Former PNE defender Youl Mawene is delighted his son Noah’s first professional deal is coming at Preston North End, a club which their family has a “special connection” with.
The midfielder, who is just 16 years of age, has signed a two-year scholarship to play with the youth team, while also putting pen to paper on a pro contract which will officially begin when he turns 17.
It won’t be the first time the Mawene name will be worn on the back of a PNE shirt, though, with his father Youl having spent six years with the club and endearing himself to the Deepdale fans in that time.
Speaking to PNE.Com about Noah’s deal, Youl said: “We’re really proud. We’ve got a long association with the club, a really strong bond and special connection with the fans and people here, so it’s just a proud moment.
“He’s worked really hard, got himself an opportunity to become a scholar and then hopefully kick on so we’re really happy.
“It’s nice but it’s not the be all and end all. There’s still a long way to go. Obviously we’re really grateful for the trust, it comes with big responsibility and a lot of duties as well so we’re aware of that and we intend to make the most of it.”
Youl has been working in football for many years since his retirement from playing, previously working with Fleetwood Town before moving on to Salford City.
That has meant he hasn’t had too many opportunities to come back to Deepdale, but with the potential of seeing Noah play with the first team down the line, Youl is pleased to have more of a reason to return to his former home.
“I’ve been to the odd few games every year, but it’ll definitely be nice to be in the stand and feel the atmosphere again and just push the lads on basically," added Youl.
“It’s still a long shot, there’s a lot of hard work to be done to get there, but I’ll be looking forward to that moment if it happens.
“It’s a family club Preston; it’s been like that for years. It’s just nice to see people, ask how their families are getting on, what their kids are up to and all that. It’s just next level really. It’s special to us so we’re delighted it’s at Preston and not somewhere else.
“It’s that connection you have with people. I’ve always been grateful for the support here. I’ve been treated with a lot of love so it’s a continuing that a little bit. It’s a proud moment but we’re conscious of the responsibility as well which comes with it.”