RTG’s totally and utterly (we hope) indispensable guide to this season’s away grounds.
THE OPPO – Preston North End, aka “The Lillywhites”
DATE – Saturday 23rd August
KO TIME – 5.35pm (to facilitate Sky telly coverage)
THE GROUND – Deepdale, Sir Tom Finney Way, Preston, click here for a map, the red circle in the middle highlights where the ground is, zoom in and out using the controls on the left of the screen.
Deepdale is just to the north of Preston town centre, in the Moor Park area of town and just off the A6063. And it’s not all that far away from HMP Preston if you misbehave.
GOING BY CAR?
Unless you live in north-west England anyway it’s a bit of a pain – travelling from the north-east, you’ve got a choice of routes but you’ve got to cross them thar hills at some point. The A1 down to Pontefract then onto the M62, M61 then M6, OR the A66 and A685 to Tebay then down the M6 to Preston are the most obvious routes unless you fancy a country ramble – unlikely for a midweek evening game though…. Approaching from the south it’s more straightforward but a long hike nonetheless.
Once you’re on the M6, leave at jcn 31 and follow signs for Preston and proceed on up the hill – be warned though, one of the Preston fan-sites highlights this as a stretch favoured by the long arm of the law holding a speed camera, so go easy unless you want a souvenir speed ticket. When you get to the roundabout overlooked by the Hesketh Arms, turn right onto Blackpool Road – before long you’ll see the floodlights for Deepdale on the left. You’ll arrive at a major road juntion where you should turn left at the traffic lights, onto Sir Tom Finney Way.
You can park at Moor Park (facing the ground on your right) or there’s limited on-street parking, and some local schools offer secure parking for a couple of quid. If you can’t find a space, head back out of town and use the ‘Soccerbus’ park and ride scheme.
GOING BY TRAIN?
If you get the 13.24 from Newcastle station, you’d change at Carlisle 1hr 20mins later, and end up in Preston just after 4pm – plenty of time for a pint and some nosh before kickoff. Coming back, however, isn’t so easy – you leave Preston at 8.21pm, change at Manchester at 9.20, again at York at 11.15pm and you don’t get back into Newcastle until twenty to one on the Sunday morning. Nice.
If you’re approaching from the south using the West Coast mainline, however, you could be in for trouble; there’ll be major engineering work going on affecting that line during August – the Virgin Trains website has all the details.
Go to the National Rail website to see what trains are available for that day.
If you do decide to let the train take the strain, you leave Preston station by the large glass doors by the ticket office. Walk up the hill and turn right at the main road, cross the station approach road and you’re onto a road called Fishergate. Walk along Fishergate then downhill along Church Street until you reach the junction with the ring road. Cross the ring road and turn left onto Deepdale Road; after 5-10 mins walk it becomes Sir Tom Finney Way, and the ground’s on your right.
If you can’t be arsed to walk, you can get a taxi outside the station and the journey to the ground will set you back about a fiver.
SCRAN AND BOOZE
The Legends pub at the rear of the Tom Finney stand welcomes both home AND away supporters, and The Sumners is another bar which welcomes both sets of supporters – you’ll find it by walking past the stadium up Sir Tom Finney Way, straight on at the lights and you’ll see a Sainsburys on the right; carry on up that hill, pass the garage and The Sumners pub is on the right, or The Garrison, opposite.
A lot of away fans also use the “Toy Soldier” pub/restaurant which you’ll find at Deepdale Retail Park.
Preston North End run their own catering services inside the ground, with the usual array of pies, burgers, drinks etc on offer.
LEND US A FIVER…
The Halifax have a cash machine at the ground itself or there’s a Co-Op Bank machine within the Co-Op store on Harewood Road, not far from the ground. At the Sainsburys we mentioned earlier, there are Abbey National, Royal Bank of Scotland and Sainsburys Bank cash machines, so no shortage of places to get at your dosh.
IN THE NEWS
Jamaican centre-back Claude Davis has just signed a one-year loan deal at Preston but needs a work permit.
PNE Player Mark Wright has just retired at the ripe old age of 21 due to a recurring hip problem.
PNE have warned Peter Reid they won’t let striker Ricardo Fuller go to Leeds Utd unless it’s for “a very large sum of money”.
Final league position – 12th of 24
P 46 W16 D13 L17 F68 A70 Pts 61
HEAD TO HEAD
Preston and Sunderland have met 100 times in league matches and we’ve won nearly half of those – 43 to be precise; Preston have won 28, with 29 draws.
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
23/08/95 Lads 3, Preston 2 (Howey (2), Kidd) – league cup
15/08/95 Preston 1, Lads 1 (Angell) – league cup
13/02/88 Preston 2, Lads 2 – old Div III
28/12/87 Lads 1, Preston 1 – old Div III
16/02/80 Preston 2, Lads 1 – old Div II
– Best league win: 10-0 vs Stoke City in September 1889.
– Worst league defeat: 0-7 vs Blackpool in May 1948.
– Record transfer fee paid: £1.5m to Man Utd for David Healy (December 2000)
– Record transfer fee received: £1.25m from West Brom, for one Kevin Kilbane (June 97)
– Preston’s current manager is Craig Brown, the former manager of the Scottish national team
– Our own Kevin Kilbane (formerly a Preston player) married the daughter of one-time Preston coach Steve Harrison – now a coach at Boro.
– Deepdale is home to the National Football Museum
– Preston hold the record for the longest residency at a single ground of any club in the League.
Credits: PNE official website, ‘WTJOTP’ (PNE fansite), Rough Guide to English Football, Soccerbase, www.multimap.co.uk, National Rail, Virgin Trains.