Preston North End F.C.

Preston North End
Full name Preston North End Football Club
Nickname(s) The Lilywhites, The Invincibles[1]
Founded 1880 (1880)[2]
Ground Deepdale
Ground Capacity 23,404[3]
Chairman Peter Ridsdale[4]
Manager Simon Grayson[5]
League Championship
2015–16 Championship, 11th
Website Club home page

Preston North End Football Club (often shortened to PNE) is a professional association football club located in the Deepdale area of Preston, Lancashire. They play in the Championship, the second tier of the English football league system.

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 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 2015–16, 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.[6]


Preston North End was founded in 1863, originally as a cricket club, playing their first matches at the Marsh near the River Ribble in the Preston suburb of Ashton, before switching later that year to Moor Park in the north of the town, adopting the "North End" name as a result. On 21 January 1875, the club leased a field opposite Moor Park on the site of the current Deepdale stadium, which has been their home ever since.[2]

The club adopted the 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, marking the foundation of Preston North End Football Club.[2]

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.[7]

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.[8]

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, but won promotion back as champions at the first attempt. Alan Ball, Sr., then manager, remarked that "Preston's fans are the best, they are the Gentry", and the club now designates one away fixture each season as "Gentry Day", intended for remembrance of deceased fans and players, which Preston fans attend in fancy dress, wearing bowler hats and gentleman's suits.[9][10][11]

Among others, World Cup winners Bobby Charlton and Nobby Stiles would manage the club during the 1970s and 80s, with varying degrees of success, but the overall trajectory was one of steady decline, and the club eventually fell into the Fourth Division for the first time in its history in 1985, finishing second bottom of the entire league the following season, and only avoiding relegation into the Football Conference via re-election.

John McGrath oversaw Preston's promotion back to the Third Division a year later, where they remained when John Beck took over in October 1992. 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 into the top flight. Preston hoped his "long ball" philosophy might work for them too, but Beck was unable to save Preston from relegation during his first season, and after defeat in the play-off final a year later, he was replaced by his assistant Gary Peters.

After signing strikers Andy Saville and Steve Wilkinson, Peters successfully guided Preston to the Division Three title in his first full season as manager, eventually quitting in February 1998, to be replaced by 34-year-old defender David Moyes.

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

Captained by Sean Gregan and featuring such players as Jon Macken, Graham Alexander and David Eyres, Preston quickly developed into Division Two promotion contenders under Moyes, reaching the 1998–99 play-offs, before being promoted as champions the following year. The club almost made it two promotions in a row to reach the Premier League, but lost to Bolton Wanderers in the 2001 play-off final. Moyes left for Everton the following season, and despite successive play-off campaigns under Billy Davies – when the team included Youl Mawéné, David Healy and England international David Nugent, the first Preston player to win a full England cap since Tom Finney in 1958 – and another play-off attempt under Alan Irvine, Preston were unable to achieve promotion to the Premier League during a ten-year spell in the second tier.

A succession of unsuccessful managerial appointments, starting with Darren Ferguson and ending with Graham Westley, saw the club relegated to League One and threatened with a further drop to the fourth tier after a club record run of 12 home games without a win under the latter's stewardship,[12] before an up-turn in fortunes began under current manager Simon Grayson, who was appointed in February 2013.

Simon Grayson era

Simon Grayson was appointed by the club on 18 February 2013 [13] and immediately made an impact. Preston went unbeaten in his first four games, drawing with Swindon Town and MK Dons, before achieving his first win as Preston boss against StevenageWestley's former club,[14] before following the win up with a win against Notts County. Of Grayson's next 10 games (the final 10 games of the League 1 season), Preston won 3, drew 4 and lost 3.

2013/14 season

In Grayson's first summer in charge, he permanently signed 4 players, Tom Clarke,[15] a centreback, Chris Humphrey,[16] a right winger, Kevin Davies,[17] a Centre forward and Alex Nicholson,[18] a right back. He also signed Declan Rudd on a season long loan[19] from Norwich City. He allowed 3 players to leave during the summer, those being Luke Foster,[20] Chris Robertson[21] and Andrew Procter.[22]

The 2013–14 season started off well, unbeaten in their first 9 league games. They also beat local rivals Blackpool in the League Cup, before being beaten by Lancashire rivals Burnley in the second round.

The 9 league game unbeaten run came to an end on 5 October, against Peterborough United, a 2–0 defeat[23] and was followed up with another 2–0 defeat, against Crewe.[24] Preston then went on another 9 game unbeaten league run, winning 5 and drawing 4, including a win against Leyton Orient, only their second league defeat of the season.[25] The unbeaten run came to an end after a 3–0 home defeat to Brentford,[26] but was followed up with 3 more consecutive wins, against Carlisle United, Shrewsbury Town and Port Vale.

Preston's FA Cup campaign started off successfully, with a 6–0 win over Barnet F.C. in the first round.[27] That was followed up with a 1–0 over Wycombe Wanderers.[28]

Preston's 2nd game of 2014 was against Wolves, which ended in a 2–0 defeat.[29] In the FA Cup, Preston came up against Ipswich Town in the 3rd round of the FA Cup, drawing 1–1,[30] before winning 3–2 in the replay.[31] In the Fourth Round of the FA Cup, Preston were drawn against Nottingham Forest. They drew 0–0[32] before Preston lost 0–2 in the replay.[33]

Following that loss, Preston then went onto a 12-game unbeaten run in the league, their 3rd of the season, which strengthed North End's position in the play off positions, placing them 17 points ahead of 7th placed M.K. Dons, with 27 points available. The unbeaten run was then lost after a 1–0 defeat by Swindon Town F.C.,[34] but was followed up with two consecutive wins against Peterborough United[35] and Crawley Town,[36] which all but secured their play off place, being 18 points clear of M.K. Dons, with 18 points to play for. The next game was a 1–1 draw with Bristol City [37] followed up with a 6–1 romp against Carlisle United.[38]

Preston won two and lost two of their final four league games of the season. They lost 1–0 to Brentford[39] Preston then went on to beat Shrewsbury Town[40] and Gillingham,[41] moving them up to 3rd place. The final game of the season was against Crewe, which they lost 2–1,[42] meaning they ended the season in 5th place.

The result meant that Preston would face Rotherham in the League One play-offs. The first leg ended in a 1–1 draw,[43] with a goal from Joe Garner. In the second leg, Preston took an early lead, through Paul Gallagher, but conceded 3 goals, losing the match 3–1 and 4–2 on aggregate.[44]

2014/15 season

In his second summer in charge Simon Grayson signed 5 players permanently – Jamie Jones,[45] Calum Woods,[46] Jordan Hugill,[47] Andy Little[48] and Kyel Reid[49] and brought Paul Gallagher in on a season long loan.[50] Preston also signed Callum Robinson on a two-month youth loan[51] in September and Jermaine Beckford on a season long loan[52] in November.

Preston allowed 9 players to leave Deepdale during the summer, those being Chris Beardsley,[53] Shane Cansdell-Sherriff,[53] Ryan Croasdale,[53] Graham Cummins,[53] Iain Hume,[53] John Mousinho,[53] Alex Nicholson,[53] Nicky Wroe[53] and Stuart Beavon.[54]

Preston started the season strongly, winning 2 and drawing 3 of the first five league games of the season. Preston suffered their first league loss of the season, against Walsall F.C.[55] in their sixth game of the season. Of their next 8 games, Preston won 7 and drew 1. After their first 14 games, Preston were in 2nd place, on 31 points, two points behind league leaders Bristol City F.C., but 5 points clear of 3rd place Swindon Town F.C..[56]

Preston then went on to lose their next 3 league games, against Rochdale,[57] Swindon Town F.C.[58] and Bradford City.[59]

In the midst of the league campaign, Preston were involved in 3 separate cup competitions. Preston found success in the Football League Trophy, reaching the Northern section final – losing 2–0 on aggregate to Walsall. In the League Cup, Preston faced, and defeated Rochdale in round 1,[60] before being beaten by Middlesbrough in the second round.[61] In the opening 3 rounds of the FA Cup, Preston defeated Havant & Waterlooville[62] in the first round, Shrewsbury Town[63] in the second and Norwich City[64] in the third round to put them in the hat for a potentially money-spinning trip to a Premier League side in the fourth round of the cup.

Meanwhile, in Preston's next 10 games, they won 4, drew 4 and lost 2 – although they did go on a 5 match winless run, culminating in a loss against Crawley Town.[65] During this run, Preston also faced Sheffield United in the FA Cup in the fourth Round. They drew 1–1 in the first game,[66] before winning 3–1 in the replay.[67] This set up a fifth round home tie against Manchester United.

Following Preston securing a home tie in the FA Cup against Manchester United, they went on a 18-game unbeaten run, winning 12 and drawing 6 of those games, including notable wins against promotion rivals MK Dons[68] and Swindon Town[69] placed them in prime position for automatic promotion, needing to win against relegation threatened Colchester United on the final day. Preston lost the game 1–0,[70] whilst MK Dons won, meaning that Preston finished the season in 3rd place and were in the play-offs again. Simon Grayson's side had been in the top two since the start of March and had not lost in the league since 31 January. They faced Chesterfield in the semi-finals of the play offs.

In the FA Cup, Preston lost 3–1 to Manchester United,[71] despite taking the lead through Scott Laird. That was Preston's only defeat during their unbeaten run between January and May.

In the first leg of the Play offs, Preston won 1–0,[72] thanks to a goal from Jermaine Beckford. In the second leg they won 3–0[73] thanks to Joe Garner's penalty and Jermaine Beckford's brace. They won the semi-finals 4–0 on aggregate and set up a play off final against Swindon Town. Preston, who had never won in the play offs in their previous nine appearances – which was a record at the time, beat Swindon Town 4–0 in the play-off final, including a hat-trick by Jermaine Beckford, winning promotion to the Championship.[74]


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 [3]
Field size 110 x 75 yards[75]
Built 1875
Renovated 1996–2009

The site of the current Deepdale stadium was first leased by the club in 1875 and was first used for association football in 1878.[76] The biggest attendance seen was 42,684 for a Division One clash with Arsenal in April 1938.[75]

Following a complete reconstruction between 1996 and 2009, the stadium has a seated capacity of 23,404.[3] The current pitch dimensions are 110 x 75 yards.[75]


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.[77]

However, in 2010 the museum was controversially closed, to be relocated to Urbis in Manchester, where it reopened in 2012.[78][79] The move prompted Sir Tom Finney to withdraw his personal memorabilia from the museum in protest.[80]

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.[80][81]


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 17 November 2016.

Current squad

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
2 Belgium DF Marnick Vermijl
3 Republic of Ireland DF Greg Cunningham
4 England MF Ben Pearson
5 England DF Tom Clarke (captain)
6 Australia DF Bailey Wright
7 Jamaica MF Chris Humphrey
8 Republic of Ireland MF Alan Browne
9 Denmark FW Simon Makienok (on loan from Palermo)
10 Jamaica FW Jermaine Beckford
11 Jamaica MF Daniel Johnson
12 Scotland MF Paul Gallagher
13 Republic of Ireland FW Eoin Doyle
14 Republic of Ireland MF Aiden McGeady (on loan from Everton)
15 England DF Calum Woods
No. Position Player
16 England MF Liam Grimshaw
17 England DF Tommy Spurr
18 England MF Ben Pringle
19 England MF John Welsh (vice-captain)
20 England DF Ben Davies
21 Scotland FW Stevie May
22 Wales GK Chris Maxwell
23 England DF Paul Huntington
25 England FW Jordan Hugill
27 England DF Alex Baptiste (on loan from Middlesbrough)
29 England FW Tom Barkhuizen (joins the club on 1 January 2017)[82]
30 England DF Grant Ferguson
31 England MF Adam Robinson
37 England FW Callum Robinson
40 England GK Matthew Hudson

Former players

Technical staff

Below is a list of non-playing personnel:[83]

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
Daniel Steve Cowell Kitman

Managerial history

As of 3 December 2016

The following is a list of Preston North End managers since 1986, excluding caretakers:[84][85]

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 41.211.51
Les Chapman  England 1990–1992 129 44 30 55 34.11 118 39 29 50 33.051.24
John Beck  England 1992–1994 99 36 20 43 36.36 87 31 19 37 35.631.29
Gary Peters  England 1994–1998 166 72 42 52 43.37 143 63 37 43 44.061.58
David Moyes  Scotland 1998–2002 234 113 60 61 48.29 196 95 53 48 48.471.72
Craig Brown  Scotland 2002–2004 106 36 30 40 33.96 97 32 28 37 32.991.28
Billy Davies  Scotland 2004–2006 101 45 35 21 45.55 87 40 31 16 45.981.74
Paul Simpson  England 2006–2007 67 27 14 26 40.30 62 25 14 23 40.321.44
Alan Irvine  Scotland 2007–2009 110 45 25 40 40.90 99 40 24 35 40.401.45
Darren Ferguson  Scotland 2010 49 13 11 25 26.53 45 11 11 23 24.440.98
Phil Brown  England 2011 51 15 15 21 29.41 42 13 11 18 30.951.19
Graham Westley  England 2012–2013 62 16 23 23 25.81 52 11 21 20 21.151.04
Simon Grayson  England 2013– 207 95 64 48 45.89 171 75 57 39 43.86 1.65





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

Club records


Historically, Preston North End's main rivalry was 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.[91]

However, since Blackpool's relegation down to League Two in 2016, Preston's local rivals have been Burnley and fellow Championship side Blackburn Rovers.


The club's main sponsors since shirt sponsorship was introduced in 1979 have been as follows:[92]

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[93]
2014–2016 Virgin Trains[94]
2016– 888sport

Women's football

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 A.F.C. Fylde.[95]

2013 Fans' All-Time XI

In 2013, the club asked supporters to vote for the "Fans' All-Time XI". The results were as follows:[96]


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