• Frank O'Farrell

  • Frank (back row, far right) as part of the 1958-59 Preston team

    Frank O Farrell PNE
  • West Ham Days

    Frank O Farrell PNE
  • West Ham Days

    Frank O Farrell PNE
  • Frank appointed Manchester United Manager

    Frank O Farrell PNE
  • Frank O'Farrell - PNE Former Players Association

    Frank O Farrell PNE
  • Frank O'Farrell is one of the most respected individuals in football, and we can proudly claim that he is one of our members. Not only did he play at Deepdale in the great mid-to-late 1950's era, he was an Irish international and became a top class manager after retiring from playing the game he loves.

  • Early Days

    Frank O’Farrell played his early football for his home town team, Cork United before leaving Ireland in 1948 to join West Ham United. He developed his football skills further in their reserve team prior to making his league debut in November 1950 against Notts.County.  Once he was established Frank became a fixture in the team for six years totting up an impressive 210 appearances for the London-based outfit.

    Frank O Farrell PNE
  • Frank won international recognition, winning his first cap for the Republic of Ireland in 1952 against Austria. In his second game for Eire he scored twice in a 4-0 win over the same opponents. The cultured, competent left-sided wing-half went on to earn seven caps in all as a ‘Hammer’.

  • North End Career

    On Friday, 23rd November 1956, Cliff Britton, Preston North End’s manager, signed Frank in a player-exchange deal with Eddie Lewis going the other way. In retrospect North End got the better half of the deal. Frank replaced likeable Ray Evans and actually scored a twenty-yarder on his North End debut the following Saturday against Manchester City. Local reporter, Walter Pilkington, wrote after his debut “that he brought experience and calm detachment to the team”.

  • He proved to be a lucky signing as he played 17 league matches before being on the losing side. That was at a time when win bonuses were a crucial part of their wage structure. Frank then missed a few games due to very severe nose bleeding which saw him admitted to hospital. It was very serious at one stage, having lost no less than four pints of blood.
    In Frank’s first season at Deepdale North End finished third in the First Division, but the following season, with Frank a regular at left-half, the Club were runners-up in the race for the league championship. Frank earned a couple more caps for his country whilst at Deepdale and by the time his spell at Preston was over he had played 129 games for the ‘Lilywhites’, scoring 4 goals. He was yet another North Ender who had played with, and against, the best.

  • Moving On

    Frank O'Farrell Preston North End

    He was allowed to leave Preston in May 1961 to take up the player-manager’s job at Weymouth in the Southern League. They won the Southern League Championship and appeared in two consecutive Southern League cup finals during his spell with them. From Weymouth he managed Torquay United guiding them out of the Fourth Division. Leicester City saw his potential and up the managerial ladder went Frank. At Leicester, with Peter Shilton as his goalkeeper, they reached the FA cup final in 1969 but narrowly lost out to a Neil Young goal against Manchester City. Two years later he was a First Division manager as his Leicester City team won the Second Division championship.

  • Managed at the Top

    His next step up should have been his best, but it turned sour. He had been chosen to manage Manchester United. Offered a 5 year contract he lasted 18 months during the troublesome George Best era. I am sure Frank will cover all of this in his book which will be published shortly. Spells at Cardiff City and Torquay again followed before Frank was offered the post as coach to the Iran National team. He was to gain hero status out in Iran. They won their first seven games with Frank in charge as they won the Gold medal in the Asia Games beating Israel in the final in front of 120,000 fans. After seeing them through the qualifying rounds for the Olympic Games he returned to England. He was offered a job as Newcastle United’s manager but turned them down and joined…Torquay United again. As we have said before, we are proud to count Frank O’Farrell as one of our members.

  • Caricature by kind permission of Bob Bond. Words by Ian Rigby.