Preston North End can be traced back to 1863, but at that time it was linked with cricket and the first game of football was fifteen years away. In the early 1860's cricket was the only organised game of note in the town and the normal venue for this activity was the Marsh, an irregular stop of land on the Ribble Estuary at Ashton and which today is the site for the GEC works. Cricket can be linked with Wellfield Road School.
In that year there was a split amongst the club members when the majority opted for a move to Moor Park where the Corporation had opened a public Cricket ground, The newly formed club using Moor Park was named North End simply as an indication of the clubs base being in the north end of the town.
The first President was George Howarth and subscriptions were 2d a week. The club fell on hard times and almost disbanded, but new members were recruited to ease the financial crisis and one of these new comers was William Sudell who became a member on 3rd August 1867 when he was 16-years-old, having lived in the town all his life. He was a good swimmer and cyclist, a keen cricketer and a very good rugby forward.
In spite of the financial problems not being resolved, the members made a memorable and courageous step on 21st January 1875 when they took a lease on a field at Deepdale, a field which was to be the home of the finest football team of the era.
Playing cricket and dabbling in other games such as lacrosse and rounders were not financially viable and so in 1877 members turned to rugby. Unfortunately, this venture was a failure since the club could not compete with the Grasshoppers who were already a well-established force. On the 5th October 1878 North End played its first game under association rules against Eagley, the game was played at Deepdale and was lost 1-0. For the record the team that played this game were: - W Sudell, W Turner, J Sefton, T Charnley, T Wadeson, J Wadeson, C Miller, T Parkinson, JF Dodgson, R Green and H S Carmel (Cpt).
The success of other clubs in Lancashire who were playing soccer had not gone unnoticed at Deepdale and in May 1880 a resolution proposing the adoption of the association code was proposed by Mr Harry Carmel and seconded by William Charnley and was carried unanimously.
In March of 1881 North End played Blackburn Rovers and were beaten 10-0. This reverse following a defeat in the Lancashire Cup versus Turton did not however diminish enthusiasm and the next big leap forward was in the summer of 1883 when William Sudell, having seen tactics employed by neighbouring clubs went north to Scotland and obtained the services of N J Ross from Heart of Midlothian, Ross became one of the best full backs of his time, other players who came from Scotland were Drummond, Russell and Gordon. Thus was formed the nucleus of the team which was to make North End so famous.
In 1884 following a draw against Upton Park at Deepdale a protest was made to the FA about the eligibility of some Preston players, but the basic reason for the protest was that Preston were paying their players. Sudell did not deny this so following expulsion from Cup competition he commenced his historical move to have professionalism legalised in that same year James Ross (younger brother of NJ) and Sam Thomson came down from Scotland and Robert Howarth, a local boy joined the club as fullback.
The success which Sudell brought to Deepdale and the short time taken to achieve this is illustrated by the fact that from 22 August 1885 to 26 April 1886, North End were undefeated and during the season won 59 out of 64 matches, scoring 318 goals and conceding only 60.
In 1886 Sudell completed his team building with the signing of a centre forward, John Goodall, and the Invincibles were on their way to making football history. Another season worthy of note was in the season 1887/88 when North End won 42 consecutive matches, but there was bitter disappointment when .as hot favourites they were beaten 2-1 in the Cup Final on 24 March 1888 by West Bromwich Albion.
However, next season 1888/89 not only were they founder members of the league but they won the FA Cup and were the first team to achieve the double, doing this at the first opportunity. In 1889/90 North End were again League Champions and were runners up in the following three seasons. A limited company was formed in 1893 which was the end of the Sudell reign but the genius of a man who could build such a team and which justly earned the name the Invincibles is fully recognised today. North End is the only club from the founder Members of the Football League who have played continuously on the same ground. Deepdale has been the venue for soccer for over a century.
The period before the First World War is often referred to as yo-yo when North End were relegated to the Second Division on two occasions and immediately came back.
In 1922 they once more reached the FA Cup Final but were beaten 1-0 by Huddersfield Town who scored from a penalty. 1924 saw the retirement of one of the Clubs great stalwarts, Joe McCall who had played at Deepdale for 20 seasons.
From September 1925 for four seasons Alex James was a favourite whose transfer to Arsenal in 1929 hit the football headlines when the fee involved was reported to be £9,000.
Following the departure of James, relegation to the Third Division was twice narrowly avoided but what happened later with a Management Committee of four under the Chairmanship of the late JI Taylor was a modern football romance. Holdcroft, Lowe, Harper, Rowley, Tremelling, Shankly, Gallimore and Dougal were signed and promotion was gained in 1934. The two Beatties, Andy and Bobbie (unrelated), together with Mutch, Smith, Milne, Fagan and the O'Donnell brothers were among the many Scots who came to Deepdale.
North End reached the Cup Final in 1937 when they lost to Sunderland and in 1938 when they reversed the result of the 1922 Final by beating Huddersfield town 1-0, the winning goal came from the first penalty awarded at Wembley, and was scored by George Mutch with the last kick of extra time.
After the war and until his retirement in 1960 the skill of Tom Finney was the most important aspect of football at Deepdale. His genius and gentlemanly conduct was and still is, and example for all footballers to follow and brought great credit, not just to the maestro but also to his home town of Preston. The honour of being made Freeman of the Borough and the award of the CBE for services to football was just reward for this footballing legend, Sadly North Ends defeat, 3-2 by Albion in the Cup Final of 1954, did not result in a Cup Winners Medal and another disappointment was in 1953 when the First Division Championship was lost to Arsenal on a goal average difference of one.
As with so many other League Clubs the decline in the fortunes of North End started with the abolition of the maximum wage and with the concentration of successful clubs within the larger cities where stadiums could be filled by drawing on a relatively small percentage of the population.
North End reached Wembley again in 1964 when they lost what is still considered to be a classic final against West ham United, the team included a young Howard Kendall.
North End is also proud to be linked with the footballing feats of goalkeeper Alan Kelly who joined the club in 1958 from Drumcondra and, until his enforced retirement, following a shoulder injury sustained in the game against Bristol City on 15 September 1973, gave sterling service, his record speaks for itself. He was first choice goalkeeper for 13 seasons and holds the Club record of 447 league appearances (keeping 126 clean sheets) and 47 caps for Eire.
North End's most recent visit to Wembley came in the 1993/94 season when the team reached the third Division play-offs. Torquay United were the opponents for the first round, with the match being played at Plainmoor, Torquay won 2-0. The second round was played on Wednesday 18 May 1994 when memorable scenes were witnessed at Deepdale. North End went one goal up within the first ten minutes, only to see a two-goal advantage regained before half time, plus, Torquay gained the valuable away goal. The sending off of Torquay defender Darren Moore ten minutes before half time spurred Preston on. They scored twice in the second half to take the game to extra time, Torquay looked like holding out and winning on the away goals rule until Paul Raynor scored with only four minutes let on the clock and so North End were to feature once more at Wembley. The team that played that night were Steve Woods, Andy Fensome, Ryan Kidd, Lee Cartwright, Stuart Hicks, David Moyes, Gareth Ainsworth, Neil Whalley, Paul Raynor, Tony Ellis, Ian Bryson, subs were Greg Challender and Richard Lucas.
Preston played Wycombe Wanderers in the final and unfortunately lost 4-2 having been 2-1 up at half time.
In 1996, however, everything went the way of North End and under the management of Gary Peters the club was promoted as champions of Division Three. During the championship season, the Sir Tom Finney Stand was opened, named in recognition of the maestro and representing the start of the redevelopment of Deepdale into a stadium for the 21st Century.
The Sir Tom Finney Stand is the home of restaurants and a conference centre. The stand seats between 7,000 and 8,000 fans and has match day facilities for spectators on concourses within the stand.
The next stage of the ground redevelopment to be completed was the Bill Shankly Kop, which was formerly the Spion Kop Stand. The work started in December 1997 and was completed in June 1998. This stand now houses a fitness centre and football museum.
After Gary Peters' resignation in January 1998, David Moyes took over as Manager and in his first full season in charge he led the club to its highest League finish since the 1980/81 season, only losing out to Gillingham in the play-offs. The following season, David went one better as he guided Preston to the Second Division title, and a place in the First Division for the first time in 20 years.
In season 2000/01, Moyes excelled himself once again as he steered the side to a highly impressive fourth position in Division One. This meant the play-offs once again and, having beaten Birmingham on penalties in the semi final, North End travelled to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff to face Bolton Wanderers. Although Bolton took a deserved lead in the first half, it was North End who had most of the play in the second period. Despite putting the opposition under substantial pressure, Preston could not get an equaliser and Bolton ensured victory with two late goals, the 3-0 scoreline an untrue reflection of the game.
The following season was a year of departures, though the club did welcome the spectacular new Alan Kelly Town End stand, replacing the popular terrace that became so iconic of 'Old Deepdale'.
In October, club chairman Bryan Gray ended a seven year tenure at North End and announced his resignation at the club's AGM. Deputy chairman Derek Shaw took over in the interim.
Nine days in March saw the end of an era at North End as Jon Macken and David Moyes both departed the club. Macken left for Manchester City in a club record £5million deal while David Moyes moved to Premiership club Everton.
Kelham O'Hanlon took over temporary charge of management matters and despite difficult circumstances guided the club to a creditable eighth position a whisker away from the play-offs.
The close season saw a wind of change sweep through the Deepdale corridors. The first big change saw former Scotland manager Craig Brown unveiled as new first team manager. Kelham O'Hanlon was rewarded for his good work by retaining his assistant managers role while former Motherwell boss Billy Davies was brought in as first team coach. The influx of new faces continued as Jamaican international Ricardo Fuller became the first signing of the new era.
In late June, Baxi Partnership finally ended their association with PNE when their remaining shares were bought out by 'Friends of Preston North End' - a new company formed by club chairman Derek Shaw and Steve Jackson, the Managing Director of New Reg Ltd, the Club's official shirt sponsor.
The 2002/03 season saw Tyrone Mears, Marlon Broomes, Eddie Lewis, Brian O'Neil, Simon Lynch, Jonathan Gould and George Koumantarakis complete the North End revolution, but despite so many players coming in the final placing was slightly disappointing as they finished the season in 12th place.
The disappointment signalled the end for several experienced players, with Iain Anderson, Colin Murdock, Mark Rankine and Tepi Moilanen all leaving before the season kicked off. But despite the changes the fortunes remained the same, finishing in 15th place.
Callum Davidson, Youl Mawene and Gavin Ward all arrived in the summer of 2004 and gave the fans real hope for the new campaign, but things didn't quite go according to plan and with less than a month of the season gone, Craig Brown was relieved of his duties.
In August 2004, Billy Davies was put in temporary charge and four wins in six games earned him the job on a permanent basis, Davies and his new Assistant David Kelly were unveiled on September 27th.
The rest as they say is history and Davies led North End to fifth place in the table and a place in the Play Off Final at Cardiff, but in the end it proved to be a step too far as Bobby Zamora netted the only goal of the game.
Davies and Kelly were rewarded for their success with new and improved contracts in June 2005 and repaid the board's faith by leading North End to the Play-Offs for the second year in succession. However, this time they were knocked out in the Semi Final stage by Leeds United.
In June 2006, Billy Davies left his post at Deepdale to become manager of Derby County and he was replaced by Paul Simpson, who signed a three year contract.
In November 2006 Preston North End topped the Championship following the 1-1 draw at home to Coventry. It was the first time the Club had topped the second tier of English football since 1951.
David Nugent became the first Preston player since Sir Tom Finney to represent England, when he came on as a substitute in the friendly against Andorra and scored in injury time to help England to a 3-0 win in March 2007. In June, Nugent was sold to Portsmouth for an initial fee of £6m, bringing his short but exciting Deepdale days to an end.
In the immediate aftermath of Nugent's departure, Preston struggled for form, and this culminated in the departure of manager Paul Simpson after a 3-0 defeat at Hull City in November 2007. He was replaced by former Everton assistant manager Alan Irvine, who has steadily overseen an upturn in fortunes.
Alan Irvine steered the Club to Championship safety, completing the process when Richard Chaplow grabbed a late equaliser at Plymouth to guarantee North End's Championship status.
During the summer of 2008 the finishing touches to the new Invincibles Pavilion were put in place and the new stand was officially opened on Saturday August 16th 2008 with PNE's first home Championship clash of the season against Crystal Palace.
Deepdale's new capacity was moved up to 23,408 with more than 1,000 hospitality places and that extra seating proved useful when the Lilywhites drew Liverpool in the FA Cup Third Round. That game broke all records with 23,046 viewing the match inside the ground, the biggest crowd at Deepdale since the early 1970s. The game also saw record gate receipts and a TV viewing audience of 7.3m.
North End made the Play-Offs again at the end of that season but succumbed to Sheff Utd over two legs in the semi-final to miss out on the chance of Premier League football.
In December 2009 Alan Irvine left the Club and was succeeded by the son of Sir Alex Ferguson, Darren.
Ferguson only lasted 12 months however before being replaced by Phil Brown, but he was unable to keep the Lilywhites in the Championship and they were relegated to League One.
In a scenario very similar to that of Ferguson’s reign, Brown was replaced at Deepdale after 12 months – the same 12 that his predecessor had overseen and Graham Westley arrived with a view to changing the Club’s fortunes around.
After a huge squad overhaul in the summer of 2012, Westley was sacked in February 2013 after a disappointing tenure at Deepdale and he was replaced by former Huddersfield Town manager Simon Grayson.
Grayson had an immediate impact on the Club and under his guidance, results improved with the Lilywhites securing a respectable mid-table finish by the end of the season.
A rejuvenated North End in the 2013/14 season saw the club finish in the Play-Off places at the end of the last campaign, but Simon Grayson's side ultimately fell short of promotion losing to Rotherham in the Play-Off semi-finals.
It was during this season, that saw Preston North End lose its famous son with the death of Sir Tom Finney on the 14th February 2014.
All Lilywhites concerned will be in hope that PNE can go one step better than last year going into the 2014/15 season as a fitting tribute to the 'Preston Plumber'.
Roll Of Honour
Founder Member of the English Football League 1888
League Champions 1889, 1890
FA Cup Winners 1889, 1938
War Cup Winners 1941
FA Cup Finalists 1888, 1922, 1937, 1954, 1964
Lancashire Cup Winners 1887, 1893, 1895, 1900, 1996
Division One Runners-up 1891, 1892, 1893, 1906, 1953, 1958
Division Two Champions 1904, 1913, 1951, 2000*
Division Three Champions 1971, 1996*
* In 1991 the former Division One broke away from the Football League and formed the Premier League, the former Divisions Two, Three and Four later became the Championship, League One and League Two respectively.
Turned Professional 1885
Record Attendance 42,684 v Arsenal, Division One, 23 April 1938
Pitch Measurements 110yds x 75yds
Record League Victory 10-0 v Stoke Division One 14 September 1889
Record Cup Victory 26-0 v Hyde FA Cup Round One 15 October 1887
Record Defeat 0-7 v Blackpool Division One 1 May 1948
Most League Points 95 - Division Two 1999/2000
Most League Goals 100 - Division Two 1927-28
Highest League Scorer In A Season Ted Harper 37 Division Two 1932-33
Most League Appearances Alan Kelly 447 from 1961-75
Record Transfer Fee Received £6m for David Nugent from Portsmouth, July 2007
(Previous Record £5m for Jon Macken from Man City, March 2002)
Record Transfer Fee Paid £1.5mi paid to Manchester United for striker, David Healy, in December 2000
(Previous Record £500,000 to Man Utd for Michael Appleton and to Toulouse for Iain Anderson)
1875 Moved from Moor Park to Deepdale (then cricket/athletic clubs)
1878 First experimental football match against Eagley
1880 Formed Football Club
1885 Turned professional
1886 PNE's 'keeper Arthur Wharton, first black player in English professional footballer
1887 Beat Hyde United 26-0 FA Cup Record
1887 Jimmy Ross scores seven in one game (record) against Hyde, 26-0
1888 FA Cup finalists
1888 Founder member of Football League
1888/89 First Club to achieve League/FA Cup double
1889 PNE's highest League win 10-0 versus Stoke City
1889/90 League Champions
1890/91 League Runners Up
1891 First PNE penalty scored by Jack Gordon v Blackburn Rovers
1891/92 League Runners Up
1892/93 League Runners Up
1893 Formed Limited Company
1903/04 Division Two Champions
1905/06 League Runners Up
1912/13 Division Two Champions
1914/15 Division Two Runners Up
1922 FA Cup Finalists. Goalkeeper JF Mitchell, first and last player to wear glasses in an FA Cup Final
1925 Alex James signs from Raith Rovers
1932/33 Ted Harper scores 37 goals in one season, a club record
1933 Bill Shankly signs from Carlisle United
1933/34 Division Two Runners Up
1937 FA Cup Finalists
1938 FA Cup Winners
1938 PNE record attendance of 42,684 against Arsenal, 23 April
1941 War Cup Winners
1946 Tom Finney makes his full League debut
1949 Tommy Docherty signs from Celtic
1949 Eddie Quigley signs from Sheffield Wednesday for £26,000, a British transfer record
1950/51 Division Two Champions
1952/53 League Runners Up
1954 FA Cup Finalists
1957/58 League Runners Up, scored 100 League goals
1960 Tom Finney retires after 433 games for PNE
1960 FA Youth Cup Finalists. Record Youth Team attendance against Chelsea of 17,764
1961 Last First Division game at Deepdale, against Manchester United
1964 FA Cup Finalists. Howard Kendall youngest player to appear in FA Cup Final
1970/71 Division Three Champions
1977/78 Promoted from Division Three
1979 Michael Robinson sold to Man City for £765,000 (PNE record)
1982 Alex Bruce top scorer for a record tenth time
1986 Successfully applied for re-election after finishing 91st in the Football League
1986 Plastic pitch laid at Deepdale
1986/87 Division Four Runners Up
1994 Last game on plastic, versus Torquay United in the play-offs
1995 Preston North End plc admitted to Alternative Investment Market
1996 Division Three Champions. Winners of Fair Play Award
1996 Opening of the Tom Finney Stand in August, later renamed the Sir Tom Finney Stand
1996 Acquired Chorley RLFC, renamed Lancashire Lynx RLFC
1996 Raised £3.7m for ground and team development
1997 Sale of Kevin Kilbane to West Bromwich Albion for £1.2m (Club record)
1997 Record signing of 21-year-old midfielder Michael Appleton from Manchester United for £500,000 (Club record)
1998 Tom Finney awarded a Knighthood in New Years Honours List 1998 January, Gary Peters resigns as Manager and Assistant David Moyes takes the reigns
1998 June Opening of new 6,000 seater Bill Shankly Kop Stand
1998 September FIFA President Joseph Sepp Blatter visits Deepdale to perform a ground breaking ceremony for the new Football Museum.
1999 January 21,099 turn out at Deepdale to see North End take on Double Winners Arsenal Live on Sky TV. Kurt Nogan scores two goals to give the Whites the lead, but eventually lose 4-2.
1999 May North End finish 5th in Division Two, the highest League finish for 19 years, and subsequently lose to Gillingham in the play-offs
1999 October David Moyes wins Nationwide League Division Two Manager of the Month Award after the teams only defeat is a creditable 2-1 loss at Arsenal in the Worthington Cup Round Three.
2000 April North End are Division Two champions.
2000 December North End smash their transfer record to bring in David Healy from Manchester United for a fee of £1.5m rising to £1.8 subject to appearances.
2001 March Fans bid a fond farewell to standing on the Town End as stand is demolished following a 2-0 win over Wolves.
2001 November The Alan Kelly Town End is officially opened by the man himself
2001 May North End finish 4th in Division One, beating Birmingham City in the play-off semi finals before losing to Bolton in the final.
2002 March Jon Macken becomes record transfer fee received, Man City pay £5m for his services
2002 March David Moyes becomes the most expensive manager ever - going to Everton for a compensation fee of over £1m
2002 March Kelham O'Hanlon becomes Caretaker Manager as North End narrowly miss out on the play-offs
2002 June Former Scotland boss Craig Brown becomes Manager of North End
2004 September Billy Davies succeeds Craig Brown as Manager of Preston North End bringing former Republic of Ireland international David 'Ned' Kelly in as Assistant Manager
2005 May North End finish fifth in the Championship, beating Derby in the Play-Off semi finals before losing to West Ham in the final
2005 June Billy Davies and David Kelly agree new deals to keep them at the club
2006 May North End finish fifth in the Championship but lost out in the Play-Off semi-finals to Leeds United
2006 June Billy Davies leaves Preston North End to become manager of Derby County
2006 June Paul Simpson is appointed as manager of Preston North End
2007 Alan Irvine arrives at Deepdale as manager following the departure of Paul Simpson
2009 May PNE reach the play-offs on the final day of the season with a 2-1 win over QPR at Deepdale
2010 January Darren Ferguson is appointed manager following Alan Irvine's departure
2010 August Manchester United loanee Joshua King becomes the Club's 1000th player
2011 January Phil Brown succeeds Darren Ferguson as manager of Preston North End
2011 September Brandon Zibaka becomes the Club's youngest ever player by six days
2012 January Graham Westley is named as Preston North End's manager
2013 February Simon Grayson takes over as manager of the Club.