We’re facing a club with some genuine history on Saturday but I’m pretty sure we’ll have the upper hand and come away with all three points. One win doesn’t make a season but I’m convinced we’ll be too good for them.
Preston North End. The original Lilywhites although some Spurs fans might [wrongly] make a claim to that soubriquet. The Deepdale club have a history that is almost unparalleled in English football. Yeah, Liverpool fans everywhere, suck it up cos it’s true. Proud Preston they call themselves and I guess they do so with some reason. They were founder members of the original Football League in 1888.
For the benefit of younger readers I will move on to the obvious connections, and one less obvious, between the two clubs shortly, but if I hear the word Preston I immediately think of Sir Tom Finney, regarded by no less than Sir Matt Busby as the finest player he ever saw.
The “Preston Plumber” has his own statue at Deepdale, a pub named after him near the ground and also a school, as well as a couple of other nearby commercial dedications he might be less proud of. A regular England international in the 1940s and 1950s, he’s up there in the Nat Lofthouse category to any follower of North Western clubs that aren’t coping too well in the modern era.
After Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd and silent movies had passed away what happened to post-war Preston? Zilch basically apart from a 1964 FA Cup Final they lost to West Ham 3-2 after extra time. Revenge for the Hammers, 41 years on.
And then in the 1980s came the absolute nadir. Preston were relegated to the then Division Four for the first [and fortunately for them subsequently only] time in their history. They were closer to bankruptcy that Mr Micawber, but installed a plastic pitch and somehow toughed it out.
And last season under the spirit of renaissance they finished seventh in God’s glorious Championship. Not a good start for them this time around as they lost 0-1 at home to Steve Cooper’s Swansea City with nary a huff or a puff along the way. Swansea looked good though.
So who’s up next? Alex Neil or Jordan Hugill? No, we know enough about them already so I’m going to briefly recall one Chris Brown, and if readers have forgotten all about him I can only add that I wish I could too.
He played exactly a year for us after we signed him from Sunderland [2007-2008] and scored a single goal during that period. Offloaded to Preston what did he do? Yep, scored the winner for Preston against us at Carrow Road. No happy memories of him from me I’m afraid.
But in the world of right now, I’ve got a good feeling about Saturday.
To quote Tonypne44 on pne-online.net I don’t think Preston fans are expecting too much from their team’s lengthy journey to the Carra:
“I think [Alex] Neil has reached the end of the road with this team. We play at a pedestrian pace, never press teams high up anymore and the lack of bodies in and around the box when we attack is criminal. Stockley and Maguire would score a few more if we gambled a bit more. We need to play Rafferty or Fisher at RB and push Browne into midfield. All the ‘jewels’ coming to their end of contracts need to sign or we sell now. Other players like Ripley and Bodin need shipping out too. The squad needs a shake-up“.
That quote is pretty much representative of those I’ve had a shufti at.
I guess I’ll have to make a prediction so as much as I truly respect the history of the original Lilywhites it’ll be City 2 PNE 0.