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History

One Hit Wonder - Farrell Kilbane

3 June 2015

Over the course of the summer, we will be reviewing some of the best bits from the award winning ‘The One And Only’ matchday programme.

Farrell Kilbane; older brother of Kevin, couldn’t imagine playing for anyone else but Preston after making his debut for the Club in March 1994, coming on as a substitute in a 3-1 victory against Torquay United at Deepdale.

Both Farrell and Kevin grew up avid Preston supporters, and whilst both progressed through the North End ranks, Farrell, unlike his brother, never properly cut it as a professional footballer.

So after his solo appearance in lilywhite colours, Kilbane dropped down the divisions making over 200 appearances for Stafford Rangers, before reuniting with former North Ender Liam Watson after a spell at Lancaster, firstly with Southport, and then at Burscough.

He won the Conference North with Port and the league with Burscough, before finishing his career with spells at North West trio, AFC Fylde, Fleetwood and Trafford.

“My dad used to take me as a young boy to Deepdale and that was my first memory of football,” recalls Kilbane in an exclusive interview with The One And Only.

“With us growing up around the corner, fans used to come past my house on a Saturday, whilst me and my brother kicked a ball around.

“So when I received the news that I could possibly play in a North End shirt for the first time, I was incredibly proud.”

The news however erupted a mixture of emotions for Kilbane, as he recollects how manager at the time John Beck broke the news to the then 20-year-old.

“The day before the game, Beck named the team with Mick Norbery up front.

“At the time, ‘Norbes’ had come back from injury, so Beck said: ‘when he gets tired, you’re going on in place of him’ and pointed at me.

“That night I didn’t sleep well at all, and I woke up in the morning equally as nervous.

“With 15 minutes to go, Beck threw me on up front - don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

“But I don’t think I did myself justice that day and I think the occasion got to me.”

Farrell’s Factfile
Date of birth:
21/10/74
Place of birth: Preston, England
Position: Defender
Game for PNE: Preston 3 Torquay United 1, March 1994
Other Clubs: Stafford, Lancaster, Southport, Burscough, AFC Fylde, Fleetwood, Trafford

Little was Kilbane to know that that quarter of an hour he played in the spring of ‘94 would be his only minutes in a lilywhite shirt.

Gary Peters took over the departing John Beck as manager months later, with the North End coach making the decision to let the youngster go two years after playing his first and only game for the Club.

“It was such a tough day leaving Preston considering my relationship with the Club,” added Kilbane.

“Gary sat me down and said: ‘I may regret this one day, but we’re not renewing your contract’.

“At the time you think he’s the worst man in the world, but at the end of the day he had a job to do.

“I lived about five minutes from the ground. I don’t really remember much of the journey home but I’d say it took me 20 to 30 minutes to walk home that day.

“My head was spinning, and it took me a few days to adjust, but that’s just life really.

“I look back at that game against Torquay and think what might have been, and in hindsight I’d love to have played better. I never really got a look in after that game but that’s just football for you.”

The now 39-year-old refused to let the experiences of that day get the best of him, with Kilbane continuing his career as a non-league footballer, coinciding with life as a café owner, a prison officer and a fitness instructor.

“During my time at Stafford, I bought a café in Preston city centre called Market View and I owned that for five years.

“I then went on to go into the prison service in 2005, firstly as a prison officer before specialising as I do now as a PE prison officer, so I work in the gym and in the prison environment which suits me down to the ground.     

“I run fitness classes in and around the Preston area in my spare time and one I run is in Saint Gregory’s school which is just around the corner from Deepdale which is where I went as a youngster.”

And like his brother Kevin who regularly attends Deepdale, Farrell’s roots remain strong towards the Preston area, and that remains a constant with his former Club.

“Preston are always one of the first results I look out for. I still know a couple of faces there and I still follow them and always will.

“I see Kevin a lot more on TV then I do personally. He’s very busy and I’m very busy.

“We live in different parts of the country so we tend not to see each other a lot because of working reasons but he’s doing really well for himself and I’m pleased for him.”


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