Page 3 of 5 FirstFirst 12345 LastLast
Results 21 to 30 of 46

Thread: Golden days

  1. #21
    Substitute redfives's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Cheers budgie,good read that mate,
    Only thing I remember about my first game is franky Worthingtons back perm !
    Onwards and upwards we go !!

  2. #22
    Forum Patron
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Quote Originally Posted by budgierustler View Post
    Saturday December 2nd 1967 is not a date that you will find indelibly printed in any football history book or anywhere else for that matter. Yet for one little seven year old lad from Leyland it was the start of a lifetime`s journey watching his beloved football team. On a cold Winter`s Saturday afternoon, 50 years ago, Mr Roper senior decided it was time for Roper junior to make his debut at Deepdale. Standing on the open corner, where the Kop met the Pavilion Paddock, I watched my first game at Deepdale against Bristol City. To be honest I can remember very little about the game but I do remember thinking how big Deepdale looked and my Dad telling me that this is where Tommy Finney played. I had heard my Dad, Grandad and Uncle talk about this Tommy Finney before, but it was only many years later that I realised the impact the great man had on Preston North End and the esteem that he was held in. For the record North End lost the game 1-0 but I was completely hooked by the excitement of game day and hearing the crowd, even if was only 10,127, cheering for Preston. By the time the next home game came around my Grandma, God bless her, had knitted me a Blue and White Scarf and Bob-hat and a 50 year love affair had well and truly begun.
    In the late sixties North End were a second tier club on the decline after the relegation in 1961, with only really the 1963-4 season and a few high profile cup ties to keep us on the back pages. That first season, 67-68 we finished in the bottom half of what is now the Championship and the following season we did the same. Deepdale saw some excellent cup-ties though with a win against Forest in 69 followed by a draw against Chelsea in the next round the same season. The Chelsea game was probably most memorable for the amount of trouble inside the ground with fighting breaking out all over the gaffe. Football hooliganism had finally made its way up North to Deepdale. By the time the 69-70 season came I was a season ticket holder and I think it was 10 shillings for a junior or 50p in decimal currency. I loved going to Deepdale but that season was to end in North Ends first relegation to the third tier and to add insult to injury it was Blackpool who sent us down in front of 35,000 at Deepdale. I was old enough to know what relegation meant and after crying myself to sleep that night I immediately looked forward to the following season after being totally convinced by my Dad that North End would “come straight back”.
    In the Summer of 1970 North End appointed a man called Alan Ball as manager and after a slightly shaky start my Dad`s prophecy became glorious reality. Ball had told the players on the first day of training that they were going to win Division Three and that is exactly what they did. A defining away win at Fulham on May 1st 1971 saw North End back in the second in a game that still rates as my all-time favourite 46 years later. North End stayed in the Second Division for three more seasons before going down again in 1974 under the guidance of Bobby Charlton who had replaced Alan Ball in the summer of 1973. By this time I was going to home and to some away games on my own or with my mates, much to my Dad`s relief I suspect, but it took North End four more years to get out of the third tier. Nobby Stiles got us promoted in 1978 after a nail biter of a game at Wrexham on Bank holiday Monday that North End were not even involved in. I remember getting back to Preston after watching Wrexham draw with Peterborough (which ensured we were promoted) and trying to drink Fishergate and Friargate dry ending up somewhere on the flag market with a few hundred other North End fans celebrating our resurrection to the second tier.
    We finished the 70`s in 7th position in the second division but just two years later, in May 1981, we were relegated. We had a good side then but the sacking of Nobby Stiles and the continued selling of our best players ensured a tortuous 5 years, with North End, incredibly, having to apply for re-election to the Football League in 1986. I chuckle, sometimes, at those who moan today about the club not being ambitious and just wonder what they would have said in the Summer of 86. I was going home and away pretty much right through the bad times and although it was a somewhat smaller band in those days there was always plenty of ale supped and we all stuck together through hell and high water. The Scunthorpe game with only 2,005 in attendance and the Telford defeat at home in the FA Cup are just two of the moments that highlight just how low we had sunk in those very dark days. However joy was just around the corner and Big John McGrath got us up at the first attempt in 1987 with his merry band of players culminating in a real piss up at Orient to seal promotion and a pitch invasion to boot.
    North End made steady progress during the third decade of my love affair with the club but after Les Chapman departed the enigma that was John Beck arrived. Beck was one of the best general managers the club ever had but was one of the worst as far as the football was concerned We went down at the end of his first season when it seemed impossible to do so with six games left. We then lost in the play-off final to Wycombe in 94 but this was actual a huge highlight for me as I watched my team walk out at Wembley for the very first time. It was a very emotional moment as North End had not been at HQ since 1964. North End were then taken over by Baxi and without ploughing millions into the club they steadily got the ground redeveloped and with Beck`s inevitable departure his assistant, Gary Peters, was given the job.
    A new dawn was about to break at Deepdale. Peters managed to get North End in the play offs in 1995 only to be beaten by Bury in the semi-final but in 1996 it was Champions again as Peters lifted us from the basement, amazingly again, with a win at Orient this time watched by North Ends most famous loanee, David Beckham. North End was solid in 1997 but started struggling in 1998 and the Baxi plan did not include going backwards down the leagues. Peters paid the price and North End appointed his assistant, David Moyes, and the rest as they say is History. Survival in 1998 followed by the play offs in 1999 and then in 2000 promotion back to the second tier for the first time in 19 years. I was 20 years old when North End went down from the second tier and I was 39 when we finally got back. Those were a long 19 years in the football Wilderness. The final game of the promotion season at Bristol City was another booze up of epic proportions with nine of us going down in a minibus and supping enough cans of Boddingtons to fill the Bristol Channel. We were on the pitch at the end and by this time being 39 I really should have known better but what the hell Preston were back and it was time to party.
    Moyes and his boys didn’t just stop at promotion for against all the odds in the 2000-1 season we finished 4th and went into the play offs for the Premier League. One down after the first leg at Birmingham we had a never to be forgotten night at Deepdale with Mark Rankine levelling the aggregate score with almost the last kick of the game. The penalty shoot-out was almost too tense to watch but David Lucas did his bit and North End held their nerve to win and seal a place at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff against Bolton in the final. We were well beaten on the day by an experienced Bolton side. The big clubs came hunting for Moyes and in March 2002 he left for Everton. Around this time I started doing a “fans panel” piece for the Lancashire Evening Post, something which I am still involved in today. Anyway, I digress form the on the field activities. Craig Brown took over the following season and to his credit brought in some excellent players but could just not get the formula right on the field. Brown was relieved of his duties shortly after the start of the 2004-5 season and, once again, his assistant was promoted. Billy Davies was a bit of a love / hate character but he took us to the play off final in 2005 with what was our best chance of reaching the top flight during my watching lifetime. We had beaten West Ham twice in the league and surely, this time, the golden pastures were waiting. North End just weren`t at on the day and Bobby Zamora won the game for the Hammers. It was a hammer blow but we were back in the play offs in 2006 and this time it was Leeds in the semi-final. After a 1-1 draw in Yorkshire we came back to Deepdale but on a catastrophic evening we contrived to make history of the wrong sort. It was to be Billy Davies last game as manager and to say he left under a cloud would be to understate the facts
    2007 and into my fifth decade watching the club as Paul Simpson took over the Deepdale reins. Simpson started very well but as things took a turn for the worst as Simpson started blaming “bad apples” inside the dressing room and although we had a decent season Simpson was to pay the price in the autumn of 2008. In came Alan Irvine and with a fantastic run at the end of the season we scraped into the 2009 play offs but once again slipped up in the semi-final, this time against Sheffield United. At this time I was usually travelling away with St Gregs coach and to say that group liked a drink would be stating the very obvious. We had some great days out on Gregs coaches right from 2004 to about 2010 but all good things must come to an end and so did North Ends time in the Championship in 2011. Irvine had been sacked in 2009 after buying a series of player’s years past their sell by date and was replaced by Darren Ferguson, who started well but tailed off towards the end of the 2010 season. In December 2010 son of Fergie was sacked and Phil Brown took over. Brown took a while to get the boys going and, alas, we were relegated in May 2011 six points adrift of safety after 11 years in the Championship.
    Around this time Trevor Hemmings decided to become majority shareholder and with North End around 45m in the red he bought the £4 shares for 5p. Now that might seem like an opportunist cashing in but nothing could be further from the truth as Hemmings cleared the debt and put the club on a sound financial footing for the years to come. To date Hemmings has put around 70m of his own money into Preston North End, something his detractors may want to consider before levelling unwarranted criticism.
    In our first season back in the third tier Brown started well with Hume, Mellor and Proctor forming a formidable front three. 22 points in from 9 games and all was looking good for an immediate return. Unfortunately injuries to all three at different times saw us in the bottom half on League One in December 2011 and Browne went where Fergie had gone before him. We then appointed a real head the ball called Graham Westley. Westley never really struck a chord with the North End fans although his first season was really about clearing out the high earners and putting a team together. It was a mediocre season and by February of the following season enough was enough. 132 of us witnessed a 3-1 defeat at Yeovil on a Tuesday evening and the following day Peter Ridsdale sacked Westley, allegedly, under the clock at Waterloo station. The next appointment was crucial and thank goodness Ridsdale got it right. Simon Grayson was the man and after steering us to safety in 2013 we reached the play offs in 2014 only to lose, again, in the semi-final, to Rotherham. The following season, 2014-15, was destined to be, ultimately, a glorious affair. We went to Colchester on the last day needing to win to be promoted, and lost. So it was the play offs again but this time, after hammering Chesterfield in the semi-final, it was to be Swindon at Wembley. This time, finally we turned up and thrashed Swindon 4-0 with Jermaine Beckford getting at Hat-trick. I had achieved one of my two remaining ambitions with North End and that was to see a Preston Captain lift a trophy at Wembley. It was a fabulous day. The 24th of May 2015.
    North End were back in the Championship after four years in League One and with a good bit of wheeling and dealing in the transfer market Grayson got us to 11th in our first season back. Last season hopes were high of a better finish but North End had a bad start and a very bad finish to, once again, finish 11th. Grayson left in the summer for Sunderland after a successful four and a half years at Deepdale and I think, all things considered, history will be kind to him when he is remembered in the annuals on North End history.
    So we come to the here and now and reflecting on this season, after a very good start we had a real Black October with injuries. Only recently we have started to recover but new manager Alex Neil is fast winning the hearts and minds of the Preston public with his honest no-nonsense approach to his football. I guess I am now back to the start of the story and December 2nd 1967. On Saturday it will be QPR at Deepdale on Saturday December 2nd 2017 and I make that exactly 50 years watching the Lilywhites. People often say that you don`t know what you missed not seeing Finney and no one can really argue with that. However I have seen Kelly, Ross, Ball, Ham, Ingram, Bruce, Elwiss, Charlton, Stiles, Lawrenson, Robinson, Thompson, Thomas, Brazil, Worthington, McGrath, Moyes, Peters, Wilkinson, Saville, Kelly Jnr, Kilbane, Macken, Healy, Cresswell, Fuller, Lewis, Davies, Alexander, Nugent Davis, Mawene, Lucketti, McKenna, Beckford, Garner, McGeady and a few hundred more too numerous to mention.
    I suppose there is really only one ambition left and, yes, of course, it`s promotion to the Premiership. Well over 2,000 games and not one game in the top flight! It used to be an aspiration but now, like many North End fans, it is becoming an obsession and none of us are getting any younger. So I might have a little tipple before the game in St Gregs club and quietly reflect on 50 year supporting the club in the town, sorry, city, where I was born on July 18th 1960. I`ve met some truly wonderful people along the way and I haven`t finished yet by a long chalk. My favourite manager was Alan Ball, my favourite player was Mike Elwiss and my favourite game was at Fulham over 46 years ago. The highs and lows have made a wonderful cacophony of memories but most of all the North End fans have made my 50 years watching North End truly unforgettable – as the late great Alan Ball famously said “These are not fans, they are Gentry”

    PS. Thanks Dad for taking me on all those years ago. I couldn`t have done it without you. x
    A really great read that budgie. Congratulations on bringing up your half century and hope we cap it off with 3 points today. Look forward to reading your update when we make the final step up!!

  3. #23
    League Cup Team
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Absolutely l loved this post.

    Frightened how much I am forgetting nowadays.

  4. #24
    Manager edgy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    In the shed - plotting
    Quote Originally Posted by redfives View Post
    Cheers budgie,good read that mate,
    Only thing I remember about my first game is franky Worthingtons back perm !
    A classic couture
    And surely due to make a comeback

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Great Post

    Great post that John. I was born on July 18 1956 and your PNE memories over the years are very much aligned with my own. Just like you, still waiting for PNE to reach the promised land.
    More than 45 years a White and still waiting to visit the promised land

  6. #26
    Transfer Target
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Great read John. I remember that 1970/1 season very well. Went to a lot of away games myself with a couple of mates but didn't go to Fulham. On that day I was at Blackpool and watched them draw 1-1 with Manchester United. Those were the days when you relied on a tranistor radio to get the scores but we couldn't get any reception. The halftime scores were usually put up by hanging numbers on hooks opposite the centre line and so this guy was putting the numbers up. Each time he put the home team up first. North End's score was the last one and he picked out the numeral one and to our great surprise he hung it on the bottom rung. Unbelievable we were one nil up at halftime. Got the final score on the car radio and then to the memorable game against Rotherham at Deepdale. Pure magic.

  7. #27
    League Starter
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Quote Originally Posted by raefil View Post
    This was my first ever match,sadly i really have no memories of it.

    I was there and do remember going into the South Pavilion Stand as a 4 y.o. knowing the crowd was bigger than the previous game !!! I recall nothing else !

  8. #28
    Substitute Sneaky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Great read :-)

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Fantastic memories. Given that we are the same vintage, you have practically described my life watching the North End, except I can't match your prolific record for attending away games. My first game was a 0-1 defeat to Villa in January 1967. I also clearly remember the cup matches against Forest and Chelsea. As for what the future holds, who knows. I distinctly remember thinking on a few occasions that we would never get back to the 2nd tier. Certainly in the dark days in the 4th Division and applying for re-election this division seemed light years away. As for the Premiership, it might be a case of be careful of what you wish for, though somewhat begrudgingly I have to admit that the Dingles have shown that with the right backing and business model a provincial, mill town from Lancashire can get there and survive or at least successfully yo-yo. In the meantime, lets enjoy the ride, savour each game and also a few pre and post match pints. Here's to the next 50 years John!

  10. #30
    Assistant Manager Tark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Great review, Budgie, and being of a similar vintage to you I recognise all you report, as you do so well for the LEP these days.
    I don't recall my first game at Deepdale which was probably on the Pavilion Paddock, but the first game I remember was probably a 3rd Round FA cup match against Portsmouth - 1970? - if anyone can help? It was the only time I ever sat in the old West Stand, sat just before it curled round to the Kop. It was well before fan segregation, and the Pompy took the lead, twice I think, and their fans by us rang a large school bell to celebrate. PNE went on to equalise in the second half, and then on to win the game. Maybe 3 or 4 - 2? Every one around me taunted the Pompy fans to "Ring That Bell!" as we went ahead and then won the game.
    If anyone like John can remember that game, I'd love to know when it was and give me further dates and details. Cheers!


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts