It’s been a while. Although my home office is in Preston and I regularly go through the station on my way to Blackpool, I’ve hardly spent any real time there for the last [takes socks off] twelve or so years. The last time was probably on the way back from the Blackpool game last year, when our presence might have been met with a certain gusto from some residents, we hardly got the warmest of welcomes.
So, as you can imagine, it was with some trepidation that I ventured onto Friargate in an attempt to find someone who talk to me for long enough to get six-questions in, before running me out of town with a pitchfork up my backside. After a bit of thought, I took the safe option of going up to the only lad who didn’t appear to muttering something about who the bleeding hell that tin pot club thought they were…
Hiya, who are yer?
Hello, my name is Chris and I support Preston (Nob End to you). I’m 28 now and I’m starting to get a bit fed up with it all now, load of b*ll*cks really isn’t it? Feel free to come and find me on twitter (@Cruyff_des) talking sh*t, or Instagram (from_preston) photographing sh*t if you want to rub my nose in it after the game on Friday, or maybe even offer congratulations on a fine PNE win…
It’s been twelve years since Latics have been to Preston, six since we’ve played you at all. Have you missed us? What’s changed? How’s life as a Preston fan these days?
Is it really 12 years, Christ. We’ve finished the ground, now one of the finest stadium’s in the country. No but seriously one of the few things I still like about us is we resisted moving to some out of town retail park for a new build. Deepdale is still where Deepdale has always been. And we’ve not changed the name to The Sky Sports HD Arena or some sh*te. There’s still time mind, especially while we have Peter Ridsdale as “Football advisor”. Have we missed you? No. I’m afraid you just aren’t the big time charlie EPL draw you once were. Craig Morgan doesn’t whet the appetite.
Like you we dropped to League One but unfortunately unlike you we weren’t able to spend anything of note and with chancers like Phil Brown and Graham Westley in charge we weren’t a million miles away from a derby with Morecambe or Accrington (HA f**king HA Blackpool). Simon Grayson knows his way out of League One and we finally broke the playoff hoodoo by battering Chesterfield over two legs and then Swindon at Wembley. Last season we finished 11th in our first season back at this level, thanks mainly to a stingy defence and a fair few 1-0 wins. Gash to watch but it did the job.
Your, erm, better half is a Latics fan. How often has she mentioned our “successes” over the last decade or so? Did you get your own back when we imploded following relegation from the Premier League?
I honestly don’t mind Wigan. I follow plenty of Wiganers on twitter and you’re a decent bunch. Even despite the Premier League years you seem to have managed to avoid the self-entitlement that top flight money seems to bring these days. Due to a last minute freebie I actually ended up going to the FA Cup final and despite not really being a*sed either way I was pleased when you did win it because that was some performance in the biggest game in your history. Plus f**k City, wouldn’t have meant even a tenth to them what it did to any Wigan fan.
I even did the trip to Belgium in the Europa League too courtesy of @MmmD0nuts taxiways. Now that was a dire game, all I can remember of the 90 minutes is Nick Powell thinking he was the step over king. Only went for the beer mind. Starting to sound like I should be in the p*ssing away end Friday doesn’t it?
Sean Gregan vs Lee Ashcroft in the world pie eating championships. A) Who would win? B) Who would you want to win? C) Would they both be better suited to another sport, like jumping off Preston Bus Station?
I played against Lee Ashcroft in a 5 a side game a few years ago, he’s still got it. As for the comp, Gregan would win. And he’d win it on the back off downing 10 pints first. He was some player for us, I was about 11 when we sold him to West Brom. I still hate that ginger twat Megson for buying him.
Speaking of the Bus Station. Do you reckon that it’s a concrete monstrosity or a (consults our architecture correspondent) Brutalist Beauty? Whilst we’re in town, is there anywhere else you’d recommend Latics fans visit?
I love the bus station, yeah its proper sh*t inside but on the whole old stuff is miles better than all the new sh*t that gets put up these days. And it’s massive. Bigger is better and all that.
If you’re coming in via train which I guess quite a few will, and depending on how d**kheady the Police are going to be with you (quite d**kheady on a Friday night I’d wager), there are a couple of new pubs that have appeared since your last visit. In the middle of town is a new Wetherspoons called The Twelve Tellers which smart, big and cheap. The second pub is on the route to Deepdale and called The Moorbrook. Proper pub with good beer and ale.
So, how do you reckon the game is going to go? Who should we be looking out for on your side? Who are you, unnecessarily, worried about from our team? Being a rugby town, will your crowd be decimated with the clash with The Big One 6, as the rugby take on that French side?
It could really go either way. We’ve only won once at home since February and we play some bloody awful stuff most of the time, just depends how good/bad you are really. It’s hard to pick out a dangerman for you to worry about because we sold Garner to Rangers for virtual chicken feed these days, Beckford is injured still as he nearly always is, and the rest of our front line are much of a muchness. We’ve got a lanky Danish beanpole who scored a hattrick at Bournemouth this week though so maybe him. Aiden McGeady and Paul Gallagher are decent from midfield as well.
Can’t say I really know too much about your average starting eleven other than to say I’d love to see Craig Morgan on the team sheet and I loathe that Grigg song so I’ll be deeply upset if he was to score. We allegedly looked at Nathan Byrne before you signed him but as Wolves wouldn’t take two shillings he’s another we missed out on. Sods law says he’ll have a good game.
Wouldn’t expect the crowd to be up to much. £400 season tickets in the cheap seats put plenty off in the summer and the level of football on show so far has dropped the number of walk ons as well. 13,000 to 14,000 given Sky are in town would be my guess.
And finally, as always, pies. Are yours decent? What’s your favourite Butter or Meat & Tater? How do you go about eating them?
Butter pie for me but wouldn’t be able to tell you about the standard at Deepdale. Haven’t bought food or drink in the ground for about ten years. The Moorbrook as mentioned above do a decent pie and peas though.
Cheers Chris. This is the point that I’d usually wish our guest good luck, but thank you anyway and I’ll be seeing you around, I’ve got a train to catch.
You can listen to the lads go through their “Preston things” and plenty more in episode 8 of The Pie at Night Podcast “The Calm after the Storm” on the player below.
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