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On This Day… 27th March

27 March 2020

As we look back through our archives, today’s date sees us examine the debut of a player who has been in plenty of this week’s articles, as well as a cult hero from the recent past, as well as a real anti-hero!

We have already featured this week the signing of Graham Alexander and you can also listen to part of an Official PNE Podcast Special with Grezza by clicking here – as he discusses his early career and the first two and a half years with the Lilywhites.

But 21 years ago today was the former No.2’s debut as the Lilywhites faced Northampton Town at Deepdale – the last time we played the Cobblers in any competition.

Graham, then 27, went straight into David Moyes’ starting line-up at left back, with David Eyres on the left-hand side of the defence, rather unfamiliarly, whilst the bench also included fellow new recruits Paul McGregor and Mark Winstanley.

It was the forwards who shone on the day though, as PNE ran out 3-0 winners, Steve Basham scoring one in each half, with Jon Macken adding a third as the Lilywhites continued to push at the top end of the division two table, eventually finishing in the Play-Offs.

Today also happens to be the birthday of a real cult hero from the early noughties - 'Gorgeous George' Koumantarakis was born 46 years ago today, in Greece, before moving to South Africa as a child.

The rangy frontman was a Craig Brown recruit from Swiss side Basel in January 2003, with whom that season he had already played against Celtic, Valencia and Liverpool in the Champions League!

Injury restricted him to 19 games and five goals, but he is still remembered by all who saw him in a lilywhite shirt, with some memorable games include a 5-0 home win over Walsall, when he grabbed a brace, and a very rare win at the Madejski Stadium, against Reading in a third round replay of the FA Cup in January 2004, when he grabbed the winner.

A player who made his final appearance for the club on this date was midfielder Richard Chaplow. The Burnley-born former Claret signed from West Bromwich Albion in January 2008 and went on to score eight goals in 68 appearances in an injury-blighted spell, before leaving to join Southampton, with whom he had a previous loan period.

One of 79 players to have scored league hat-tricks for the club, anti-hero Tony Ellis bagged a treble on this day 1993.

The game was a 5-2 home win over Rotherham United and it was the third of four occasions that the future Blackpool man scored three goals in a game during his two spells with the Lilywhites. Only six players have scored more hat-tricks for the club in league games than the now Rochdale Academy manager!

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