Preston North End F.C.

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Preston North End
Preston North End FC.svg
Full namePreston North End Football Club
Nickname(s)The Lilywhites
Founded1880;141 years ago (1880)
Ground Deepdale
Manager Frankie McAvoy
League Championship
2020–21 Championship, 13th of 24
Website Club website
Soccerball current event.svg Current season

Preston North End Football Club is a professional football club in Preston, Lancashire, whose first team currently plays in the EFL Championship, the second tier 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 major 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., and Graham Alexander.

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 is now owned by businessman Trevor Hemmings and has been established 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 FC League Performance.svg
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]

They played Hibernian F.C. in 1887 World Championship losing 2–1 in Edinburgh.[ citation needed ]

Preston North End in 1888-89, the first Football League champions, subsequently doing 'The Double' Preston north end art.jpg
Preston North End in 1888–89, 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. David Moyes (201551591).jpg
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. Deepdalecomplete.jpg
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. Finney.jpg
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 PNE game in 1956, played at Stamford Bridge in particularly wet conditions. [17]


As of 13 May 2021

Current squad

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

1 GK Flag of England.svg  ENG Declan Rudd
3 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Josh Earl
5 DF Flag of Germany.svg  GER Patrick Bauer
7 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Tom Bayliss
8 MF Flag of Ireland.svg  IRL Alan Browne (captain)
11 MF Flag of Jamaica.svg  JAM Daniel Johnson
14 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Jordan Storey
15 DF Flag of Ireland.svg  IRL Joe Rafferty
16 DF Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  WAL Andrew Hughes
17 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Ben Whiteman
18 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Ryan Ledson
19 FW Flag of Denmark.svg  DEN Emil Riis Jakobsen
20 FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Jayden Stockley
23 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Paul Huntington
24 FW Flag of Ireland.svg  IRL Sean Maguire
25 GK Flag of England.svg  ENG Connor Ripley
26 FW Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  WAL Ched Evans
27 FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Jacob Holland-Wilkinson
28 GK Flag of England.svg  ENG Mathew Hudson
29 FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Tom Barkhuizen
31 FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Scott Sinclair
33 FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Ethan Walker
34 DF Flag of Scotland.svg  SCO Lewis Coulton
37 DF Flag of Ireland.svg  IRL Greg Cunningham
44 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Brad Potts
DF Flag of Scotland.svg  SCO Liam Lindsay

On loan

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

30 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Jack Baxter(on loan at Cork City)
32 MF Flag of Ireland.svg  IRL Adam O'Reilly (on loan at Waterford)

Former players

Technical staff

Below is a list of non-playing personnel: [18] [19]

Frankie McAvoy Head Coach
Paul Gallagher First Team Coach
Steve Thompson First Team Coach
Mike Pollitt Goalkeeping Coach
Matt JacksonFirst Team Physio
Tom LittleFitness Coach
Nick HarrisonAcademy Manager
Paul HuddyKitman

Managerial history

As of 27 May 2020

The following is a list of Preston North End managers since 1986, excluding caretakers: [20] [21]

GWDLWin %GWDLWin %Point Av.
John McGrath Flag of England.svg  England 1986–199019274536538.5416568455441.211.51
Les Chapman Flag of England.svg  England 1990–199212944305534.1111839295033.051.24
John Beck Flag of England.svg  England 1992–19949936204336.368731193735.631.29
Gary Peters Flag of England.svg  England 1994–199816672425243.3714363374344.061.58
David Moyes Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 1998–2002234113606148.2919695534848.471.72
Craig Brown Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 2002–200410636304033.969732283732.991.28
Billy Davies Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 2004–200610145352145.558740311645.981.74
Paul Simpson Flag of England.svg  England 2006–20076727142640.306225142340.321.44
Alan Irvine Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 2007–200911045254040.909940243540.401.45
Darren Ferguson Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 20104913112526.534511112324.440.98
Phil Brown Flag of England.svg  England 20115115152129.414213111830.951.19
Graham Westley Flag of England.svg  England 2012–20136216232325.815211212021.151.04
Simon Grayson Flag of England.svg  England 2013–2017235104745744.2619884674742.421.61
Alex Neil Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 2017–202114055394639.2912951374139.531.47
Frankie McAvoy Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 2021–852162.5852162.52.12





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

Club records


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. [27] Preston's other local rivals in the league over the years include Blackburn Rovers, Burnley, Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic.


The club's main sponsors, since shirt sponsorship was introduced in 1979, have been as follows: [28]

1979–1984 Pontins
1984–1985David Leil
1985–1986Lombard Continental
1986–1990Garratt's Insurance
1990–1992Ribble Valley Shelving
1992–1995 Coloroll
1995–2002 Baxi
2002–2005New 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
2018– 32Red

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 AFC Fylde. [29]

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Preston North End is an English football club in Preston, Lancashire which traces its origins to a local cricket club formed c.1863. This club moved to Deepdale in January 1875. They started playing football as a winter activity in 1878 and, in May 1880, took the decision to focus on football. Progress was rapid and the club became professional in 1883. They were a founder member of the Football League in 1888 and won the first two league championships in 1888–89 and 1889–90. Their team in 1888–89 also won the FA Cup and so became the first to achieve "The Double" in English football. In addition, the team was unbeaten in all first-class matches played that season and are famously remembered as "The Old Invincibles". Preston have had a chequered existence since 1890 and have won only one more major trophy, the 1937–38 FA Cup, when Bill Shankly was a key member of the team.

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