Preston North End F.C.

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
Full namePreston North End Football Club
Nickname(s)The Lilywhites
Founded1880; 141 years ago (1880)
ManagerFrankie McAvoy
LeagueEFL Championship
2020–21EFL Championship, 13th of 24
WebsiteClub website
Current season

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 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'

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 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.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK  ENG Declan Rudd
3 DF  ENG Josh Earl
5 DF  GER Patrick Bauer
7 MF  ENG Tom Bayliss
8 MF  IRL Alan Browne (captain)
10 MF  ENG Josh Harrop
11 MF  JAM Daniel Johnson
14 DF  ENG Jordan Storey
15 DF  IRL Joe Rafferty
16 DF  WAL Andrew Hughes
17 MF  ENG Ben Whiteman
18 MF  ENG Ryan Ledson
19 FW  DEN Emil Riis Jakobsen
23 DF  ENG Paul Huntington
24 FW  IRL Sean Maguire
25 GK  ENG Connor Ripley
26 FW  WAL Ched Evans
27 FW  ENG Jacob Holland-Wilkinson
No. Pos. Nation Player
28 GK  ENG Mathew Hudson
29 FW  ENG Tom Barkhuizen
30 MF  ENG Jack Baxter
31 FW  ENG Scott Sinclair
32 MF  IRL Adam O'Reilly
33 FW  ENG Ethan Walker
34 DF  SCO Lewis Coulton
37 DF  IRL Greg Cunningham
38 FW  ENG Joe Rodwell-Grant
44 MF  ENG Brad Potts
GK  ENG Oliver Lombard
DF  SCO Liam Lindsay
DF  USA Matthew Olosunde
DF  IRL Josh Seary
DF  NED Sepp van den Berg (on loan from Liverpool)
MF  ENG Izzy Brown
FW  FRA Noah Mawene

On loan

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

No. Pos. Nation Player

Former players

Technical staff

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

Name Role
Frankie McAvoyHead Coach
Paul GallagherFirst Team Coach
Steve ThompsonFirst Team Coach
Mike PollittGoalkeeping 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]

Manager Nationality Period Total League
GWDLWin %GWDLWin %Point Av.
John McGrath England1986–1990 19274536538.54 16568455441.211.51
Les Chapman England1990–1992 12944305534.11 11839295033.051.24
John Beck England1992–1994 9936204336.36 8731193735.631.29
Gary Peters England1994–1998 16672425243.37 14363374344.061.58
David Moyes Scotland1998–2002 234113606148.29 19695534848.471.72
Craig Brown Scotland2002–2004 10636304033.96 9732283732.991.28
Billy Davies Scotland2004–2006 10145352145.55 8740311645.981.74
Paul Simpson England2006–2007 6727142640.30 6225142340.321.44
Alan Irvine Scotland2007–2009 11045254040.90 9940243540.401.45
Darren Ferguson Scotland2010 4913112526.53 4511112324.440.98
Phil Brown England2011 5115152129.41 4213111830.951.19
Graham Westley England2012–2013 6216232325.81 5211212021.151.04
Simon Grayson England2013–2017 235104745744.26 19884674742.421.61
Alex Neil Scotland2017–2021 14055394639.29 12951374139.531.47
Frankie McAvoy Scotland2021– 852162.5 852162.52.12





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]

Years Sponsor(s)
1984–1985David Leil
1985–1986Lombard Continental
1986–1990Garratt's Insurance
1990–1992Ribble Valley Shelving
2002–2005New Reg
2013–2014The Football Pools/Carers Trust
2014–2016Virgin Trains
2018–2021 32Red

2021- PAR Group

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]


  1. "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. [bare URL]
  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. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  13. "Baxi in PNE sell-off". Lancashire Evening Post. 28 June 2002. 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. "Deepdale – Preston North End". Football Ground Guide (FGG). 2018. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  18. "First Team Management". PNEFC.
  19. "Academy Staff". PNEFC.
  20. "List of Preston North End F.C. Managers". Preston North End. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  21. "Preston Manager History – Past & Present – Soccer Base".
  22. 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.
  23. "Milestones". Preston North End FC. 3 January 2008. Archived from the original on 7 March 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
  24. "Preston answer three massive questions with Tom Bayliss deal". Deepdale Digest. 3 January 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2020.
  25. "Jordan Hugill: West Ham sign Preston striker in reported £10m deal". BBC Sport. 31 January 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  26. "Age is just a number – Graham Alexander". BBC Sport. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  27. "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.
  28. "Preston North End – Sponsors Through the Years". 2018. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  29. "PNE women's team have fresh start as Fylde Ladies". Blackpool Gazette. 25 May 2016. Retrieved 2 June 2016.