Preston North End F.C.

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Template:Football club infobox Preston North End Football Club is a professional English football team. It currently (2004-2005) plays in the Football League Championship.

Nicknamed the "Lilywhites", "North End" or simply "PNE", the club is based at the Deepdale ground in the city of Preston, Lancashire.


Early History

Formed in 1881 and one of the founding members of the Football League in 1888, Preston North End known as the 'Nobbers' won the first league championship (1888-89). The club was also the first to achieve the 'double' of winning the FA Cup (1889, beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-0) and the Football League championship in the same season. This double was even more extraordinary in that the league was won without a single defeat, a feat which would not be repeated in the top division until 2003-04 (by Arsenal). Equally impressive was that the cup was won without conceding a single goal. During this period the team was nicknamed "The Invincibles" and featured a collection of local and Scottish players renowned for their eccentric behaviour. One centre forward used to walk his fox on the pitch during half time.

Tom Finney

Preston's most famous player is the legendary Tom Finney, one of England's finest ever forwards who combined playing throughout his long career for his home town club with running a successful plumbing business. Finney scored 30 times for England, in the company of such greats as Stanley Matthews who starred for local rivals Blackpool. After Finney's retirement in 1960, North End reached the F.A. Cup Final in the 1963-64 season, losing to West Ham 3-2 after a titantic struggle in front of a 100,000 capacity crowd. Finney remains close to the club and still serves as Club President.

League History

Preston North End played in the top two divisions of the League continuously until 1970. They also won the FA Cup in 1938 (beating Huddersfield Town 1-0). As recently as 1964 Preston reached the F.A Cup final, losing to West Ham United. They were relegated to the Third Division in 1970 for the first time ever, although they did win promotion a season later. But Preston soon slid into decline and were relegated to the Fourth Division at the end of the 1984-85 season. The following season they finished third from bottom in the Fourth Division and were only saved from relegation to the Conference when league members voted in favour of them and three other league clubs rather than Conference champions Enfield.

Preston won promotion back to the Third Division in 1988, but were relegated from the new Division Three in 1993, only to win promotion again in 1996. Since then, Preston have progressed steadily to the second tier of the English league. Their most successful manager in recent years has been David Moyes, who arrived at the helm in February 1998 and quickly attracted attention from bigger clubs.

Moyes guided Preston to the Division Two title in 1999-2000 and won them promotion to Division One - their first appearance in the upper tier of the English league for almost 30 years. And their first season at this level was a considerable success. They finished fourth in Division One and reached the playoff final, losing 3-0 to Bolton Wanderers. Moyes left the following March to take charge of Everton, and was succeeded by former Scottish national coach Craig Brown.

Craig Brown was unable to mount a promotion challenge, and quit at the start of the 2004-05 season to make way for Billy Davies. The relatively inexperienced Davies surprised all the observers by guiding Preston to a fourth-place finish in the Coca-Cola League Championship and a place in the playoffs - pending a possible return to top flight football for the first time since the 1960's.

Plastic Pitch

Preston introduced a controversial plastic pitch in the late 1980s, a move as unpopular with the fans as it was with visiting teams. The pitch was used for the last time against Torquay at the end of the 1993-4 season in the second leg of the play-off semi-finals. Losing 2-0 from the first leg, North End needed to score four goals after Torquay scored an early goal at Deepdale. Seconds from the final whistle Paul Raynor hit North End's fourth to clinch a place at Wembley, where North End went down 4-2 to Wycombe Wanderers despite an impressive overhead kick by Ian Bryson. The plastic pitch was ripped up by thousands of excited North End fans after the semi-final, who grabbed the opportunity to take a piece of history home.

Recent History

Managed by Gary Peters, Preston won promotion from the renamed Division 3 in 1996, under the captaincy of Ian Bryson amid emotional scenes at their Deepdale home. During the 1990s, however, Preston continued to prosper under manager David Moyes, who clinched promotion to Division 1 in 1999.

When Moyes left to manage the Premiership club Everton, he was replaced by Craig Brown but the club did not do well under his management and he was sacked in 2004. Managed by ex-Motherwell F.C. boss Billy Davies they finished the 2004-2005 Coca-Cola Championship season in 5th position; beating Derby County in the Play-off semi final they lost the play-off final 1-0 to West Ham United FC who secured 6th place on the last day of the season.

Famous players

External links

Template:Football League Championship teamlist
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Football in England

League competitions

The FA

Cup competitions

FA Premier League FA Cup
The Football League (Champ, 1, 2) England
League Cup
Football Conference (Nat, N, S) FA Community Shield
Northern Premier League (Prem, 1) (women) Football League Trophy
Southern League (Prem, 1W, 1E) List of
FA Trophy
Isthmian League (Prem, 1, 2) FA Vase
English football league system Records FA NLS Cup

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