About the Preston North End Former Players Association
The forming of this Association came about after a successful reunion was organised during September 1997, for ex-North Enders from the 1950’s and 1960’s. When players turned up from as far apart places such as Torquay and Scotland to be with their former colleagues for just one evening’s get-together, and actually enjoyed each others company, it became obvious to the “committee-elect” that the next step would have to be an “Old Boys Association”
Just recently (September 2009) we have had the twelve year old video footage of that re-union transposed onto a DVD, so if any of the players who were present on the night would like a copy, please contact us.
Before any decision could be made about setting up such an organisation, three of us went over to Manchester to talk to David Sadler (ex-Manchester United and PNE) to find out his views on the subject, as he is the Secretary of the Manchester United Old Boys Association. His personal enthusiasm and offer of assistance gave us the encouragement to go ahead and contact as many ex-PNE players as possible who were known to be living locally. An inaugural meeting was set up at a local golf club in January 1998 with former players covering six decades attending. The meeting was unanimous in that we went ahead and form the Association, and with the Association being twelve years old in January 2010 it proved to be the correct decision. Preston North End Football Club, the PFA and the Football League have all given our Association their backing. After just four months Frank Lee became the 100th former player to take up the invitation to join the Association either as a Full Member or an Associate Member. Just recently (September 2009) Gareth Ainsworth became the latest former player to join us, making the number of members up to 216.
Going back to January 1998, Tom Finney was delighted to join and was the obvious choice for President of the Association. George Ross (1960’s) was elected Chairman, with Tommy Thompson (1950’s) and Alex Bruce (1970’s) joining the committee. Alex stepped down after six months due to work commitments, allowing Graham Houston (1980’s) to ably continue in his place. We have had former players join us from every decade since the 1930’s but over the years many have sadly passed away. All known ex-Preston North End players who have died since we formed can be viewed on a separate page.
Spring reunions, crown green bowling competitions, sponsored golf days, members golf days, trips to Belle Vue or the Greyhound racing and successful Sportsmans’ dinners have all been organised every year since our inception. Our relationship with the Club gets stronger as the years pass with around sixty former players invited to attend the PNE versus QPR game last May to commemorate Preston North End’s 4,500th league game. Maybe we could round up 100 former players to celebrate Preston Guild Year in 2012, who knows?