• John McMahon, Preston North End

  • PNE Sqaud 1974-75. John pictured middle row, third from left.

    John McMahon PNE
  • John McMahon with driving instructor, L-R Tony Morley, John Smith, Mick Baxter, Gary WIlliams, John McMahon, Alex Bruce.

    John McMahon PNE
  • PNE playing staff in 1972.

    John McMahon PNE
  • John McMahon having treatment from PNE trainer Harry Hubbick on his knee ligaments in 1975.

    John McMahon PNE
  • John McMahon in action in 1976-77 season.

    John McMahon PNE
  • John McMahon beating Ray Graydon in a match at Deepdale.

    John McMahon PNE
  • John McMahon with Ricky Heppolette and George Ross in the Great Room, Deepdale.

    John McMahon PNE
  • Pictured at his wedding with Neil Young (RIP) and Tony Morley.

    John McMahon PNE
  • Popular John McMahon, who had been on Schoolboy forms with Manchester United, under the tuition of Wilf McGuinness and John Aston, was regarded as a good prospect, having represented Manchester Boys & Lancashire Schoolboys.

  • McMahon joins Preston North End

    Preston North End Former Player John McMahonThe Manchester-born full-back, who was still eight months short of his sixteenth birthday when he signed apprentice professional forms in April 1965, then had the choice of joining Preston or Coventry City. Fortunately for North End he chose Preston. John worked his way steadily and patiently through the usual channels, playing in the Club's junior teams, whilst living in digs with Alex Spark, in Skeffington Road, Preston. He was rewarded with a full professional contract on his 18th birthday, in December 1967. By this time John had broken into the reserve team but could not step into the first team due to the consistency of senior full-backs, George Ross, John Ritchie, Bert Patrick and Jim McNab. He was allowed to go out on loan from North End to Southend where he made his league debut. John is under the impression that a fee of £10,000 was mentioned for him to sign on a permanent basis, but thankfully the transfer never materialised.

  • John makes his league debut for Preston

    In fact, on John's return to Deepdale he soon made his Preston debut, in a League Cup tie against West Bromwich Albion on 6th October 1970, when Jim McNab was out injured. Within a couple of weeks he had also made his North End league debut, against Halifax Town, and Alan Ball Senior, the Preston manager now valued John at £60,000! The following season John came to the fore, being impressive and classy in many of his displays. The chance to shine came about all because of George Ross's misfortune of being out with injury. John made rapid strides after establishing himself as a quick, strong, astute footballer, so much so that he won the Club's Player of the Year award for the 1971-1972 season. That same season John found himself playing against his childhood heroes, Manchester United, in front of a Deepdale crowd of 37,025 in an FA cup-tie. To play against the likes of Best, Law and Charlton was quite an occasion for John but at times he looked as skilful as the opposition.

  • Preston North End Former Player John McMahon

    During the following season, 1972-1973, the name McMahon was recorded in the goalscorers list for the first time, as he had opened his scoring account with a goal scored after just 12 seconds, against Bristol City in a thrilling 3-3 draw. He was now a regular in the first team giving good displays consistently so as to attract attention from other clubs. At one stage it was on the cards that he was to go to Manchester United in a player-exchange deal with Mick Martin, but very unfortunately for John the proposed deal fell through. John became captain of Preston North End and at the end of the 1976-1977 season he was selected for the PFA Third Division Awards. John McMahon's loyalty was recognised by the Club and he was awarded a testimonial match in May 1977, twelve years after signing for Preston. There is no doubt that John McMahon was one of the classiest full-backs Preston North End have had on their books.

  • John McMahon transferred to Crewe

    Preston North End Former Player John McMahon

    In September 1979 John had a short loan period with Chesterfield before finally severing his North End ties, signing for Crewe Alexandra, who were managed by Tony Waddington. The Crewe goalkeeper at the time was none other than a young Bruce Grobbelaar. Two more transfers were to follow, to Wigan Athletic and Tranmere Rovers, before John finished as a full time professional. He had enjoyed a 17-year league career. John was to take up employment as a Motor Car Sales Representative but he could not give up football altogether, as he turned out for The Royal Oak in the Wythenshawe & District Sunday League. John was also to play for two non-league teams, Curzon Ashton and Irlam Town whilst playing his Sunday football and working for a living. He only gave up playing after he had turned forty-two years of age. John, who played just short of 300 games for PNE amassed a career total of 440 league games. A member of the Preston North End Former Players Association, John attended the Sportsmans Dinner last year along with Ernie Hannigan. John, who got married last year, now lives in Ashton-under-Lyne.

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