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First Team News

The Player Of The Year Interviews: 1980 – Roy Tunks

3 June 2020

We’ve been busy speaking to former Player of the Year winners from the last few decades and today our focus is on the 1979/80 winner Roy Tunks, who spoke to Tom Rawcliffe.

Roy made over 300 appearances as a goalkeeper during his two spells at Deepdale after a move from Rotherham United in 1974.
Deals with the likes of Ipswich Town and even Liverpool broke down while he was a Miller, but once PNE came into the mix he did everything to make sure the move was finalised.
Roy said: “My contract had run out at Rotherham but there was no freedom of movement so I went to an independent tribunal and my PFA representative was Terry Venables. They came up with a fee which was halved every month then Bobby Charlton came in.
“Obviously at the time it was the chance to join a club that was high profile having Charlton and Nobby Stiles playing in the same side. They were two World Cup winners so I came across to Preston and the rest is history really.
“The first time I actually played at Deepdale was when I was at Rotherham. It was the night in 1971 that PNE had to win on the last game of the season to win the league and I was playing in goal for Rotherham.
“There was 28,000-odd there, it was full. That was a good impression of the place and the size and the history of the club. It influenced my decision to come and join them with Bobby Charlton.”
Once he’d become a North End player, Roy kept the gloves for the next seven seasons and is probably best remembered for his significant contribution in the 1977/78 promotion campaign.
While Alex Bruce and Mike Elwiss were among those firing in the goals at the top of the pitch, Roy played every league game that season, conceding just 38 goals which proved vital as PNE were promoted on goal average on the final day.
Roy recalled: “It was a really tight finish to the season. We drew at home on the last day to Shrewsbury, but Peterborough had one game in hand and if they’d have won it they’d have taken third place but they finished up drawing.
“Obviously it wasn’t live on TV so we all listened to the match on radio. It was quite frantic. The bits I can remember of it I know we had quite a celebration there. It was a good feeling and well deserved.”
Roy left PNE for Wigan Athletic in 1981 when Tommy Docherty took over at Deepdale, but he was soon back in PR1 as he joined up with the Lilywhites again in 1988.
It was during that time that he began coaching on the side, something which he’d previously received from PNE legend Alan Kelly Senior.
“I came back down and asked John McGrath if I could train and he said ‘no you can come and play’ so I thought great! So I came back and I think I played about 25 games and was coaching the A team at the same time so it got me into my coaching mode.
“I was lucky in a way because Alan Kelly Senior who had obviously finished playing was around the club when I was there and I asked him if he could come and do some specific training because there were no goalkeeping coaches then.
“He used to work me like mad one or two days a week. I’m sure that I reaped the benefits and by playing until I was 40 it was down to the fitness regime I did with Kel.
“At the same time Alan Jr. was 14. I used to take him and do some sessions with him and he took over from me when I finished playing so I was like an interim really between him and his dad playing at North End.”
After retiring from playing, he fully transitioned into coaching, going on to work for the likes of the Football Association, Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City where he retired at 65.
Roy still lives locally and tries to get down to Deepdale a few times a season, and even when he’s not at the ground, he always keeps an eye out for the result.
“I’m really pleased with the way that the club’s set up now. I really do hope to see them get into the Premier League, I’d love that and I think everyone in Preston would.
“They’re doing exceptionally well and if the season gets finished then they’ve got a good chance to get into the Play-Offs.
“I was delighted to see that North End were the first team in line to make it to 5,000 league games – that’s fantastic.
That would be a fantastic milestone for the whole club and I’d think that something like that would lift the city itself, you’d love to see the whole city get behind it.”
To read or watch more of our interviews, just click here, to visit the dedicated section for all our Player of the Year features that we have done during recent weeks.

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