Preston North End vs. Fulham
English Championship March 2018
Preston North End moved to Deepdale in 1875 as Preston Nelson. The club that followed became known as Preston North End and they were one of the founding members of the Football League in 1888.
The name ‘North End’ came about to reflect the fact that the team played their fixtures in the north end of Preston.
Deepdale has stuck around in terms of location although it has changed greatly in recent years and bares little comparison to the Victorian era ground. The stadium, which started life as a farm, is widely recognised as being the oldest ‘continuously used’ football stadium in the world and once hosted the English FA’s football museum.
The exteriors of the modern day Deepdale also double up as a sort of museum. Dick Kerr Ladies F.C. were one of the earliest known women’s association football teams in England and played matches at Deepdale from 1917 to 1965.
A large mosaic to the Dick Kerr club is located outside the stadium.
Preston in the industrial North were one of English football’s earliest working mens football club’s. It’s fitting that Deepdale was an example of the world’s earliest forms of football stadium architecture.
Even by the 1890’s Deepdale was known for ‘big’ and ‘small’ stands. Soon dressing rooms and seated pavilions were added as was a grand stand.
Today, all of the original stands have been replaced by modern structures and like all English stadiums, the supporter capacity is now a fraction of that accommodated during the days of standing terraces.
The original plans for the redeveloped Deepdale stadium were inspired by the Luigi Ferraris Stadium in Genoa, Italy and the similarities in terms of symmetry are evident all around.
The regeneration of Deepdale began in 1995 when the old West Stand was demolished to make way for the new £4.4m Sir Tom Finney Stand. Outside the Sir Tom Finney Stand is a statue of the famous player himself while a mosaic of the great man appears in seats within the stadium.
The next stand to be developed was the Bill Shankly Kop in 1998, followed by the Alan Kelly Town End in 2001, which replaced the popular Town End terrace.
The old ‘Pavilion’ stand, was replaced by the ‘Invincibles Pavilion’ for the 2008–09 season, the area named after the Preston North End team of the 1888–89 season who were the first English League champions.
Finally, one of the most noticable symbols in Preston is the logo which is the ‘Lamb of Sainth Wilfrith’. Saint Wilfrith has been the patron of the city in central Lancashire since the seventh century.
This Championship fixture would ultimately be decided by two goals from the giant Serb striker Aleksandar Mitrović who played for visitors Fulham.
The match, perhaps, could easily be forgetten given the history and background of Deepdale.