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PNE Team Of The Decade

30 December 2019

North End fans voted in their thousands to choose their team of the decade and the final Xl can now be revealed!

Goalkeeper - Andrew Lonergan
Preston-born Andrew Lonergan made his debut for the club as a 16-year-old and went on to win the young player of the year award for the 2000/01 season. He kicked off the last decade between the sticks in a 7-0 win over Colchester United at Deepdale back on 2nd January 2010, and was a regular that season, making 50 appearances in all competitions before making a further 33 appearances the following season.

Lonergan left the club that summer, and despite not featuring too heavily during the last decade, he made a lasting impression on the North End faithful. Lonners was up against Jordan Pickford, Sam Johnstone and Declan Rudd for a spot in the team of the decade and after plenty of additional support from the fans of current club Liverpool, he won the Twitter vote to secure his spot in goal.

Right Back - Graham Alexander
North End legend Graham Alexander may not have played in his familiar right back position too regularly after returning to the club in 2011, there was no option but to include him in the voting after providing one of the moments of the decade in his final game for the club back in April 2012!

Alexander had been a regular at right back for the Lilywhites during his first spell at the club, and though he made his return to Deepdale as a midfielder, 'Grezza' was still the runaway winner in the vote to keep his spot as full back. The now Salford City boss ended his North End career in style, scoring a free-kick in the 90th minute to earn North End a point against Charlton Athletic after over 400 appearances in lilywhite.

Centre Back - Sean St. Ledger
The majority of Sean St. Ledger's North End career came in the previous decade, but such was the impact he made, he still managed to secure a place in the team of the decade with fans voting for him to be in the heart of the defence.

During the 2009/10 campaign, St Ledger made 34 appearances for North End, with a brief loan spell at Middlesbrough coming from September to December that season. He then went on to make a further 34 appearances the following season, before departing Deepdale for Leicester City in July 2011.

Centre Back - Ben Davies
After coming through the club's Academy, Ben Davies has become one of the first names on the team sheet for North End in recent seasons and it was no surprise to see him voted in by the fans. Davies made his North End debut in January 2013 before a number of loan spells further enhanced his development and he hasn't looked back since.

Ben has already received a number of accolades during his time at the club, he was awarded the scholar of the year award in 2013 before picking up the 2018 young player of the year award in his breakthrough season under manager Alex Neil. Davies was then a double winner at the end of the 2018/19 season, collecting the main Sir Tom Finney player of the year and the players' player of the year awards.

Left Back - Greg Cunningham
Irishman Greg Cunningham joined the club in July 2015 and spent three seasons with the Lilywhites as North End established themselves back in the Championship after promotion from League One. Cunningham was a regular in his first season at the club, making 46 appearances as North End finished 11th in their first year back in the second tier.

Greg went on to make a further 44 appearances the following season and that summer was named as stand-in captain for the 2017/18 season by Alex Neil after an injury to regular club captain Tom Clarke. During his spell at the club, Greg quickly became a fan favourite and was the clear winner with 56 per cent of the vote, fending off competition from Callum Davidson, Scott Laird and Andrew Hughes.

Right Wing - Aiden McGeady
After signing on loan from Everton on deadline day in the summer of 2016, McGeady made an immediate impact, scoring on his debut at Deepdale against Barnsley. The tricky playmaker was a delight to watch as he lit up the pitch on a number of occasions, and after the turn of the year, he went on to score a further seven goals for the club, two coming in a terrific performance in the 4-2 win over Brentford in February 2017.

That was an impressive month for the Republic of Ireland international as he picked up the Sky Bet Championship player of the month award, scoring three and setting up a further four as North End kept up the pace with the top six and went on to win the Sir Tom Finney player of the year award at the end of the season.

Centre Midfield - Ben Pearson
Ben Pearson joined North End from Manchester United in January 2016, but it wasn't until October that year that he became a regular in the side, forcing his way in to Simon Grayson's side and he has since flourished under manager Alex Neil who joined the club the following summer.

Pearson is well known for his tough tackling and no-nonsense character in the heart of midfield, but he brings this and much more to his game, something recognised by the manager with Pearson one of the first names on the team sheet when available for selection. Pearson has been a favourite amongst the North End faithful for some time and he came out on top of the midfielders voting.

Centre Midfield - Paul Gallagher
Paul Gallagher featured for North End in the previous decade while on loan from Blackburn Rovers in 2007, but it's in the last decade where he has secured his status as a hero amongst the Preston North End fans.

Gallagher enjoyed two loan spells at the club during the 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons, where he helped North End to back to back Play-Off campaigns, including the memorable win at Wembley in 2015. That summer Gallagher made the permanent switch to Deepdale and is closing in on 300 appearances for the club, a terrific landmark for a player who clearly has the club at heart and as the fans say, is like a fine wine, getting better as he gets older!

Left Wing - Callum Robinson
Callum Robinson spent three loan spells with the club before joining on a permanent deal in July 2016 from Aston Villa. Robinson had played his part in promotion from League One, featuring 28 times and scoring seven times during the 2014/15 campaign. After a brief loan at Bristol City, Robinson returned to Deepdale on loan in January 2016 and made the move permanent in July.

During the 2016/17 season, Robinson scored 11 goals in 46 appearances before scoring a further seven the following season under manager Alex Neil. It was the 2018/19 campaign though where Robinson flourished, he enjoyed his best goalscoring tally in a North End shirt, scoring 13 goals in 29 appearances, despite missing a large spell of the season with a hamstring injury. Robinson's form earned him a move to Premier League side Sheffield United in the summer of 2019.

Striker - Joe Garner
Boyhood North End fan Joe Garner was certainly a fan favourite during his three years with the club, scoring 54 goals in a North End shirt. Garner scored 24 goals in all competitions in the 2013/14 season as North End reached the Play-Off semi-finals, when he scored a goal of the decade contender in the semi-final first leg against Rotherham United, and then winning the Sir Tom Finney player of the year award at the end of the campaign.

Joe was then a double winner at the North West Football Awards, winning League One player of the year and goal of the year. Garner went one better the following season, scoring 27 goals in 44 appearances as North End made their return to the Championship through the Play-Offs.

Striker - Jermaine Beckford
Jermaine Beckford joined on an emergency loan deal in November 2014 from Bolton Wanderers, before extending his stay until the end of the 2014/15 campaign in the January. Beckford had previously worked under then manager Simon Grayson and came in to provide further fire power up front and he certainly brought that!

Becks scored 18 goals in 31 appearances as he fired North End up the table as the Lilywhites looked to secure a place back in the Championship. Jermaine was named League One player of the month in April 2015 and then after disappointment on the final day against Colchester United, Beckford was on hand to ensure North End were successful in the Play-Offs for the first time in ten attempts!

Becks scored the only goal of the game in the first leg of the semi-final away to Chesterfield, before scoring twice in the home leg to secure a place in the Final at Wembley, which included a superb effort from the half-way line. The best was yet to come as he went on to score a hat-trick in the emphatic 4-0 win over Swindon Town as North End returned to the Championship in style at Wembley.


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