Ainsworth was mine. First Preston NE shirt I had, the Coloroll one in the picture, had 'Ainsworth 7' on the back. Got it from some sports shop in St Marks in town but too young to remember it's name etc.I had two idols as a young lad.
Sadly one of them decided to commit the ultimate sin and join that lot down the M55.
The other who I would now say probably one of my favourite every North Enders was Gareth Ainsworth.
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Not only was he a very talented footballer but he gave everything for the shirt, every time he played. He came out to the coaches when we got relegated at Bolton and often had a bandaged head and bloodied shirt.
He had a few spells at North End and each time was the same, fully committed, was a tragedy that we didn't sign him full time after his final loan spell.
Same here, Tuesday. Me and my brother still talk about the smell of pipe smoke as you entered the ground, and the sound of the ball hitting the back of the net especially on wet nights. Magical. Something else which doesn't seem to happen anymore is the crossbar bouncing for about 5 minutes after someone belted the ball against it.Willie Irvine for me. Loved the guy! But tbh I idolised em all at that time.
When I first went on Deepdale I was in absolute awe of the whole thing. The players running out of the tunnel at 5 to 3 to the roar of the crowd. Counter chanting between standing home and away fans, the smells of 2nd hand booze, pipe smoke and the rise and fall of the crowd noise as attacks came and went. Finally the explosion of sound as the ball hit the net. There always seemed to be a momentary lull as the collective fans took a breath the instant before the strike, and I couldn’t help noticing someone always seemed to scream during that lull.
What I wouldn’t give to go back and witness one more game in late 60s Deepdale through my 12 year old eyes.