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.
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.
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.
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.
They played Hibernian F.C.
in 1887 World Championship
losing 2–1 in Edinburgh
, 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.
[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.]
The team did so with a majority of their team being made up of Scottish players (the Scotch Professors
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". The author wrote elsewhere: "...and that team became immortalised as the 'Old Invincibles'". Other sources call the team "The Invincibles" and both versions of the nickname have been used. 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". 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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
The team were promoted again, via the play-offs, in 2015 and have been well-placed in the EFL Championship
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.
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.
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.
Below is a list of non-playing personnel:
The following is a list of Preston North End managers since 1986, excluding caretakers:
*Football League First Division
[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.]
** Champions: 1888–89
** Runners-up: 1890–91
*Football League Second Division/Football League First Division/Championship
** Champions: 1903–04
** Runners-up: 1914–15
** Play-off Runners-up: 2000–01
** Play-off Semi-finalists: 2005–06
*Football League Third Division/Football League Second Division/League 1
** Champions: 1970–71
** Play-off Winners: 2014–15
** Play-off Semi-finalists: 1988–89
*Football League Fourth Division/Football League Third Division/League 2
** Champions: 1995–96
** Runners-up: 1986–87
** Play-off Runners-up: 1993–94
** Play-off Semi-finalists: 1994–95
** Winners: 1888–89
** Runners-up: 1887–88
*FA Charity Shield
** Runners-up: 1938
*Football League War Cup
** Winners: 1940–41
* Lancashire Senior Cup
**Winners: 1886–87, 1892–93, 1894–95, 1899–1900, 1938–39, 1996–97
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
*Most Goals (Overall): Tom Finney
, 210 goals from 473 appearances.
*Most League Goals: Tom Finney, 187 goals from 433 appearances.
*Most League Goals in a Season: Ted Harper
, 37 in Football League Second Division
*Record Attendance: 42,684 v Arsenal, Football League First Division, 23 April 1938]
*Record Cup Victory: 26–0 v Hyde, FA Cup, 15 October 1887 [
*Record League Victory: 10–0 v Stoke, Football League Division One, 14 September 1889] [
*Record Defeat: 0–7 v Blackpool, Division 1, 1 May 1948
*Transfer Record (Paid): £2,000,000 for Tom Bayliss from Coventry, August 2019]
*Transfer Record (Received): £10,000,000 for Jordan Hugill to West Ham Utd, January 2018
*Youngest Ever Player: Ethan Walker 16 years and 156 days
*Oldest Ever Player: Bob Kelly 41 years and two months
Historically, Preston North End's main rivalry is with Blackpool 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. 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:
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.
on Lancashire Evening Post online site
Preston North End
History of Preston North End: 1862–1945
Online video footage of Preston North End winning the 1938 FA Cup
Category:Association football clubs established in 1880
Category:FA Cup winners
Category:Football clubs in England
Category:English Football League clubs
Category:The Football League founder members
Category:Sport in Preston
Category:1880 establishments in England
Category:Football clubs in Lancashire