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Unsworth trusted with Preston's future

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Paul Fletcher | 16:42 UK time, Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Preston North End is a football club with a big problem.

They may lie a healthy fifth in the Championship table, have an excellent and highly-coveted manager in Alan Irvine and a well-drilled and committed squad.

But they came a disappointing 19th out of 24 clubs in terms of attendances last season and crowds have slipped worryingly this campaign, with less than 12,000 turning up for their recent home fixture against high-flying West Brom.

It isn't easy for any side in Lancashire to build their fanbase. Preston aren't just competing with Blackpool, Blackburn, Burnley, Bolton and Wigan for supporters, they also exist in the considerable shadows cast by Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Everton.

Deepdale is a very respectable all-seater stadium with a capacity in excess of 20,000 but the ocean of empty seats every home game is a major part of the reason why North End have to balance the books by selling their most bankable player just about every summer.

Sean St Ledger, Paul McKenna, David Nugent, Ricardo Fuller, David Healy, Eddie Lewis, Jon Macken - make no mistake, North End are a selling club.

And here is the rub - Preston might have reached the play-offs four times since they won promotion to the Championship in 2000 but they have done it almost exclusively without home-grown talent.

Over the last decade central midfielder McKenna, born in nearby Chorley, is the only outfield player to really make the grade at Deepdale. All of the other players listed above were bought in and sold for a profit.

If Preston want to continue to succeed in these recessionary times they need the extremely wealthy Trevor Hemmings, who has a 28% stake in the club, to seriously open his chequebook or start producing their own players.

However, the credit crunch has hit Hemmings hard and, besides, if the lifelong fan was to bankroll a spending spree he would have done so by now.

David Unsworth in action for former club Everton Unsworth was a popular figure during two spells at Everton

Instead, North End have turned to David Unsworth.

The 35-year-old is best known for his two spells at Everton, with whom he won the FA Cup in 1995, but he started out as a 13-year-old junior at Preston. The defender's career took him to nine clubs before he retired towards the end of last season.

He has recently taken his first coaching role - and I think it is a position of vital importance to Preston's future.

"I am the bridge between the youth and the first team and I am really enjoying it," said Unsworth, who like McKenna hails from nearby Chorley.

In his charge are five first-and-second-year professionals who have outgrown the youth team but are not ready for the step up to the first team.

"These type of lads have previously been a little bit lost in terms of who they train with and have had nobody specifically looking after them; their needs and wants," added Unsworth.

"My role is to give these young pros every opportunity to make the biggest step in football - from the reserve to first-team level."

Manager Irvine himself is in his first managerial role. His previous roles have included stints as Academy director at both Blackburn and Newcastle. It must be frustrating for him that his current club are not producing their own talent, but his experience must also have helped him to identify the weak link in the chain.

But what exactly can Unsworth do to help his charges make the transition?

"Football is a quick, powerful game and some might have the ability but not the strength. We get them in the gym in the afternoon and are working on individual weights and stretching programmes," added Unsworth.

"We are spending hours on the training ground helping the players understand their specific positions, making sure they are tactically aware."

Unsworth has started taping reserve games and training sessions. He is then able to analyse them and work with players on their strengths and weaknesses.

"It is similar to first-team training in terms of thoroughness," he added.

Unsworth currently has two central defenders, a left-back, a central midfielder and a right winger. They have been bombarding Unsworth with questions, soaking up information "like sponges".

Part of the problem is the amount of football available to the young professionals. The main outlet for them is the reserves, with the remaining numbers made up of youth team players and the occasional first teamer. But Preston play in the Central League West - and that is just an 18-game season.

"They need to play matches - at least one a week," said Unsworth.

"There are not as many reserve games as we would like and so the manager wants me to organise more high-profile friendlies so the players can test themselves against the bigger clubs."

Unsworth is still relatively new to his job but believes he has seen enough from his young professionals to believe that they have a chance of making it.

Paul McKenna in action for Preston McKenna made more than 400 appearances for North End

He is understandably loath to put a timeframe on when Preston fans can expect to see home-grown players make the breakthrough, nor how often it is likely to happen.

And he is adamant that ultimately a lot depends on the player himself.

"I am trying to give all these lads the tools," said the 35-year-old.

"But they also need to have the drive and desire - and that is something that a coach cannot give to them."

A few players have come close to making the grade at Deepdale in recent years - the likes of Kevin Langmead, Darren Kempson and Alan McCormack - and gone on to enjoy careers at lower divisions clubs.

But since local lad McKenna made his debut for Preston in February 1997 the only player to establish himself in the first team is goalkeeper Andy Lonergan.

McKenna himself went on to skipper the club and made more than 400 appearances for North End before he was bought by Nottingham Forest for £750,000 in the summer.

It might be unrealistic to ask Unsworth to produce another player who gave the club such excellent and successful service but I'm sure that a few more Preston fans might pass through the turnstile if they had the chance to see one of their own wearing the famous white shirt.


  • Comment number 1.

    The overal problem is that the supporters know that whilst everyone at PNE wants Prem football neither Messrs Shaw or Hemmings are prepared to make an aggressive move to achieve Prem status.
    The net result is that when you go to Deepdale it is not with a real belief that the club are going for it, more like just trying to survive.

    The boards approach has seriously effected supporters moral(it is like a morgue at some home games) and that is why support and interest is dwindling.

    To give you an example. We were third in the league and pressing for an automatic promotion place. Before the supporters could really buy into the fact that this might be our season which would drive interest and increase attendances we loaned our star player St Ledger (scored for Eire against Italy on Sturday) out to a team one place higher than us in the league, with a sale confirmed for January

    There is an air of resignation at Deepdale on match days. We supporters know we are not going up, and it is just a question of time before our next prized asset (if there any left) is sold, and our manager who has done a great job moves to a club with real ambition.

    The true PNE supporter is not any different to any other supporter. But the Chairmans management has dumbed down all expectation ,hence lower crowds and muted support.

  • Comment number 2.

    The good news however is that Andy Lonergan has committed his future to the club until 2013.

    Andy Lonergan has been Preston's best goalkeeper in a long while, and despite his injury problems early in his career, has really come on leaps and bounds and I would go as far as saying he is better than some of the shot-stoppers in the EPL. It was a shame he missed out on most of his England U21 career with his injuries, and that Carlo Nash kept the gloves when he returned from that injury.

    As far as attendances go, sometimes they are truely shocking! The only times Ive seen Deepdale anywhere near capacity is League/FA Cup games against higher opposition such as Liverpool and Tottenham. I think the ticket prices are reasonable, I pay £15 as a Young Adult. I know some teams which dont have a Young Adult bracket and go straight to Adult after the age of 16. With Preston's money problems, they should increase that price, but they dont, resorting to other cost-cutting options such as selling players.

    With all the Middle-Eastern investors targeting Premier League clubs, I think its about time Preston made themselves available.

    And on a separate notes, youngsters such as Dominic Collins and Tom Smyth are working their way through the ranks, and due to injuries have been populating the bench. Irvo wouldnt pick them just to make up the numbers, so surely there is some future talent.

  • Comment number 3.


    Another article telling us what we already know!!

    Lets face it of the clubs mentioned Blackpool, Blackburn, Burnley, Bolton and Wigan, 3 of the clubs wre heavily financed to get the Premier League, 1 had a terrific season last term and the other is in a similar situation to ourselves.

    It would be nice to see Deepdale full week in week out, but if the aformentioned clubs cannot manage it at present in the big time, what chance have we got?

    Preston's only way forward is heavy investment plain and simple, but surely that is all relative?

    Man City wouldnt be the position they are in without the backing of a mega rich owner. Arsenal wouldnt have there new fantastic stadium without the backing of a mega rich owners. There are so many examples in football.

    The appointment of David Unsworth is great news and hopefully we will be able to bring some of the PNE youth through, but at present we need a sugar daddy who is willing to spend, spend, spend.

    I believe that the current board have done an excellent job. I dont understand why Trevor Hemmings hasnt decided to go the full hog, but ultimately it's his money to do with as he pleases.

    In recent years we have a great buzz around Deepdale, but for some reason that buzz isnt there. Perhaps the completion of the stadium and the fact we still havent got PL football is a factor? Perhaps it has something to do with 4 failed play Off adventures?

    Who knows, but we need to get a good vibe again and that can only come from the club itself.

  • Comment number 4.

    I think we have to get used to the fact that we are not really attractive to investors, so investment is not going to come. Who wants to invest in club who's crowds are so poor? How do we manage to get 30000 fans down to Cardiff for the play-off finals, yet only bring in around 10000 fans for the average home game? Where are the other 20,000 fans? We must also have the worst record for bringing through home-grown talent in the division - just Andy Lonergan and Paul McKenna in the last 10-15 years? Are there no talented Prestonian footballers out there?!!

    At least Alan is addressing the matter with this appointment. I for one think we are going places, I actually think selling SSL was a great bit of business, we've sold a guy who we bought for next to nothing for 4.5 million, and we've replaced him with a good defender who knows his way around the championship (Collins) for a fraction of the price! We've got a great stadium, a great manager, 4 strikers who are all scoring, and were 5th in league. Some more positivity please!!!

  • Comment number 5.

    What about Kevin Kilbane??? born in preston and made his way up the ranks to play for PNE for 2 seasons. international and proven premier league player

    Overall good article, as a preston fan i couldnt agree more. We are the longest serving championship club at the moment! However the boards stance is understandable, they clearly don't have the financial muscle, and is it wise to gamble by signing big money players?

    You only have to look at the list of endless clubs who have spent to get to the premier league been relegated and never returned, most of these clubs have a much larger fan base than Preston.

    But is youth the answer paul?? look at crewe, they have produced countless high quailty premiership players over the years, but still find themselves in the lower leagues??

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    Yet again NEXTIE fuels the negative vibes with his constant criticism of the board and DS in particular.

    Preston have always been a selling club, Howard Kendall, Archie Gemmill, Alex Bruce, John Bird, Mike Elwiss, Mark Lawrenson, Michael Robinson, Gordon Coleman to name just a few from the late 1960's and 1970's.

    But as is the case everywhere, EVERY club is a selling club, perhaps now with the exception of Manchester City. At least we have a club to watch and Alan Irvine is doing something to remedy the home grown problem.

    It's accepted and acknowledged our home support is not where it should be considering our position, but others have given reasons and the article is good, but fails to note we were 19th in the attendance table last season, Burnley were below us and still got promoted, it is not the be all and end all, although money does help.

    Furthermore, as well as the current economic credit crunch, 15-20 years ago we were languishingin the lower divisions, with crowds around 4,000-5,000 we have alost generation where those supporters went other clubs as success was happening at Ewood Park and elsewhere, we have to work to get the current generation. Who took you to your first game - if your Dad didn't go 20 years ago how do you catch the bug to follow a club through thick and thin now.

    Just a few other reasons why it is difficult, but as a supporter we can only keep doing our bit and support our team and make the atmosphere other locals want to be part of.

  • Comment number 8.

    The crowd for our last home game, which was on tele and was one of many home games in a small space of time was ammended to 12,500. Still not good but remember we have just sold our best player too. Anyway that's 12,500 Lasher, and your crowds are somet to crow about because...........

  • Comment number 9.

    Surely it's a bit difficult for Preston to develop local home-grown players with such big clubs in the surrounding area with the means to snap up all the local talent and buy from the smaller clubs?

    I think when they eventually get out of this league it will be up rather than down, and I fancy either Preston or Cardiff to sneak in to the Premier League at the end of this season. Along with more familiar clubs like Newcastle and West Brom.

    Reading didn't fill up their stadium very much until they started looking like they would make it to the Premiership, and when they eventually got there. The fans can be fairly quiet there at times too but thats just the nature of the people in the area.

    Also having big name players might increase attendances but its not necessary to get promoted - look at Wigan, Reading, Stoke, Hull and Burnley in recent times.

    Good luck to Preston I say, I think they do a good job and are making good progress towards being a top flight club, without going over the top and putting their finances in the balance.

  • Comment number 10.

    It is good to see North End start thinking about bringing youngsters through. I know a lad who is a dyed in the wool North End fan, who joined Blackpool because they had a proper academy. He has made his first team debut for them and is still on the fringes of the squad, but he is only just 18. An example of a potential North End star lost due to lack of foresight. Perhaps the addition of Unsworth to the club will be the beginning of a supply of young talent?

  • Comment number 11.

    At the moment our biggest asset is Alan Irving, no doubt about it. We are in a cleft stick.If we are at the top of the league by Christmas, desperate Prem. chairmen will come knocking. If we are nearer the bottom then no one will want him and we will be going nowhere. The chairman's message to Irving following the sale of St. Ledger is that everyone has a price, even him, and that can't make him feel secure, or confident of fulfilling his ambitions. It is worrying that there are no young lads coming through our youth accademy. As a shareholder and season ticket holder of many years, I've attended the A.G.M., and witnessed the pyramid of coaches and staff that run our youth setup. I've often wondered whether it was cost effective or just a drain on resources.As regards poor attendances, I think it's great that we have over 10,000 reliable fans. We've lost a bit of momentum since our last promotion but there are definately lots more out there if success comes. I think we are on the right lines as Burnley proved last year i.e. no stars, just teamwork and organisation. The Irving Way!

  • Comment number 12.

    As a Wigan Athletic fan, I understand our local rivals Plight. I have been to Deepdale watching Wigan Athletic practically win promotion several seasons ago and Deepdale was almost full. The problem with modern football is that people are only interested in supporting the top 4 clubs. You walk around Wigan on a Saturday morning and half of the population are wearing Man U, Liverpool, Everton and believe it or not, Chelsea tops. I believe this is probably the case in Preston. Wigan's gates go up when these so called supporters want to be a part of something like a promotion or a good cup run, but that’s it. Preston (if promoted) will probably fill their ground most games in the prem, but if they stay up, the gates will go down, just like they did at Wigan.

    The days of supporting your local club are over mainly due to the media coverage that the top 4 Premier League clubs get..

  • Comment number 13.

    WAFC1978 -

    While I agree with you about the attraction of the top 4 to youngsters, I don't think you can single-handedly blame the media coverage. Clubs can play an active role in attracting the next generation of fans and part of that is reasonable ticket pricing. More and more clubs are giving away free tickets to kids as they know they are filling seats that would otherwise be empty, and whilst in the short term this may result in higher expenditure due to the cost of additional stewarding, in the long term the income gained from these new fans will hopefully pay off.

    As for youngsters being poached by bigger clubs, this is inevitably an issue but one which in my mind can ever only be resolved if top teams have a squad limit which includes their youngsters. If Man Utd had a squad limit of 25 including their youngsters, combined with the home grown quota, youngsters would clock just how hard it is to break through into a squad and might contemplate going elsewhere with a greater opportunity of making it as a professional footballer. That way, the dream is not to be one of 100 Manchester United players, but a professional footballer.

  • Comment number 14.

    Interesting blog. Blackburn, Burnley, Bolton and Wigan, bar the latter, were top teams in their day and are now back in the top flight. However, poor attendances are their down fall. When they need a crowd to cheer them on when times require it they are just not there.

    In the past these team have been feeder teams for the top clubs but now that more foreign players are coming in its dried up a little. Unless they are exceptional. So it can be a double edged sword for clubs like PNE.

    All clubs in the lower leagues seem to suffer from low attendance and especially if they have a Premier side near by. However, when a club is doing well and has flare...the locals should come out in force.

  • Comment number 15.

    I have spoken to a few North End fans this season and it really saddens me that they have little of positive note to say about the matchday experience at Deepdale this season. The atmosphere used to be cracking but has gone very flat, while fans are unhappy are what they see as a lack of ambition and investment.

    The club has also made other smaller decisions that have slowly eroded supporter morale, such as only selling beer in plastic bottles and not pints at the ground (which I think works out slightly more expensive).

    The declining attendances is a very difficult and worrying issue. I mean, lets not be in any doubt - Preston are a team that consistently punch above their weight. Take the wage bill and average crowd into consideration and you have to say that North End are doing extremely well - it makes you wonder why fans aren't happier.

    I think part of it is that North End, bar the odd disappointing season, have been there or thereabouts for the best part of a decade - one season has been very much like another. For some younger fans that is all they know. Many older ones used to see the team regularly moving between the bottom two divisions, with a fair few promotions and relegations. I think, in short, they might be a little bored with seeing the same season again and again even if that season is in itself a tremendous achievement.

    Even though what PNE are doing is great credit to the manager - who many have pointed out is the club's key asset, and his squad, I think fans want something different. There is perhaps a feeling that North End are always likely to fall a little bit short of promotion (their awful play-off record suggests this) - hence the cry for investment to help the team actually get over the line.

    I'm not sure this is going to happen. I think chairman Derek Shaw would welcome it but where is it coming from? He cannot just magic an investor out of nowhere. You hear rumours that Hemmings helps out but I don't think he is going to put serious money into the club.

    So what else can be done? Home-grown talent. Fans would love to see some of their own in the first team and a few players actually coming through the ranks would be a major boost to the squad at a time when cash for transfers seems as scarce as ever.

    I'm not saying this would be the answer to all the problems at Deepdale but it would definitely be a major boost.

    JPsportster - you are quite right to say that Kevin Kilbane came through the ranks at Preston - however he made his debut in August 1996 - a year or so before McKenna.

  • Comment number 16.

    To all the doubters at Deepdale, I can only say that you have 2 diamonds at your club, that many teams around you would sell the family silver to get their hands on. Irvine with Moyes rebuilt Everton, put together the best training facility in the North West and a rival for the best in the Premiership. Irvine also saw the development of key youth players such as James Vaughan, Leon Osman, Jack Rodwell and Victor Anichebe that will sustain Everton for years to come. As for "Rhino", I'm sure I speak for every Blue when I say that we'd love him back at the club in any capacity. The guy would run through a brick wall for us and had the heart of a lion. Unsie left it all on the pitch and if he can inspire your youth team to do half of what he did in a blue shirt, you'll have a fantastic future. Should, heaven forbid, Moyes move on to "a bigger club", I for one would be more than OK with Irvine, Unsie and Steve Round - plus Peter Reid and some Thai money!

  • Comment number 17.

    Whilst the wealth of footballing riches in the North West may cause a problem attracting fans for Preston, they will certainly face a serious problem when they try to generate home grown talent. I live in nearby Chorley and I can already tell you that my sons school already has training sessions and scouting sessions with Bolton, Blackburn, and Wigan as a regular thing, so how can Preston even hope to impact so late in the day.

    When I was growing up unless you were an outstanding talent or local to a first division (now premiership) club the chances of being signed by the club as a youth were rare, and a large portion of prodigious talent came from smaller regional clubs. Today the kids do not want to play for the regional clubs, they want to play direct for the premiership clubs and nothing else, with the premier league club academies promoting this.

    It is a shame to see a great club like Preston struggling and I hope they find a workable solution soon. The North West is the home of English Football, and it is nice to see all the clubs succeed.

  • Comment number 18.

    As a deepdale regular I tend to disagree, though the crowds have been dwindling the atmosphere hasn’t changed. Not many teams in the championship fancy there chances coming to deepdale, It’s been a fortress for years. The problem lies with the amount a game costs and the amount of games in the season. The money being pumped into football isn’t helping everyone but matchday’s should be reasonable for any punter. Go on a Rovers or Wigan game and it’s cheaper!
    For years Preston were never fancied as Premiership candidates but with the squad they have, our proud famous ground and the committed people of Preston our fortunes could change. If Burnley can do it so can we for heavens sake!

  • Comment number 19.

    Our big problem is we haven't reached the Prem yet and in 2005 we thought it was our year against the Hammers with a very good squad and manager . One year even in the PREM is the start of an increase in finance , residual crowds, more sponsorship etc aka Wanderers , WBA . We need that bit of luck that the Dingles had last season ( btw well done again dingles ).
    Hemmings has dipped into his pocket to save us when AI came we were bottom of the CCC in jan and we spent nearly £4m on players and the following season (last) we reached the playoffs yet again and our crowds soon increased at the business end of the season !!!
    It would be great to have the majority of home grown talent but that is not possible or realistic , the success of the club is down to several ingredients and AI is the cheif chef as the Everton fan articulated and Unsworth is another ingredient adding flavour !
    We have some in our ranks aka NEXTIE the first post on here who keep faulting the PNE board especially Derek Shaw, one year he may have been right but from John Beck to present they keep attracting the good managers aka AI and acheive relative success for a club of our resources !We all including Derek want Prem football and a solvent North End able to fight another day and SSL had to go £4.5m good business with AI the top seeker out of talent not being fully utilised at other clubs Parry, Shumolovski and Collins !!!
    Up the Whites !

  • Comment number 20.

    The problem is that the talent is getting sold, crowds are dwindling and interest in waining.
    I do hold Shaw responsible because he is Chairman.
    The future is not bright with the board stuck in the dark ages and without the serious ambition to succed.
    Whilst you can argue we are punching above our weight, so are many teams that have tasted Prem football in the last 10 years.
    We have not primarily because of the many decisions during that time that have taken us two steps back instead of two steps forward.

    The situation regarding St Ledger was the same that faced us with Nugent three years ago. In the top two fighting for promotion we should have been investing in players to make the difference not selling them.
    Shaw totally fails to understand that players values will not substantially reduce in the space of 6 months.
    Why not take a gamble , keep Nuge or in this case St Ledger and attempt to make that final step.
    If we fail both Nuge and St Ledger would still be worth the money.

    These are only two examples of the lack of ambition, and sooner or later that belief filters down to the supporters.

  • Comment number 21.

    i think overall your column is unfairly critical. we may not have the greatest academy, but seeing as our buying rough gems policy has allowed us to punch way above our financial weight in the past few years, why should we attacked for such a policy? its about time the major channels recognised our achievements instead of trying to pick holes in them.

  • Comment number 22.

    Alan Irvine is the MAN NEXTIE forget DS he is just the chairman and players that are sold , facts of life at present with our great club which you have to stomach till TH feels philanthropic or a very very rich benefactor comes our way .
    We will make it because we know we will we are North Enders and understand under AI the graph is going in an upward direction Paul Fletcher knows nowt in my opinion about our club so he should keep to the Prem !

    Up the Whites
    ps Thanks though Paul Fletcher for the publicity(good or bad ) more than we usually get from the BBC .

  • Comment number 23.

    I think PNE fans need to be more realistic and enjoy watching good football in the Championship and accept that its inevitable that they will always feed Clubs like Burnley etc with their better players.

  • Comment number 24.

    KZWHITECLUB - I think you will find that Paul Fletcher is actually a North End fan, so is likely the most qualified of all BBC journos to comment on North End.

    But I do love the comments on blog entries. BigG@PNE, who did we sell Gordon Coleman too for big money? Would love to know....

    At the end of the day, if Burnley came make it to prem league then there is no reason at all why North End can't make it either. And lets remember, we have been in this division since 2000 - this is by far the best spell since we left the old first division after Tom Finney retired. Yes, we have missed good chances to make the prem league, particularly when Billy Davies was manager. But we are a well run club surviving very well in a tough market. Would rather be a North End than a Leeds or a Portsmouth.

  • Comment number 25.

    As in my article the panacea is reaching the Prem and we have no more larger problems than any other team . AI is the man who the club revolve round and DS and TH can only assist where possible the crowd problem is symptomatic of modern life with the crisis tightening peoples pockets and endless other things the kids want to do !
    As a PNE fan maybe Paul Fletcher thought this was publicity for his club as I said good or bad its publicity . The article did not show his obvious interest as you dmarkd are aware of, more of a BBC hack skimming the surface mainly concentrating on a small but important ingredient of AI's tenure local youth development .
    Anyway IMHO we are on the right track again , I wish more people would realise this despite a "mediocre period" Leicester 2-1 away, Reading 1-2 home WBA 0-0 home and QPR away 4-0 and still 6th . On QPR they had a £3.5m Argentinian midfielder on show and several other million pound aquisitions who came together at last and we had a bad day at the office !!! I despise these doom and gloom merchants who forsee the worst with underlying problems leading to disaster and the end is nigh mentality GOD HELP IPSWICH !!!!Reality check for all Northenders check the table , how many games left is it 34 ???
    Up the Whites ps Burnley fans please wallow in your obvious success and let us get on with trying to acheive what you did, with magnanimity!!!

  • Comment number 26.

    The problem with PNE was evident this weekend:

    WIGAN ........v Man City
    BOLTON........v Man Utd

    All the teams in capitals are a direct match to us. OK Wigan and Blackburn have had more investment but all these teams are in the Prem.

    We are poor relations and told at every opportunity that we do not have the finance to compete and we should be thankful for a top half CC finish.
    Not really suprising the Preston public is in the main like me bored and frustrated at the lack of ambition, which will at the end of the day take us down not up.

  • Comment number 27.

    Are you for REAL NEXTIE coz your feet don't fit the floor ,are you for real you know your key don't fit the door ,are you for real real real real -----Doctor John circa 1979 written I think for you !

    Up the Whites with our 10000 solid supporters anticipating the best , you don't always get what you want but you might just find you get what you need !!! RS 1975

  • Comment number 28.

    The example of showing Wigan, Blackburn, Bolton and Burnley... not the best. Blackburn and Wigan earnt their place in the Premiership courtesy of wealthy benefactors (which we haven't got!) Bolton and Burnley got their using similar methods to what we are trying to use (e.g spending senisibly, good managemen). We will get there!!!

  • Comment number 29.

    We also cant invest money we dont have.... if we spent 5-10 million, and didnt go up, then went into administration and got relagated, I'm pretty sure all North End fans would be on the boards back. If we dont spend and sell our best players... we end up with fans complaining at about the board! I hope that some time in the next few years, we go up, and all the moaning fans who complain about DS will give him some credit.

  • Comment number 30.

    Nextie is just stating the obvious.....the managerial department at PNE is young, ambitious and doing a great job. The Directorial department is pulling the rug from under Irvine feet and selling players that should be building for the future.
    Irvine is right when he says that Deepdale is as quiet as a morgue....The fans come to be entertained and "experience" a football game...Thats down to the people who run the club.....Derek Shaw.
    I wonder if selling beer in plastic botles has had that much of an effect....but that....and the policy of selling any player once you can make a few quid, is just killing the team spirt......You keep posting Nextie....maybe one day PNE fans will take their heads out of the sand.

  • Comment number 31.

    C-side stick to commenting on your own clubs problems and not making up ones about PNE and siding with NEXTIE and his same old rhetoric about no-ambition , DS can't take us any further and we keep selling our best players for small amounts of money ie £6m , £4.5m and £850k coz they all want to stay and turn down double your money contracts !!!

    Up the Whites down the Tang Lashers !!!

  • Comment number 32.


    Respect to Irvine for all he has achieved so far, and for having the guts to go it alone. :-)

  • Comment number 33.

    We all saw it yesterday. The Chairman expects supporters to turn up and pay good money, yet he could not be bothered to support our supporters and club by stopping St Ledger who is technically on loan to Middlesborough from play ing against us.
    The Chairman has £ signs in his eyes, and does not really care about the true supporter.
    He takes a six figure salary from the club, owns the club shop and receives rent when he could build one that is owned by PNE.


  • Comment number 34.

    Who are you speaking for NEXTIE certainly not at least 10000 fans , £4.5million reasons why SSL played against us , not pocket money very good business and you know he's not coming back why throw red herrings in . Stop the same old record and vendetta against DS we all know you, so your trying the people that don't !
    This problem has brought the best manager to our club and you know it and what are you going to do 0000000000000000000000000000000000000 zilch !
    Up the Whites


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