Chairman of football Peter Ridsdale has paid tribute to the Club’s owner Mr Hemmings.
As his efforts ensured the Club were able to complete a deal for number one strike target Stuart Beavon late on deadline day.
The Wycombe Wanderers man put pen to paper just minutes before the closure of the transfer window on Friday night, but it would not have been possible without the financial backing of the Club’s owner.
“I would like to pay tribute to Mr Hemmings,” the chairman told PNE.Com. “Without his backing in this particular transfer, where it obviously required a significant transfer fee, we would never have been able to complete the deal.
“This just shows the support we have here from our owner and we should all be very proud and pleased with that.”
With the window shut, even though for just a few minutes at the time of speaking to the official website, the North End chairman reflected back on the whole summer of business, that was more revolution than restructure.
“We knew that when the summer came along we had a revolution to take place in the playing squad. We had our targets very early and we moved very early on a number of players that we wanted, but we also, from the start, wanted a target that we needed as a goalscorer and that was Stuart Beavon.
“Despite the fact we have been knocked back a few times by Wycombe Wanderers, clearly because they had a talent they wanted to hang on to, and also we’ve had a number of other players put to us – we were very focused and very clear on the target we wanted to complete what has been a very elaborate jigsaw puzzle in rebuilding the squad.
“If you’d have asked me 24 hours ago I would have said this would never happen, then all of a sudden it was resurrected with a late night phone call I received from Wycombe Wanderers. I knew that as part of our need to balance the books and to get the wage bill down to a manageable level I still had to do some business in getting players out and obviously we managed to get Iain Hume on a loan to Doncaster until the January transfer window; Craig Morgan by mutual agreement cancelled his current contract and that has allowed me to move forward.
“Today is particularly satisfying because we have got the man who was always out number one choice as well as the rest of the players we have brought in, who were the number one choices for their own positions. When last season finished we said we wanted to start this season stronger; we wanted our supporters to recognise the ambition and I would challenge anybody to question that ambition when they look at the squad that is going to be available to the manager for selection in the coming weeks.
“When there appears to be a lack of transfer activity people assume you are either doing nothing or you don’t know what you’re doing. We’ve known from day one who we wanted to bring in. We also knew that if we could acquire Stuart there would be excitement among the supporter base.
“Everyone has been telling me for weeks that he was the man to get. We knew that, we just didn’t want to say where we were at with it. As I speak after the deadline’s shut after a very long day in the transfer market, we can go to bed in the satisfied knowledge that we’ve completed the jigsaw puzzle with a player our own supporters have told us to go and get and that’s exactly what we’ve done.”
The media and the supporters have mentioned many times the phrase ‘stellar signings’, something Peter hopes the fans will find in all the summer recruits going forward: “What we are building is a team and I have been asked several times about ‘stellar signings’ and I have questioned what people mean by that, because I think that by recruiting the right players into the team they make themselves stellar signings and it has been easy to identify a number of those players who fit into that category in the opening games of the season.
“Having said all of that, the one thing our supporters were craving for was a recognised goalscorer. They wanted to see the ambition by acquiring a goalscorer that would attract a significant transfer fee and in that record Stuart Beavon fits that bill.”
And with the Guild getting into full swing on Saturday and the Guild game against Swindon on Sunday to follow, the chairman admits it is an exciting time by be a Lilywhites follower.
“I think it’s a very exciting time to be a Preston North End supporter. I think they are already excited by some of the performances they have seen from the players we have brought in and now with the addition of Stuart we really have got a squad that we believe will be challenging at the top end of League One in the coming weeks.
“I’ve been excited ever since I joined Preston North End Football Club. This is a wonderful club, tremendous tradition, great supporters and with an owner who made it clear to me when I was joining that he wanted this Club where we belong – which is initially in the Championship and hopefully in the not too distant future in the Premier League.
“I knew that the challenge this summer was to get a team together that the manager had identified to reignite the supporters excitement that perhaps was missing over the last 18 months or so. I think we have done that and to the degree we have, I am equally excited. Anybody who sees me on a matchday will see the passion I have got anyway, but I have changed from being nervous in the past, when I knew we had a number of gaps to fill, to being truly excited about the opportunity we have ahead of us, because we have built a team now that every few teams will want to come and play against.”
Make sure you get down and support the owner, chairman, manager and players at the Guild fixture on Sunday as The Robins of Swindon come to Deepdale for a 3pm kick-off - the ticket office (in the Club shop) is open from 9am until 5pm on Saturday, when you can also call on 0844 856 1966, whilst you can buy online at www.mypne.com until 23:59 on Saturday night. The ticket office reopens at 9am on Sunday, with tickets on sale from all ticket offices for all parts of the ground right up to kick-off, so come and support Stuart, his new team mates and Graham Westley as they take on The Robins in a huge weekend in the City.