• Peter Higham, Preston North End

  • Pete (with ball) pictured at Aston Villa 20th November 1954, Pete scored two in a 3-1 win

    Eric Jones PNE
  • Only Tom Finney has scored more goals for Preston North End

    Eric Jones PNE
  • Pete (in white) in pre-season training at Deepdale

    Eric Jones PNE
  • Pete with Eric Jones and Joe Walton on their way to Manchester

    Eric Jones PNE
  • Pete in the thick of things versus Wolves, England Captain Billy Wright also in the picture

    Eric Jones PNE
  • Peter with Eric Jones and Tom Finney at an early function

    Eric Jones PNE
  • Peter (middle of back row) with other members of our association the National Football Museum

    Eric Jones PNE
  • Peter Higham was unlucky in the fact that Charlie Wayman was always the first choice centre-forward during his time with Preston North End, playing in 82 of a possible 92 games. Having said that, Peter’s own goalscoring record of scoring 10 goals in 15 appearances is an excellent ratio. One to be proud of considering that Preston North End were one of the top teams in the 1950’s era.

  • Pre-Preston Peter

    Wigan-born Peter knew from an early age that he wanted to be a footballer. He actually played for non-league Wigan Athletic whilst still attending Wigan Grammar School. In his later teens Peter was stationed in Portsmouth, doing his National Service, and joined Portsmouth, as an amateur, in November 1949. After a few reserve games he was elevated to the first team, albeit for one single game, against Birmingham City. Once this particular National Service spell was completed, Peter moved back to Lancashire and signed for Bolton Wanderers. Peter was a natural striker, sharp, quick-thinking, nimble and good in the air, but playing in Nat Lofthouse’s shadow, he never got the chance he deserved at Bolton. Despite his obvious potential, shown by scoring totals of 49 and 44, for the Wanderers’ reserve and ‘A’ teams, he was released after two seasons by manager Bill Riding.

  • Peter Signs For Preston North End

    Preston North End Former Player Peter HighamGeorge Bargh made contact with him and Peter signed for PNE on 22nd May 1952, on a free transfer. Peter made an impressive start to his North End career, scoring a hat-trick on his Central League debut, in a 6-4 win, away at Manchester City. Ironically he also scored another hat-trick against them in the return fixture, later that season. Peter played 31 reserve team games, scoring 25 goals during his first season at Deepdale. The Central League in the 1950’s was a very competitive league with crowds of between 9,000 – 15,000 not uncommon, even at Deepdale. Eighteen months after signing for Preston he made his First Division league debut under unusual circumstances. On 14th November 1953, North End were to play away at Portsmouth but Charlie Wayman had not recovered from a septic toe. Peter just happened to be in the right place at the right time, as he was in Portsmouth attending a three-week National Service Royal Marines Commando Course. So Denis Hatsell moved to inside-right allowing Peter to wear the number nine shirt. Although Preston won by 3-1, Peter received a personally cruel review from the local newspaper reporter using the pseudonym, ‘Ajax’. He wrote “Marine Commando obstacle courses of water jumps, walls and ropes do not breed footballers” A bit harsh considering we won!”

  • Preston North End Former Player Peter Higham

    Higham Strikes Back

    Peter had to wait until October 1954 before getting a decent run in the team. What a difference the headlines were to read after scoring a hat-trick in only his second appearance for Preston, in a 6-0 win against Sheffield Wednesday. Walter Pilkington wrote “Joy-day for Higham”, adding, ” Higham played with refreshing verve and vitality in giving a non-stop exhibition of coltish enthusiasm and industry”. Although Peter was handed fourteen games that season, scoring ten goals, the management thought that they could possibly do without his services. So when Nottingham Forest made a bid for him prior to the 1955-1956 season, the Club sold him for a good £4,000 transfer fee. Not bad business considering that he was brought in on a free.

  • Life After Deepdale

    Peter spent two and a half seasons with Forest, gaining promotion to the First Division with them in 1957. He scored 20 goals in 61 league games for them before going on to his next club, Doncaster Rovers. From Doncaster he made the decision to join the part-time footballing ranks and started in non-league football. Ironically he was to earn more by playing part-time and working part-time than he could by playing full time football! Pete was to score goals wherever he played. At Mossley he scored 17 in 21 games, at Buxton it was 33 in 44 games, etc, etc. He also had spells with Stalybridge Celtic, Altincham, Morecambe, Rhyl, and Wigan Athletic with whom he played for at Deepdale again, against Morecambe in the 1962 Lancashire Junior Cup Final. In the mid-1960’s Peter became player/coach with Chorley Football Club in the Lancashire Combination. Peter in the meanwhile had taken and gained his full FA Coaching badge. He was to coach in Zambia, South Africa as one of 16 qualified coaches, alongside such personalities as Graham Taylor and George Eastham. Peter also spent ten summers going over to Virginia in the USA coaching football. Whilst playing part-time football, Peter attended Chorley College for three years, studying Sociology, English and Physical Education. He advanced to teach PE in Bootle and Maghull in the Sefton area of Liverpool. Peter then worked at Park Lane Hospital Prison for the criminally insane as lecturer of PE, before going on to teach handicapped people in a Southport Day Centre on a part-time basis.

    On reflection it could be said that Peter Higham may have become a goalscoring legend at Deepdale if only the management had had as much confidence in his ability as he had.

  • Facts about Peter Higham

    Preston North End Former Player Peter HighamDid you know that Peter, in his youth, could have signed for Wigan Rugby League Club?

    Did you know that his brother, Ted, played for Warrington Rugby League Club and was a three A’s coach?

    Did you know that Peter played in the first floodlit game at Deepdale, versus Bolton Wanderers in the Lancashire Senior Cup, on 21st October 1953?

    Did you know that Peter holds a Central League goalscoring record for Preston North End in that he scored 60 goals in 81 appearances? This included a 5-goal haul against Bury (7-1), two 4’s versus Chesterfield (5-0) and Derby County (7-2), and four hat-tricks, versus Manchester City twice, (6-4 and 4-1), Derby County (5-0) and West Bromwich Albion (4-6).

    Did you know that Peter, in his early thirties, used to be a male model for magazines and mail order catalogues?

  • Proud Association Member

    Peter, who lives in Southport, is an active member of our Association, attending meetings with his long time pal, Eric Jones. The Higham and Jones families have been close friends for over 50 years.

    Peter will be 80 years old on the 8th November - Happy birthday Pete!

  • Caricature drawn by PNE goalkeeper George Thompson 1954. Words by Ian Rigby.