Today it is the 140th birthday of Preston North End Football Club and club historian Ian Rigby explains how this date became a red letter day in club’s past.
The North End Club, as we know it today, started playing cricket on the newly-opened Moor Park in 1867, but only played seven games that summer, but winning five of them.
Even the occasion of playing two opponents on the same day, as with Bamber Bridge and Chorley in modern times, being a good example, is nothing new as the North End Cricket Club did that in May 1868 playing both St Ignatius CC at home and the Fylde CC away at the same time.
During January 1875 the club moved across to the site at Deepdale and by 1876 had played over 20 known cricket matches at Deepdale, but Preston Cricket Club was, and still is, the number one cricket club in the area.
Therefore, at a North End general meeting on 6th September 1876 it was proposed, seconded and carried to form a rugby football section of the club, but at the same time playing cricket. By 1880 the rugby side was not playing too many games, most being against local opponents.
Therefore, having already had a couple of experimental games of football with the round ball, and seeing the success of the game in East Lancashire, it was resolved at a general meeting of the members that the club should join the Lancashire Association Football Union and henceforth play under their rules.
It was also resolved at the meeting that the name of the club should be (wait for it!) the Preston Athletic Society and North End Cricket Club and Football Club!
That meeting was chaired by Major William Sudell on May 10th 1880 at the Deepdale Station Hotel. Major Sudell was one of a few players that represented the North End at cricket, rugby and football.