Preston North End F.C.

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Preston North End
Full namePreston North End Football Club
Nickname(s)The Lilywhites, The Invincibles
Short namePNE
Founded1880; 144 years ago (1880)
OwnerWordon Limited
ChairmanCraig Hemmings
ManagerRyan Lowe
LeagueEFL Championship
2022–23EFL Championship, 12th of 24
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Preston North End Football Club, commonly referred to as Preston, North End or PNE, is a professional association football club in Preston, Lancashire, England. They currently play in the EFL Championship, the second level of the English football league system.

Originally a cricket club, Preston has been based at Deepdale since 1875. The club first took up football in 1878 as a winter fitness activity, and decided to focus on it in May 1880, when the football club was officially founded. Deepdale is now football's oldest ground in terms of continuous use by a league club. Preston North End was a founder member of the Football League in 1888. In the 1888–89 season, the team won both the inaugural league championship and the FA Cup, the latter without conceding a goal. They were the first team to achieve the "Double" in English football and, as they were unbeaten in all matches, are remembered as "The Invincibles". Preston won the league championship again in 1889–90 but their only major success since then has been their 1938 FA Cup final victory over Huddersfield Town. The club's most famous players have been Tom Finney and Bill Shankly, who are both commemorated at Deepdale by stands named after them. Other notable players include Tommy Docherty, Alan Kelly Sr., Graham Alexander and Paul Gallagher.

Until 1961, Preston were usually members of the First Division but, having been relegated after the 1960–61 season, they have not yet returned to the top flight. They were first relegated to the Third Division after the 1969–70 season and have spent 28 of the 49 seasons since 1970 in the bottom two divisions of the Football League, including a span of 19 seasons from 1981–1982 to 1999–2000. Preston has faced serious financial issues and was twice in danger of closure. The club was owned by businessman Trevor Hemmings until his death in October 2021 and has been in the EFL Championship since gaining promotion in 2015.


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

Preston North End was founded in 1863, originally as a cricket club, and played their first matches at the Marsh near the River Ribble in the Preston suburb of Ashton. Later that year, they switched to Moor Park in the north of the town, calling themselves "North End" in recognition of the new location. On 21 January 1875, the club leased a field opposite Moor Park on the site of the current Deepdale stadium, which has been its home ever since.[1]

The club formed a rugby union team in 1877 as a winter fitness activity but this was not a success and, a year later, they played their first game under the rules of association football. In May 1880, a proposal to fully adopt the association code was unanimously accepted and Preston North End Football Club was officially founded.[1]

Preston became one of the first professional clubs by hiring players from Scotland. The players who came from Scotland to play in England in those days were known as the Scotch Professors. In 1887, they beat Hyde 26–0 in the first round of the FA Cup, still a record winning margin in English first-class football. Scottish forward Jimmy Ross scored eight goals in the match before going on to score 19 goals in the competition that season, also still a record.[2][3]

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

In 1888–89, Preston 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.[4] The team did so with a majority of their team being made up of Scottish players (the Scotch Professors).[5] In a contribution to Paul Agnew's 1989 biography of Tom Finney, the player himself wrote: "The club has long been known as Proud Preston, and the Old Invincibles of the previous century set some incredible standards".[6] The author wrote elsewhere: "...and that team became immortalised as the 'Old Invincibles'".[7] Other sources call the team "The Invincibles" and both versions of the nickname have been used.[8] In his autobiography, Finney wrote: "The championship stayed with North End — by now tagged the Old Invincibles — the following year, but runners-up spot had to suffice for the next three seasons".[9] As Finney said, Preston were league champions again in 1889–90, but have not won the title since. In total, they have been league runners-up six times, including the three consecutive seasons from 1890 to 1891 to 1892–93, and twice in the 1950s when Finney was playing. The club's last major trophy win was in the 1938 FA Cup Final when they defeated Huddersfield Town 1–0 and the team included Bill Shankly, Andy Beattie and goalscorer George Mutch.[10]

Preston's most famous player, Tom Finney, joined the club as a teenager in 1938. His first team debut was delayed until 1946 by the Second World War but he played for Preston until he retired in 1960. He was nicknamed the "Preston Plumber" because of his local business. Finney remains the club's top goalscorer, with 187 goals from 433 appearances, and also scored 30 international goals for England in 76 appearances.[11]

A year after Finney's retirement, Preston were relegated to the Second Division and have not played in the top division since. They had a memorable season in 1963–64 when, managed by former player Jimmy Milne, they finished third in the Second Division and reached the 1964 FA Cup Final where they lost a thrilling match 3–2 to West Ham United.

Preston were first relegated to the Third Division after the 1969–70 season. Although they won promotion again immediately, the team have spent 28 of the 49 seasons since 1970 in the bottom two divisions, including a span of 19 seasons from 1981 to 1982 to 1999–2000. The club experienced a near-terminal decline in the 1980s which brought about the very real threat of closure, the nadir being the 1985–86 season when they finished 23rd in the Fourth Division and had to seek re-election to the league.

Under David Moyes, Preston were Division Two champions in 2000, and narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier League the following season.

Under manager John McGrath, the team recovered and won promotion back to the Third Division only a year later but it was a false dawn as the team spent another three years in the bottom division from 1993 to 1996. The club finally began to recover and move forward after a takeover by heating manufacturer Baxi in 1994 but their ownership ended in June 2002.[12][13] The team's central defender David Moyes, then aged 34, began his managerial career when appointed by the Baxi-controlled board in February 1998. Moyes was successful and managed the team to the third tier championship in 2000. Preston reached the 2001 play-off final but were defeated by Bolton Wanderers. In the 2005 play-off final, under Moyes' successor Billy Davies, Preston were beaten 1–0 by West Ham United.[14]

Following the Baxi sell-off and the departure of Moyes to Everton in 2002, the team was established at second tier level through the 2000s but more problems arose at the end of the decade with an HM Revenue and Customs winding-up order in 2010 and relegation to the third tier in 2011. The taxation issue was resolved by local businessman Trevor Hemmings, already a shareholder, who bought a controlling interest in June 2010.[15] The team were promoted again, via the play-offs, in 2015 and have been well-placed in the EFL Championship since then.

Deepdale was the original cricket club's home from 1875 and has been a football venue from 1878. It is the world's oldest football ground in terms of continuous use by a club in a major league. When Baxi took control, it embarked on an investment programme which had the main goal of upgrading Deepdale into a modern stadium. The old ground was demolished and rebuilt in four stages and the last of the new stands was opened in 2008. Part of the redevelopment was the original National Football Museum which opened at Deepdale in 2001, but it was relocated to Manchester in 2012 after being closed for two years.[16]


Deepdale stadium

The site of the current Deepdale stadium was first leased by the club in 1875 and was first used for association football in 1878. The biggest attendance seen was 42,684 for a Division One clash with Arsenal in April 1938. Following a complete reconstruction between 1996 and 2009, the stadium has a seated capacity of 23,404. The current pitch dimensions are 110 x 75 yards.[17]


The Splash commemorates Preston legend Tom Finney.

Outside the Sir Tom Finney Stand is a statue of the famous player himself, which is known as "The Splash" or the "Tom Finney Splash". The statue, sculpted by Peter Hodgkinson and unveiled in July 2004, was inspired by a famous photograph taken at the Chelsea versus Preston game in 1956, played at Stamford Bridge in particularly wet conditions.[17]

1913 terrorist incident[edit]

An attempt was made to destroy the ground in 1913. As part of the suffragette bombing and arson campaign, suffragettes carried out a series of bombings and arson attacks nationwide during their campaign for women's suffrage.[18] In April 1913, suffragettes attempted to burn down Deepdale's grandstand but were foiled.[19] In the same year, suffragettes succeeded in burning down Arsenal's then South London stadium, and also attempted to burn down Blackburn Rovers' ground.[19] More traditionally male sports were targeted in order to protest against male dominance.[20]

Sponsorship and kits[edit]

Preston North End have traditionally worn white shirts with blue shorts for their home, with yellow being a common colour for Preston's away kit. The club's main sponsors, since shirt sponsorship was introduced in 1979, have been as follows:[21]

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
2014–2016 Virgin Trains
2016–2017 888sport
2017–2018 Tempobet
2018–2021 32Red
2021–present PAR Group


Historically, Preston North End's main rivalry is with Blackpool — the two clubs' grounds being seventeen miles apart — and the West Lancashire derby between the two clubs has been contested 96 times across all four divisions of the Football League and cup competitions since 1901.[22] Preston's other local rivals in the league over the years include Blackburn Rovers, Burnley, Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic.


As of 22 July 2023

Current squad[edit]

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK England ENG Freddie Woodman
3 DF Republic of Ireland IRL Greg Cunningham
4 MF England ENG Ben Whiteman (vice-captain)
5 DF Germany GER Patrick Bauer
6 DF Scotland SCO Liam Lindsay
7 FW Republic of Ireland IRL Will Keane
8 MF Republic of Ireland IRL Alan Browne (captain)
9 FW Wales WAL Ched Evans
10 MF Denmark DEN Mads Frøkjær-Jensen
11 MF Republic of Ireland IRL Robbie Brady
13 MF Northern Ireland NIR Ali McCann
14 DF England ENG Jordan Storey
16 DF Wales WAL Andrew Hughes
17 FW England ENG Layton Stewart
18 MF England ENG Ryan Ledson
No. Pos. Nation Player
19 FW Denmark DEN Emil Riis Jakobsen
20 MF Wales WAL Ben Woodburn
21 GK Wales WAL David Cornell
23 FW Canada CAN Liam Millar (on loan from Basel)
24 FW Argentina ARG Felipe Rodriguez-Gentile
25 MF United States USA Duane Holmes
26 DF England ENG Jack Whatmough
28 FW Montenegro MNE Milutin Osmajić
30 MF England ENG Kian Taylor
33 DF England ENG Kian Best
35 MF France FRA Noah Mawene
36 DF Republic of Ireland IRL Josh Seary
37 MF England ENG Kaedyn Kamara
44 MF England ENG Brad Potts

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. Pos. Nation Player
29 FW England ENG Finlay Cross-Adair (on loan at Annan Athletic)
32 MF England ENG Lewis Leigh (on loan at Crewe Alexandra)
34 DF England ENG Kitt Nelson (on loan at Workington)
38 GK Wales WAL James Pradic (on loan at Bamber Bridge)

Former players[edit]

Technical staff[edit]

Below is a list of non-playing personnel:[23][24]

Name Role
Ryan Lowe Manager
Mike Marsh First Team Coach
Peter Murphy First Team Coach
Mike Pollitt Goalkeeping Coach
Matt Jackson Head of Medicine
John Lucas Head of Physical Performance
Nick Harrison Academy Manager
Andy Livingstone Head of Academy Recruitment
James Wallace Chief Scout
Paul Huddy Kitman

Managerial history[edit]

As of 11 Dec 2021

The following is a list of Preston North End managers since 1986, excluding caretakers:[25][26]

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 2013–2017 235 104 74 57 44.26 198 84 67 47 42.42 1.61
Alex Neil  Scotland 2017–2021 140 55 39 46 39.29 129 51 37 41 39.53 1.47
Frankie McAvoy  Scotland 2021 33 14 9 10 42.4 22 8 8 6 36.36 1.45
Ryan Lowe  England 2021– 26 10 9 7 38.5 25 10 9 6 40.00 1.56

Club records[edit]


In 1996, Preston's Third Division title made them the third club to have been champions of each of the top four professional leagues in English football. This feat was previously achieved by Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1988, and Burnley in 1992, and has since been achieved by Sheffield United and Portsmouth both in 2017.



Women's football[edit]

The previously affiliated women's football team was called Preston North End W.F.C. In May 2016, they became Fylde Ladies F.C, in association with National League North side AFC Fylde.[32]


  1. ^ a b "Preston North End FC History". Preston North End. 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  2. ^ "FA Cup Heroes". The Football Association. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  3. ^ "The Scottish Professors and their role in football's first Invincibles". 19 February 2019.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Aitken, Mike (22 March 2008). "Scots passing pioneers shaped football". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 6 March 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
  6. ^ Agnew, p. 55.
  7. ^ Agnew, p. 53.
  8. ^ "Remembering when Preston were The Invincibles". Bolton News. 15 June 2001. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  9. ^ Finney, Tom (2003). Tom Finney – My Autobiography. London: Headline Publishing. p. 113. ISBN 0-7553-1106-X.
  10. ^ "Results & Matches on Saturday, 30 Apr 1938". Racing Post. 2018. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  11. ^ Finney, My Autobiography, pp. 415–419.
  12. ^ "Col backed Baxi's PNE revolution". Lancashire Evening Post. 8 February 2014. Archived from the original on 8 August 2018. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  13. ^ "Baxi in PNE sell-off". Lancashire Evening Post. 28 June 2002. Archived from the original on 8 August 2018. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  14. ^ "West Ham 1–0 Preston". BBC Sport. 30 May 2005. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  15. ^ "Deal agreed for Preston North End takeover". BBC Sport. 4 June 2010. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  16. ^ Airey, Tom (6 July 2012). "National Football Museum opens at new Manchester home". BBC News. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  17. ^ a b "Deepdale – Preston North End". Football Ground Guide (FGG). 2018. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  18. ^ "Suffragettes, violence and militancy". British Library. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  19. ^ a b Kay, Joyce (2008). "It Wasn't Just Emily Davison! Sport, Suffrage and Society in Edwardian Britain". The International Journal of the History of Sport. 25 (10): 1343. doi:10.1080/09523360802212271. hdl:1893/765. ISSN 0952-3367. S2CID 154063364.
  20. ^ Kay, Joyce (2008). "It Wasn't Just Emily Davison! Sport, Suffrage and Society in Edwardian Britain". The International Journal of the History of Sport. 25 (10): 1345–1346. doi:10.1080/09523360802212271. hdl:1893/765. ISSN 0952-3367. S2CID 154063364.
  21. ^ "Preston North End – Sponsors Through the Years". 2018. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  22. ^ "Rivalry uncovered! The results of the largest ever survey into club rivalries" (PDF). The Football Fans Census. December 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2007.
  23. ^ "First Team Management". PNEFC.
  24. ^ "Academy Staff". PNEFC.
  25. ^ "List of Preston North End F.C. Managers". Preston North End. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  26. ^ "Preston Manager History – Past & Present – Soccer Base".
  27. ^ a b c d "Milestones". Preston North End FC. 3 January 2008. Archived from the original on 7 March 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
  28. ^ "Less than Cristiano Ronaldo's weekly wage: Preston North End's 19 most expensive signings of all time adjusted for inflation". Lancashire Post. 6 September 2023. Retrieved 6 September 2023.
  29. ^ "Jordan Hugill: West Ham sign Preston striker in reported £10m deal". BBC Sport. 31 January 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  30. ^ "Age is just a number – Graham Alexander". BBC Sport. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  31. ^ 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.
  32. ^ "PNE women's team have fresh start as Fylde Ladies". Blackpool Gazette. 25 May 2016. Archived from the original on 1 July 2016. Retrieved 2 June 2016.

External links[edit]