Club captain Alan Browne said he’ll be “forever grateful” to Mr Trevor Hemmings for the faith and trust he showed him throughout his time at Preston North End.
Mr Hemmings is somebody who the midfielder had a strong personal relationship with, especially given that the club’s owner was heavily involved in bringing the Irishman to Deepdale back in 2014.
Seven years on and Browne is now approaching 300 games for the club, which could be achieved as early as next Wednesday, and he feels there is nobody more he has to thank for that than Mr Hemmings himself.
Browne told iFollow PNE: “Obviously it would have been great if he was still here to see that, but it’s up to myself and the lads to go and make him proud, do everything we can as he would have wanted us to do.
“To try to take the club to those levels that he would have wished for and that’s what we’ve got to do.
“For me personally, to be approaching that milestone, there’s no other man to thank for that and I’ll be forever grateful for the trust he put into me and the faith he showed to me and the relationship he built with me along the way.”
Given everything that Mr Hemmings did in his near half-century involved with the football club, PNE would like as many supporters as possible to have the chance to show their thanks by offering tickets for just £5 for this weekend’s home game against Derby County.
All of that money will be donated to charities which Mr Hemmings was involved with, an idea which Browney feels is very fitting.
He said: “I think it’s a lovely gesture and something that he probably would have wanted, to try and raise money and give to various charities.
“He didn’t promote or gloat about it, he just went about it and did his best for those charities that he wanted to, and as well as that doing as much business as he could as well. As I said before, to have so much going on and always giving back as well is just amazing.
“I hope they [the Hemmings family] do realise how much he meant to everyone: the players, the staff, the fans, the community in general.
“I think it’s a great occasion and a great chance for people to come and show that appreciation for all that he’s done for the club and for ourselves.
“I just hope that it turns out the way that it should and everyone shows up and makes it a packed out stadium and gives him the sort of send off he deserves.”
Right up until his last moments, Mr Hemmings was doing deals in various industries and adding to his vast collection of ventures.
At any age, his achievements were remarkable, but to continue doing so at the age of 86, Browney feels shows a lot about his character.
“It’s amazing how involved he was in everything that he did,” said North End’s No.8. “To have so much going on in your life at such a late age is unbelievable.
“I think he probably didn’t have the time he deserved to reflect on his life as a whole and applaud himself for what he’d done, because I think right up until the end he was working away.
“He was planning on coming [into the training ground] the following day and doing deals for various things right up until the end and it’s absolutely amazing.
“I can’t imagine many people would work that hard and be so involved in everything for such a long period of time.
“That’s how clued up he was and I think that adds to the shock of how it happened. The following day at the training ground it was really glum. I think everybody was really still in shock and even now speaking about it, it’s hard to believe and hard to put into words because he was such a healthy man, such an active man, and it is a real tragedy.
“I think Craig [Hemmings] coming in and saying a few words and reminding us what his wishes would have been, 'business as usual', it kind of gave us the motivation to kick on and go and train as usual and going forward do as much as we can to make him proud because he deserves nothing less for everything he’s done.”
Hear more of Browney’s heartfelt tribute to Mr Hemmings in his full interview on iFollow PNE, which you can find at the top of the page.