January proved to be a busy month for Preston North End, with a combined 16 players in and out the Deepdale door, and the owner’s representative Peter Ridsdale has said he is very pleased with the work the club has done.
Speaking to iFollow PNE on the day after transfer deadline day, which saw the Lilywhites seal three incoming deals, Peter talked in depth about how the club went about their business throughout the hectic period.
He said: “The transfer window in January was very busy for a number of reasons. Obviously we’ve had to cover for some injuries, we’ve had some players leaving that we probably didn’t anticipate were going to leave us in January, and then there were opportunities to enhance the squad with loan signings from Everton for example with Anthony Gordon.
“Look, it’s been busy but we’re very pleased with what we’ve done. I think people have felt for some time we needed to refresh the squad and through various circumstances that’s we’ve done.”
Last month’s transfer window was comparatively quiet across the EFL, given the impacts of Covid-19 on club finances, but North End had an influx of players and Peter was keen to praise the owner, Mr Trevor Hemmings, for his help in making things happen.
Peter said: “We could go back to talk about the owner all day because the fact is without the owner this club doesn’t exist and I’ve been very privileged to have worked for him for just over nine years now. The fact is he cares passionately about Preston North End Football Club and without his financial support we wouldn’t be where we are.
“I don’t think supporters sometimes give him or any other owner frankly of football clubs the credit they deserve because they’re putting their hand in their own pocket to sustain the club and as I say I think that he can’t get enough credit for everything he does for us.
“We as a football club are at a crossroads, we knew that, I think our fans had said last summer they were concerned at how many players were out of contract in the summer of 2021 and I think we’ve dealt predominantly with all of those issues now.
“I think we’re in a situation now where only Paul Gallagher of the senior team is the only one who is now likely to be out of contract this summer that’s currently fit and available for selection. We’ve got a couple more who have been injured, so we’ll see what the next few months bring.
“I think we’ve dealt with the challenges ahead, given we’ve been in a pandemic, in a very good way. I noticed on Twitter somebody had said that I’d commented last summer that we don’t use the loan market a lot for varying reasons, loan fees etc.
"What has changed this January, and I think it’s symptomatic of the external market, is we’ve managed to do all of the loans that we have without paying loan fees and in the main we’ve paid what we believe to be the right salary that we would pay anyway within our own structure.
“So I think there’s been a massive shift within the marketplace and I think it’s been a shift that’s been to our benefit because we are in a financially stable condition and therefore I’m delighted with the work we’ve done, but that is why we’ve moved from perhaps historically not using the loan market as much.
“I also think that it means that when we get to the summer we can take stock of where we are as a football club, and we’re in a great position financially then to decide what we need to do on a permanent basis to top up the squad.”
One move which has certainly created a lot of media attention is the departure of PNE Academy product and central defender Ben Davies who earned a deadline day move to Liverpool.
He left not only with the best wishes from supporters across social media, but also his team-mates at Deepdale.
Peter said: “Ben Davies going to Liverpool is fantastic for all sorts of reasons. First of all, if you’d believed some on social media last Friday he’d already gone somewhere else and everyone suggested he’d gone to Scotland.
“I think as an advert from the club’s point of view for someone who’s come through our Academy to be going to the current Premier League champions and Club World Cup holders is an amazing move. I think it’s put Preston on the map as well as Ben Davies.
“We’re delighted for him and I’ve never seen any transfer out of a player to be as welcomed by our existing squad. Not because they wanted to lose Ben but they realised how important it was for his career, for this football club and a pathway for the successful players here if they can do on the field what we’d like them to.”
There is much more from Peter in the full interview at the top of the page as he comments on how PNE scout their players, his delight at finalising contracts for Alan Browne and Daniel Johnson, and much more.