Preston North End Profile

Major Honours First Division (2), FA Cup (2)
Year Founded 1880

As founding members of the Football League, as well as the first-ever champions, Preston have a strong place in English soccer history. However, they have not won a major trophy since 1938.

Preston North End are a professional football team based in Preston, Lancashire.

They play in the EFL Championship, the second tier of English football. North End was founded in 1863 as a cricket club before switching to becoming a football club in 1880.

The Lilywhites were a founding member of the Football League in 1888.

They were the first team to achieve the 'Double' in English soccer, as well as going unbeaten in all matches, becoming 'The Invincibles'.

Preston play at Deepdale and have done since their inception, making the stadium football's oldest ground in terms of continuous use by a major league club.

During their long history, North End have had some legendary players turn out for them.

The list includes Tom Finney, Bill Shankly, Tommy Docherty, Alan Kelly Sr. and Graham Alexander.

Preston North End early history

Preston North End's invincible double winning side that won the First Division unbeaten and the FA Cup, March 1889

Before becoming a football team, North End were both a cricket and rugby club.

The Lilywhites were one of the first professional clubs in England after hiring players from Scotland known as the Scotch Professors.

In 1887, they beat Hyde 26-0 in the first round of the FA Cup, which remains an English first-class record to date.

In 1888, they were founding members of the Football League and in the first league season of 1888/89, Preston became the first league champions, as well as becoming the first team to win the league and FA Cup 'double'.

They remain to date the only team that has gone through an entire season unbeaten in both the top flight and the FA Cup becoming 'The Invincibles'.

Preston North End won the title again in 1889/90, but they have not won the title since.

In 1938, Preston won the FA Cup with a team featuring Bill Shankly, Andy Beattie and George Mutch. It was Mutch who scored the winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Huddersfield Town to clinch the trophy.

The same year North End won the FA Cup, their most famous player, Tom Finney, joined the club as teenager but due to World War Two he did not make his debut until 1946.

Nicknamed the 'Preston Plummer' (due to his business) Finney became the club's top goalscorer with 187 goals in 433 appearances. He also played 76 times for England, scoring 30 international goals.

North End have not won a major trophy since 1938. They have come close numerous times, finishing runners-up in the FA Cup five times and runners-up in the top flight six times.

Preston North end and late 20th century decline

Preston North End team photo with manager Bobby Charlton, July 1973

A year after Finney retired, PNE were relegated from the First Division, a league they have not played in since. Finney leaving marked a steady decline for the club.

After the 1969/70 season, Preston North End were relegated once again.

Although they bounced back immediately, the fabric of the club had already been significantly changed.

Preston had gone from powerhouses of British football to a club which bounced between the divisions, never quite rising to the upper echelons of the Football League system.

Since 1970, the Lilywhites have spent 28 of 49 seasons in the bottom two divisions of English football.

In 1985/86, Preston finished 23rd in the Fourth Division and had to seek re-election into Football League structures. This was a new low for the club and a sign of an institution which had all but been stripped of its proud identity.

David Moyes revival and modern era

Preston players celebrate during a Championship game, May 2021

Under John McGrath, Preston won promotion to the Third Division the following year, but they were back in the Fourth Division from 1993 to 1996.

Preston had slightly better fortunes under the ownership of heating manufacturer Baxi from 1994 to 2002 than they had previously.

Under Baxi, Deepdale went under a massive change, being upgraded to a modern stadium. The new stadium was built in four parts with the last stand opening in 2008.

Aged 34, former central defender David Moyes switched from playing to management at Preston under the Baxi-controlled board, taking charge of the club in February 1998.

Moyes gained promotion by winning the third tier championship in 2000.

The following year, Preston made the play-off final in their bid for promotion to the Premier League. However, they were beaten by Bolton Wanderers.

Moyes left for Everton in 2002 and Preston were stable in the Championship for some time until their relegation to League One in 2011.

They were promoted once more via the play-offs in 2015 and have remained in the second tier of English football since then.

In May 2021, Preston appointed Frankie McAvoy as manager after a successful interim period at the end of the 2020/21 season.

He was replaced by Ryan Lowe in December 2021.

Preston North End's fanbase

Preston celebrate their promotion to the Championship with the team trainer holding the trophy, May 2015

Outside the Sir Tom Finney Stand at Deepdale is a statue of the man himself, which is a sign of the extent to which he is still revered at Preston North End among the fans. The statue was sculpted by Preston-born Peter Hodgkinson.

Preston's stadium, Deepdale, can fit 23,404 supporters at present.

Preston North End's rivalries

Preston North End's fiercest rivalry is with Blackpool, a club which is in close proximity to them geographically.

There are also strong rivalries with the likes of Blackburn Rovers, Burnley, Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic.

Preston North End's finances

British billionaire businessman Trevor Hemmings has held a controlling stake at Preston North End since 2010.

Hemmings was included on the 'Sunday Times Rich List' for 2021.

Preston North End News