Mailbag: Preston Fans Need to Be Realistic and Honest


This is the first in our new “fan letters/mailbag” feature here at From the Finney. There have been some calls for us to give the fans more of a platform to have their voices heard and that’s exactly where this idea was borne from.

All of the pieces published in the mailbag do not reflect the thoughts or opinions of From the Finney, they are entirely the thoughts of the author of the ‘letter’.

If you have something you want to get off your chest, an opinion you would like to share or just a ramble you would like to be put up “in lights”, feel free to email us whatever it is you’ve got for the next mailbag, on – . It can be entirely anonymous if that makes a difference. It’s up to you.

For this first ‘fan letter’, we have Preston North End fan and twitter user, @trianglefeet.

I write this as a 43-year-old born in Preston who has followed my home town club all my life in various levels of intensity (attendance-wise). From season ticket holder to following from afar.

I make the following observations and I would like to say, I enjoy the From The Finney podcast. Particularly valuable to me is the insight and maturity delivered via Oli who has a great grasp of tactics.

I started watching North End in the promotion season from Division 4 when we met Northampton Town. I’ve seen rubbish under McGrath, Beck, Westley and others. Crowds have always been fairly low as the city has lost generations of supporters due to the proximity and glamour of Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton, Manchester City (lately) and even Blackburn Rovers in the past.

North End fans have always complained about ownership and I can remember “Sack the Board” for Keith Leeming and I find that some North End fans are deluded and even unrealistic about the club and the town/city. As I grew up in Grimsargh the school was full of fans of other clubs, my children go to school and many support other clubs with a passive interest in PNE.

Burnley have a more fanatical support in my view from a numbers perspective but North End have a high quality, intelligent and loyal support.

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Preston North End, in my opinion, are currently very well run. I believe the ownership of Trevor Hemmings should be lauded by our fans and the savvy way Peter Ridsdale has run the club deserves far more credit than it receives. Preston North End has no god-given right to be in the Championship.

Ticket prices are cheap at Deepdale but crowds are still fairly low and in the lower end of the division which is crowded with bigger clubs from bigger cities with much bigger budgets.

If fans won’t put their own money in why should they feel the right to criticise the owner who has put his money where his mother mouth is? I want a sustainable football pyramid and I include wanting a sustainable PNE to avoid becoming a Bury. If this means we have to sell players or lose them on free transfers, I say do it rather than gambling in the casino that is the Championship.
Our management has been outstanding given our limitations, especially on resource and the issues I have detailed above.

I despair when I read the abuse of Alex Neil. He has done a magnificent job, improves players and is dogged. We need to be careful what we wish for. I pray AN doesn’t leave but wouldn’t blame him he was offered a job at Derby County or Sheffield Wednesday for example.

Fans who call him would want a celebrity manager such as Wayne Rooney or Darren Ferguson type. David Moyes is a very good manager and so is Alex Neil.

Preston North End should be so proud of the ownership and management. They now have a good training ground and the stadium is much improved from when I stood on the old West Stand paddock watching Brian Mooney singing “Bilko where’s your caravan?”

From the Finney is a good platform for the fans and I pray the club can survive Covid-19 and all these ‘experts’ I read on various platforms and forums who crave expensive signings and new managers. Have a look at the quality of the squad and be proud of Proud Preston.

By no means am I advocating blind faith and it is obvious there are mistakes made which is inevitable, but just take a look at our squad and be thankful. Alex Ferguson signed Bebe so it is always the way.

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Preston is a fairly small city and I believe the club has handled furlough well and could be well-positioned if football is truly going to reform. The accountancy gymnastics which is being performed by many in the Championship is immoral if not illegal. Listen to the Price of Football Podcast (@POF_POD) for twice-weekly stories.

North End should be commended for paying the players in full and not dodging tax. Other clubs gamble and appear to be rewarded and then have their hands out for a bailout from the Premier League.

Burnley are well run and should be admired. Be careful for what we wish for. Give me stability over gambling any day of the week.

This team could get the promotion we all crave but I want my home town club to be strong for another 100 plus years. We are the original Invincibles and we, of course, had our beloved Sir Tom. We should celebrate (and market) these things more to grow organic finances rather than craving a Mel Morris or Chansiri.

Celebrate the Gentry, get behind Alex Neill and celebrate our great historic city which led the industrial revolution and started the game we all love; football.

Keep up the good work Jake, Jimmy and Oli.

Up the whites.