by 34-year-old defender David Moyes. Preston quickly developed into Division Two promotion contenders under Moyes, reaching the 1998–99 play-offs but losing out to Gillingham in the semi-finals, before finally being promoted as champions a year later.


Preston finished the last millennium by winning promotion from Division 2 in the 1999–2000 season as champions. The club almost made it two promotions in a row in 2001 but lost 3–0 to Bolton Wanderers in the Division One play-off final.

Moyes left for Everton in March 2002 and his assistant Kelham O'Hanlon took over for the remainder of the season. Preston narrowly missed out on the play-offs, and in the summer former Scotland manager Craig Brown took over as manager. Preston were little more than a mid-table side during Brown's tenure, though never in any real danger of being relegated. He left in August 2004 to be succeeded by his assistant Billy Davies.

Chart showing the progress of Preston North End through the English football league system.

Davies guided Preston to the Championship playoff final in his first season as manager, but they lost to West Ham United. The club reached the play-offs again the following year, this time losing at the semi-final stage to Leeds United. Davies then moved to Derby County (subsequently achieving promotion with them via the play-offs), and was replaced by Carlisle United boss Paul Simpson, who took over Davies's team and initially carried on where Davies left off.

Preston spent much of the 2006–07 season in the automatic promotion or play-off places. However, from March 2007 the club slid rapidly down the league. This happened despite holding on to David Nugent in the transfer window and Simpson being allowed to bring in a number of loan signings. The club failed to make the end-of-season play-offs, finishing the season in seventh place, despite a 1–0 victory over Birmingham City at Deepdale on the final day of the season.

On 11 July 2007, Nugent, the first Preston player to win an England cap for 50 years, left the club to join Portsmouth for a reported transfer fee of £6,000,000. Although the club lost only one key player and brought in several players including Darren Carter, Kevin Nicholls and Karl Hawley to reshape the team, they did not recover from their poor run of form.

In August 2007, Simpson banned the playing of Elvis Presley's Can't Help Falling in Love before games, a song which had been a popular part of the pre-match music at Deepdale for over ten years, stating, "I don't know whose idea this song is at the start, because it seems to put everyone in a bit of a depression. We have to make sure we get something which the players respond to and go out and perform and the fans respond to as well. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we are losing games because of that song. But we have to do whatever we can to generate an atmosphere",[8] a move which angered some Preston fans.[9]

After a bad start to the 2007–08 season which saw the club pick up just three wins, Paul Simpson was sacked as manager on 13 November 2007.

On 20 November, Everton's assistant manager Alan Irvine was appointed as Preston's new manager on a three-and-a-half year deal. He achieved his first objective as manager by finishing in 15th place, thus securing Preston's survival in the Championship.

The following season, he led Preston to 6th place in the Championship after a good run of form towards the end of the season, qualifying for the play-offs. The club again missed out on promotion to the Premier League after losing 2–1 on aggregate to Sheffield United.

On 29 December 2008, Irvine was sacked after a poor run of results, with the club appointing Darren Ferguson as his successor on 6 January 2009. Ferguson made his home debut in a 2–0 loss to Chelsea in the fourth round of the FA Cup. However, Preston won their next two games, beating Ferguson's old club Peterborough United 1–0 and Ipswich Town 2–0. This was followed by a run of poor results and Preston were soon in danger of relegation, but a 3–2 home victory against Scunthorpe United secured their survival in the Championship.

In the 2009–10 season, Preston finished in 17th place. On 28 September 2010, Preston North End became the first away team to score six goals at Elland Road. Trailing 4–2 at half time, Preston made a sensational second-half comeback to win the match 6–4,[10] with Jon Parkin scoring his second hat-trick of 2010 (the first being in the 7–0 thrashing of Colchester in the F.A. Cup Third Round on 2 January 2010[11]), but his first league hat-trick in over 5 years. On 29 December 2010 Darren Ferguson was sacked following a 1–3 home defeat to relegation rivals Middlesbrough, leaving the club bottom of the Championship.

Former Hull City manager Phil Brown was appointed as Ferguson's replacement, but could only achieve his first win in his 13th game in charge. This sparked an improved run of form, but could not prevent relegation to League One, confirmed by a 0–1 home defeat to Cardiff City in April.[12] The relegation was marked by the traditional Burial of the Coffin in Bamber Bridge on 24 July 2011.

Brown was sacked on 14 December 2011 after less than a year in charge, being temporarily replaced by Graham Alexander and David Unsworth.[13] After four weeks of interviews, Preston approached Stevenage manager Graham Westley and he was appointed manager on Friday 13 January 2012.[14] Following a poor string of results, including a club record run of 12 home games without a win,[15] Westley was sacked as Preston manager on 13 February 2013.[16]

On 18 February 2013, it was confirmed that Simon Grayson had taken charge of Preston, to be joined at the club by Glynn Snodin, who had worked alongside Grayson at both Leeds United and Huddersfield Town.[17] At the end of the 2012–13 season Preston were safe in 14th place, 11 points clear of relegation.[18]

The club organises an annual "Gentry Day", to remember members of the club community who are no longer with them.[19] In 1970 Alan Ball, Sr., the manager who led them to the Third Division title, said ‘Preston's fans are the best, they are the Gentry’. This led many Preston fans to attend games wearing bowler hats and suits.[20][21]

Preston won promotion to the Championship after beating Swindon Town 4–0 in the League One play-off Final on 24 May 2015, having failed in their previous nine appearances in the play-offs.[22]


Main article: Deepdale
Full name Deepdale Stadium
Location Sir Tom Finney Way, Preston, England, PR1 6RU
Coordinates 53°46′20″N 2°41′17″W / 53.77222°N 2.68806°W / 53.77222; -2.68806Coordinates: 53°46′20″N 2°41′17″W / 53.77222°N 2.68806°W / 53.77222; -2.68806
Owner Preston North End F.C.
Operator Preston North End F.C.
Capacity 23,404 [2]
Field size 110 x 75 yards[23]
Built 1875
Renovated 1996–2009
Preston North End F.C. (1878–present)
Lancashire Lynx (1996–2000)

Deepdale Stadium was first leased by the club in 1875 and was first used for association football in 1878.[24] The biggest attendance seen was 42,684 for a Division One clash with Arsenal in April 1938.[23]

Following a complete reconstruction between 1996 and 2009, the stadium has a seated capacity of 23,404.[2] The current pitch dimensions are 110 x 75 yards.[23]


The stadium was the original location for the National Football Museum, which opened in 2001, recognising Deepdale's status as the world's oldest football league ground still in use.[25]

However, in 2010 the museum was controversially closed, to be relocated to Urbis in Manchester, where it reopened in 2012.[26][27] The move prompted Sir Tom Finney to withdraw his personal memorabilia from the museum in protest.[28]

Despite the museum's closure at Deepdale, the National Football Museum retained the long-term lease on its former site, which has since been used to store 90% of the museum's collection and as an "archive and research centre", but has otherwise remained vacant and closed to the public, despite periodic proposals to put the site to other uses.[28][29]


The Splash commemorates Preston legend Tom Finney.

Outside the Sir Tom Finney Stand, is a statue of the famous player himself, this is known as The Splash or the Tom Finney Splash.

The statue, unveiled in July 2004, was inspired by a photo taken at the Chelsea versus PNE game played at Stamford Bridge, in 1956.

The match took place on a rainy day, with Preston playing Chelsea and players generally sliding everywhere.

The statue was sculpted by Peter Hodgkinson.


As of 9 February 2016.

Current squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Denmark GK Anders Lindegaard (on loan from West Brom)
2 Belgium DF Marnick Vermijl (on loan from Sheff Wed)
3 Republic of Ireland DF Greg Cunningham
4 England MF Ben Pearson
5 England DF Tom Clarke (team captain)
6 Australia DF Bailey Wright
7 Jamaica MF Chris Humphrey
8 Australia MF Neil Kilkenny
10 Jamaica FW Jermaine Beckford
11 Jamaica MF Daniel Johnson
12 Scotland MF Paul Gallagher
13 Republic of Ireland FW Eoin Doyle (on loan from Cardiff City)
14 England FW Joe Garner
15 England DF Calum Woods
No. Position Player
16 Republic of Ireland MF Alan Browne
18 Northern Ireland FW Andy Little
19 England MF John Welsh (club captain/team vice-captain)
23 England DF Paul Huntington
24 Scotland FW Stevie May
25 England FW Jordan Hugill
28 England DF Nick Anderton
29 England DF Josh Heaton
30 England DF Clive Smith
31 England MF Liam Grimshaw
32 England MF Adam Reach (on loan from Middlesbrough)
37 England FW Callum Robinson (on loan from Aston Villa)
40 England GK Matthew Hudson
43 England GK Chris Kirkland

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
17 England MF Kyel Reid (at Bradford City until end of season)[30]
20 England DF Ben Davies (at Newport County until 13 February 2016)[31]
22 England MF Josh Brownhill (at Barnsley until end of season)[32]
27 England FW Jack Ryan (at Southport until end of season)[33]

Former players[edit]

Technical staff[edit]

Below is a list of non-playing personnel:[34]

Name Role
Simon Grayson Manager
Glynn Snodin Assistant Manager
Steve Thompson First Team Coach
Alan Kelly, Jr. Goalkeeping Coach
Matt Jackson Head Physio
John Sumner Club Massuer
Nick Harrison Academy Manager
Ian Miller Chief Scout

Managerial history[edit]

As of 7 February 2016

The following is a list of Preston North End managers since 1986, excluding caretakers:[35][36]

Manager Nationality Period Total League
G W D L Win % G W D L Win % Point Av.
John McGrath  England 1986–1990 192 74 53 65 38.54 165 68 45 54 41.21 1.51
Les Chapman  England 1990–1992 129 44 30 55 34.11 118 39 29 50 33.05 1.24
John Beck  England 1992–1994 99 36 20 43 36.36 87 31 19 37 35.63 1.29
Gary Peters  England 1994–1998 166 72 42 52 43.37 143 63 37 43 44.06 1.58
David Moyes  Scotland 1998–2002 234 113 60 61 48.29 196 95 53 48 48.47 1.72
Craig Brown  Scotland 2002–2004 106 36 30 40 33.96 97 32 28 37 32.99 1.28
Billy Davies  Scotland 2004–2006 101 45 35 21 45.55 87 40 31 16 45.98 1.74
Paul Simpson  England 2006–2007 67 27 14 26 40.30 62 25 14 23 40.32 1.44
Alan Irvine  Scotland 2007–2009 110 45 25 40 40.90 99 40 24 35 40.40 1.45
Darren Ferguson  Scotland 2010 49 13 11 25 26.53 45 11 11 23 24.44 0.98
Phil Brown  England 2011 51 15 15 21 29.41 42 13 11 18 30.95 1.19
Graham Westley  England 2012–2013 62 16 23 23 25.81 52 11 21 20 21.15 1.04
Simon Grayson  England 2013– 168 79 55 34 47.02 136 62 48 26 45.59 1.72





In 1996, Preston's Third Division title made the club the fourth and most recent to have been champions of all four professional leagues in English football. This feat had previously been achieved only by Huddersfield Town in 1983, Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1988 and local rivals Burnley in 1992.[citation needed]

Club records[edit]


Preston North End's primary rivalry has historically been with Blackpool. The West Lancashire derby between the two clubs has been contested nearly 100 times across all four divisions of the Football League since 1901.[42]

Since Blackpool's relegation to League One in 2015, Preston's local rivals have included fellow Championship sides Blackburn Rovers and Burnley.


The club's main sponsors since shirt sponsorship was introduced in 1979 have been as follows:[43]

Years Sponsor(s)
1979–1984 Pontins
1984–1985 David Leil
1985–1986 Lombard Continental
1986–1990 Garratt's Insurance
1990–1992 Ribble Valley Shelving
1992–1995 Coloroll
1995–2002 Baxi
2002–2005 New Reg
2005–2010 Enterprise
2010–2012 Tennent's
2012–2013 Magners
2013–2014 The Football Pools/Carers Trust[44]
2014– Virgin Trains[45]

Women's football[edit]

The affiliated women's football team is called Preston North End W.F.C., they currently play in the FA Women's Premier League Northern Division.

2013 Fans' All-Time XI[edit]


  1. ^ a b History of the club at official site
  2. ^ a b c Deepdale Stadium
  3. ^ David Conn (3 October 2012). "Football League plans to examine Peter Ridsdale's role at Preston". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  4. ^ Simon Grayson Appointed Manager
  5. ^ "England : All Time Table". Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  6. ^ "FA Cup Heroes". The Football Association. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  7. ^ In 2003–04, Arsenal also achieved an unbeaten season in the top flight, but they went out of the FA Cup at the semi-final stage.
  8. ^ Ellis, Brian (28 August 2007). "Elvis banned from Deepdale". Lancashire Evening Post. Retrieved 29 March 2008. 
  9. ^ Edbrooke, David (19 September 2008). "Preston North End prospering under Alan Irvine". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "BBC Sport – Football – Leeds 4–6 Preston". BBC News. 28 September 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  11. ^ Steve Martyn (3 January 2010). "Preston 7 Colchester 0: Jon Parkin scores a hat-trick as managerless Preston run riot | Mail Online". Daily Mail (UK). Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  12. ^ "Preston 0 – 1 Cardiff". BBC Sport. 25 April 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2011. 
  13. ^ "Preston North End sack Phil Brown as Graham Alexander takes on role in interim". Daily Record. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  14. ^ "New Manager Appointed". Preston North End. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  15. ^ "Ridsdale backing for Westley". Sky Sports. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  16. ^ "Preston sack Westley". 
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^
  19. ^ [2]
  20. ^ [3]
  21. ^ [4]
  22. ^ "Preston 4–0 Swindon" - BBC Sport, 24 May 2015
  23. ^ a b c "North End Statistics". Preston North End FC. 3 April 2008. Archived from the original on 9 December 2008. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  24. ^ "Deepdale Stadium". Preston North End FC. 23 July 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  25. ^ Airey, Tom (6 July 2012), National Football Museum opens at new Manchester home, BBC News, retrieved 7 July 2012 
  26. ^ Anger over football museum move, BBC News, 19 November 2009, retrieved 8 March 2014 
  27. ^ Manchester's Urbis closes to become football museum, BBC News, 27 February 2010, retrieved 8 March 2014 
  28. ^ a b 12,000 join campaign for Sir Tom Finney Museum, LEP, 19 February 2014, retrieved 8 March 2014 
  29. ^ New lease of life for museum, LEP, 2 January 2013, retrieved 8 March 2014 
  30. ^ "Reid Extends Bradford Stay". PNEFC. 8 January 2016. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  31. ^ "Ben Davies Joins Newport County On Loan". PNEFC. 7 January 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2016. 
  32. ^ "Josh Brownhill Extends Barnsley Stay". PNEFC. 1 February 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  33. ^ "Jack Ryan Extends Southport Loan". PNEFC. 5 January 2016. Retrieved 5 January 2016. 
  34. ^ "Management profiles". Preston North End. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  35. ^ "List of Preston North End F.C. Managers". Preston North End. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  36. ^ Preston North End managers at Soccerbase
  37. ^ a b c d Up until 1992, the top division of English football was the Football League First Division; since then, it has been the Premier League. Similarly until 1992, the Second Division was the second tier of league football, when it became the First Division, and is now known as The Championship. The third tier was the Third Division until 1992, and is now known as League One.
  38. ^ a b c d e "Milestones". Preston North End FC. 3 January 2008. Archived from the original on 7 March 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  39. ^ "Preston North End | Club | History | History | North End Statistics". Preston North End. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  40. ^ "Zibaka Breaks North End Record". League Football Education. 14 September 2011. Retrieved 27 November 2011. 
  41. ^ "Age is just a number – Graham Alexander". BBC Sport. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 27 November 2011. 
  42. ^ Soccerbase Head-to-Head
  43. ^ "Preston North End – Sponsors Through the Years". Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  44. ^ "Sponsorship Puts Charities First". PNE. 8 July 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  45. ^ "Preston North End Agree Virgin Trains Partnership". PNE. 5 August 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014. 
  46. ^ "Bruce & Nugent Complete Fans’ Team". PNE. 7 August 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2013. 

External links[edit]