• Les Dagger

  • Les with Alex Alston

    Les with Alex Alston
  • Les signing autographs with Tommy Docherty

    Les signing autographs with Tommy Docherty
  • Les in training with Tom Finney, Jimmy Baxter, Tommy Thompson and Sammy Taylor

    Les in training with Tom Finney, Jimmy Baxter, Tommy Thompson and Sammy Taylor
  • Wicket-keeper Les with North End team mates John Wylie, Les Campbell, Bob Wilson, Alan Spavin and Dennis Hatsell

  • Les (in the center) with Alan Kelly and Gil Lambert, watching Dave Sneddon tee off

    Les (in the center) with Alan Kelly and Gil Lambert, watching Dave Sneddon tee off
  • Les on the famous allotment with Leo Gornall, Tommy Thompson and Sir Tom Finney

    Les on the famous allotment with Leo Gornall, Tommy Thompson and Sir Tom Finney
  • Les with Sir Tom Finney, Eddie Brown and Tommy Thompson

    Les with Sir Tom Finney, Eddie Brown and Tommy Thompson
  • This month's featured ex-North Ender is the very popular right-winger, Les Dagger. Les was one of the first former players to join us back in January 1998, when we started up the Preston North End Former Players' Association.

  • Early Career History

    Les Dagger Preston North EndLes, born in nearby Lostock Hall, enjoyed playing football from an early age. As a schoolboy he played for Walton-le-Dale and had trials for Lancashire Schoolboys. In his youth, as a young teenager, he assisted Middleforth before joining Farington Villa. A number of good displays soon got Les noticed and he was enticed off to join Bolton Wanderers, as an amateur, playing for their 'A' team. His next port of call was Leyland Motors in the Lancashire Combination until he was called up to do his National Service. He was posted to the North East, at Barnard Castle, County Durham, his role being that of PT Instructor. Les still managed to play football whenever and wherever possible. When playing for Barnard Castle, he was approached by the West Auckland Football Club and after some negotiations he duly signed for them.

    In retrospect, his big break came when he was playing against North Eastern rivals, Bishop Auckland, in a cup final at Roker Park, home of the mighty Sunderland FC. Les, on his own admission, scored a couple of goals that afternoon and was invited to speak to the chairman of Sunderland. On his exit from his meeting with the chairman he was abruptly stopped by a firm hand on his shoulder. “You haven't signed, have you? “ It was North End's scout, Jim Metcalf, who had also watched the game. Jim persuaded Les to travel down to Deepdale for talks and Les took up North End's offer, becoming a part-time professional in May 1956, until his release from the Forces. Preston North End donated a sum of 50 to the West Auckland club for their loss, plus another 150 when established in the Central League side.

  • Dagger at Deepdale

    Les played Central League football for three months, alongside players such as Dennis Hatsell, Ken Waterhouse and Gordon Milne before his, somewhat of a shock, call-up for first team duties. Les Campbell had been called away for National Service duties which left the door open for Les Dagger. He turned full professional the day prior to his league debut, ironically against Sunderland (3rd November 1956), as they were also interested in signing young 'Daggsy'. Les had a blinder at outside-right as North End powered into a 5-0 half-time lead, eventually winning by 6-0. Les found himself playing alongside England internationals Tommy Thompson and Tom Finney and in front of Scottish internationals Tommy Docherty and Willie Cunningham. Les, the local boy, had made the big time.Les Dagger Preston North End

    In his first two seasons at Deepdale, the Club finished third and second in the top flight of English football. No mean achievement whatsoever. In fact, Les was only on the losing side four times in his first 31 games for the North End. As an out and out right-winger, Les had competition for that shirt from little Les Campbell and then Derek Mayers. In total, Les Dagger clocked up 72 appearances for Preston North End, scoring ten goals for the club, all from the wing. An excellent crosser of the ball, Les 'assisted' to numerous other goals, scored by the likes of Sir Tom and 'Topper' Thompson.

  • Life after Deepdale

    When North End were relegated in 1960, the Club decided, wisely or not, to offload quite a number of players. Les was very quickly snapped up, by Carlisle United, who paid Preston a 'nominal fee', now known to be 750. This proved to be a real bargain as 'The Cumbrians' clinched promotion in Les's first season at Brunton Park. After two seasons, Les moved to Haig Avenue, home of Southport Football Club, with whom he stayed for another couple of seasons. Now aged 30, Les, instead of retiring, stepped down to play in non-league circles giving service to a number of different clubs. Buxton, Rossendale United, Bacup Borough, Leyland Motors and Lisieux Hall all benefited from Les Daggers' experience.

  • Lisieux Hall

    Les Dagger Preston North EndAfter finally retiring from the playing side, Les managed locally around the Preston area with Penwortham Hill Rovers, Garstang and finally, Fulwood Amateurs. Les was a time-served painter & decorator and latterly worked for the Lancashire County Council teaching handicapped children - a very rewarding occupation.

  • Did you know?

    Les played one game for Bury 'A' team prior to joining PNE?

    Les represented Preston at football, cricket and table-tennis?

    A very competent golfer, Les once played off five?

    Right-winger Les played with left-winger Sammy Taylor at PNE, Carlisle and Southport?

    With Les as manager of Fulwood Amateurs, the Club won three promotions?

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