Jake recently had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting all things North End with one of the hardest working players ever to wear the famous Lilywhite shirt, Chris Sedgwick. He had a career filled with thrilling moments at Preston North End – and some near misses as well. In this player profile, we’ll have a look over some of Sedgy’s career at Preston.
Sedge signed for the club from Rotherham in November 2004, one of Billy Davies’s first signings for North End. He quickly endeared himself to the PNE faithful with his work ethic, attitude and ability to whip in excellent crosses.
He also quickly established himself in Davies’s starting XI and was almost an ever-present for the remainder of the 2004/05 season. Sedgwick scored three times, two of them in January and the third against his former club, Rotherham United.
He featured in both legs of the play-off semi-final, providing the assist for David Nugent’s first goal in a 2-0 first-leg win, before being part of the side that blunted a Derby attack that included Grezgorz Rasiak and Paul Peschisolido.
Sedgwick then played 70 minutes of the final, although North End’s Premier League dreams were of course dashed by a devastating 1-0 defeat to West Ham at the Millenium Stadium.
The Sheffield-born man continued to excel on the right-wing, despite not being blessed with outright pace. He used the ball effectively and also formed a great partnership with Graham Alexander on the right-hand side of North End’s XI. In fact, Chris even says in Episode #2 of From the Finney Meets… that he’s the reason Graham continued playing until he was 40 because Chris did all his running for him on that side.
He has also called Grezza one of the most professional players he had ever played with, and the two continued to produce the goods under Davies, and then for a spell under his replacement Paul Simpson.
It was then that both players’ fortunes began to change, with Alexander competing with young Billy Jones for the right-back spot and Sedgwick eventually moved into central midfield as Simpson looked to adjust North End’s style of play and bring his own players into the side.
Although Grezza would go on to leave the club for Burnley in the summer of 2007, Sedgwick, at this point 27 years of age, was still an ever-present in the side. He went on to feature heavily under Alan Irvine, back in his preferred right-wing position after the Scot replaced the now England U20 manager, Paul Simpson.
Sedgwick was once again on the losing end of a play off semi final in 2009, starting both legs as North End lost 2-1 on aggregate to Kevin Blackwell’s Sheffield United side. The Blades team that night contained future Premier League regulars Kyle Walker and Kyle Naughton, with Greg Halford scoring the crucial winner in the second leg after a 1-1 draw at Deepdale.
The sacking of Irvine in 2009, and the subsequent appointment of Darren Ferguson, meant that Sedgwick’s first-team chances were then limited.
Ferguson told Sedgwick he could leave the club, even moving him and other fringe players to their own dressing room, and the winger did leave the club in the summer of 2010.
Although he was bitterly disappointed by his departure, he secured what was a dream move to Sheffield Wednesday on a free transfer. Wednesday were then managed by Irvine, and Sedgwick was the former PNE boss’s first signing at the club. He stayed in Sheffield until 2012, when he was released upon promotion to the Championship and has since played for and coached Bury.
When you think of the golden era of the mid-2000s, where the only big regret is that the club did not secure what would have been a deserved promotion to the Premier League, Sedgwick’s name is one that stands out.
A player that was hardly ever injured and always gave 100%, he epitomised the mantra that managers of the time were trying to implement in terms of making players more professional. Like many others, Sedgwick’s hopes will, of course, have stretched to the Premier League, but in the end, he had an excellent career with the Lilywhites.
In the latest episode of From the Finney Meets… Jake chatted through Chris’s time at North End and much more with the now director of Lyonhurst Life. If you haven’t yet listened to the episode, just hit the play button on the player below and you’re off. Alternatively, we are on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and many other major podcast streaming platforms, just search ‘From the Finney’ and you will find us.