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Preston North End

Preston North End pitch at night

Preston is a proud footballing city with an unrivalled heritage and tradition.

The Football League headquarters are based in the city, of which Preston's renowned, historic football team - Preston North End (PNE) - was a founder member.

Established in 1881, PNE was the first club to win both the league and the FA Cup - achieving the double in English football's inaugural season in 1888/89.

PNE was unbeaten throughout the whole of this season - a feat only ever matched by Arsenal more than 100 years later in 2003/04 - and became known as 'The Invincibles'.

Over the years, the club's fortunes have been mixed, with the last major honours in top flight football being achieved in 1890 as league champions, and in 1934 with an FA Cup win.

The team has, however, won various lower league division titles in 1904, 1913, 1951, 1971, 1996 and 2000.

PNE's Deepdale stadium is one of the oldest professional football league grounds in the world and over the last 15 to 20 years the ground has gone through a steady transition, with investment in its infrastructure.

Deepdale's 19,000 capacity is being extended to more than 24,000 with the building of the new East Stand, ready for the 2008/09 season.

This multi-million pound project is a major coup for Preston and as well as a new stand, the building will be home to a new state-of-the-art medical centre, thanks to a unique partnership with the Central Lancashire Primary Care Trust.

Based in the heart of the local community, the centre will help treat long-term conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. The project will also mark the completion of the redevelopment of Deepdale as a modern 21st century football stadium.

Three of Deepdale's all-seated stands are named after important former players - Sir Tom Finney, Bill Shankley and Alan Kelly (Senior).

PNE boasts a proud line of past great players, the most revered of which is Sir Tom Finney.

Affectionately known as 'The Preston Plumber', he played 433 times for Preston, scoring 187 goals between 1946 and 1960. Sir Tom also earned 76 caps for England and is still one of the country's all-time goal scoring legends.

Sir Bobby Charlton, Nobby Stiles and Alan Ball make a hat-trick of players from England's 1966 World Cup winning team who have managed PNE over the years. Sir Bobby and Nobby also played for the club in the 1970s.

Howard Kendall, Mark Lawrenson, Sam Allardyce and David Moyes have also played for PNE during their footballing careers. Even David Beckham played for PNE in 1994, making five appearances and scoring two goals during a month-long loan from Manchester United.

Preston North End, or 'The Lillywhites' as they are also known, has strong links in the community, working actively with schools, colleges and many voluntary organisations to promote football and the health benefits of regular exercise.

The club's scouting and youth coaching network plays a vital role in encouraging and spotting young talent by tapping into the active grass roots and school football that is played across the city.

This is to key to discovering and nurturing young Prestonians with the potential to follow in the footsteps of Sir Tom Finney, and more recent home-grown professionals Paul McKenna and Andrew Lonergan.

The city has now also developed a successful women's football team. Preston North End Women's Football Club currently play in the FA Women's Premier League (northern division), competing against the likes of Manchester City, Newcastle and Aston Villa.


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