Paul McKenna is a PNE legend. He may only be 36, but with 470 whole-hearted games under his belt in the famous lilywhite, he is a modern day fan favourite.
For many years it looked like he would play out his career at Deepdale, but with Billy Davies in charge at the City Ground the Chorley-born midfielder was given the chance of a new chapter in his career and when he spoke to The One And Only ahead of the FA Cup replay at Deepdale, he admitted there was only one reason he left the Club he had grown up with.
“It was because of Billy,” he told the official matchday programme. “I’d worked with him here and I knew what he was all about and he’d expressed to me how much ambition the club had and they were really having a go at getting promotion.
“I think with him making the bid to the Club, he made his intentions how much he wanted me and I think when someone wants you that much, it was a great opportunity for me and it was a great change.
“It was something I needed to do, I’d been at Preston a long time and it was just nice to see a different way of life and a different club done differently somewhere else and living in another part of the country.
“So it was a great experience and one that I look back on with fond memories.”
In an unprecedented turn of events, McKenna scored his first Forest goal against Preston as the Midlands outfit beat the Lilywhites 3-0 in a 2009 Championship clash.
Speaking of the strike, he said: “It was a really strange feeling because I hadn’t been long gone and when you’ve been here that long you kind of get a rapport with the fans, over the years you’d probably met a good percentage of them.
“My mum never missed a game for five or six years, she used to go everywhere and she worked at the Club, it’s been well documented.
“So it was part of my life and my family’s life and to score against them was bitter-sweet, I thought it’s just typical because I didn’t get many goals, but it wasn’t so sweet against them.
“But, like I say, I enjoyed the goal because it was great, you’d done well for the team you were playing for, but also I didn’t want to celebrate and rub the fans’ noses in it.”
You can read more from the former PNE No.16 in Wednesday’s programme, plus there is so much more crammed in.
We have Howard Kendall talking about his replay winner back in 1964, we have Joe Garner looking forward to facing his former employers, we have the thoughts of Jack King on his best ever run in the FA Cup.
There are 14 pages with Nottingham Forest connections and we have The Last Word written for the first time by former North End winger, PNE fan and now BBC pundit Kevin Kilbane.
Don’t forget; The One And Only is now available to download on your iPhone and iPad via the Matchday Digital app.
The Matchday Digital App allows you to view the North End programme anytime, anywhere. You can make one-off purchases or take out a season pass so you are subscribed to the whole season. If you can’t make the game, simply download the programme on the Matchday Digital app and be part of the game.
The slick digital version comes with all the content you would have in the printed programme, but with added features including:
• Programmes available to fans any time, anywhere
• Download back copies from past games
• Programmes will be made available for purchase worldwide
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• Pinch screen feature to zoom into articles or images
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• The Matchday Digital app is free to download on to your iPhone/iPad.
Preston North End supporters can download an individual issue at £2.99 or take out a season pass for £49.99.
Download the Matchday Digital app on your iPhone or iPad for free now by clicking on the below iTunes App Store icon. Alternatively simply go to the iTunes App store on your iPhone/iPad and search for ‘Matchday Digital’.