For a fee slightly more modest than the £2million it took West Brom to prize him away from Deepdale, former Lilywhites captain Sean Gregan put a shift in with New Longton Rover’s junior side.
The midfield general, who spent five years with Preston North End, donated an hour’s coaching time to a fundraising auction for St Oswald’s Catholic Primary School in Longton, which was secured by a player’s parent’s bid of £150.
Swapping his current role as coach at Darlington 1883 for turf beside New Longton Village Hall, on Thursday night the 40-year-old led a team of nine under-eights boys, who form the New Longton Blacks.
Mark Power, father of seven-year-old goal keeper Aaron Power, managed to arrange Sean’s donation for the auction through a neighbour connected with PNE.
He said: “It was fantastic – brilliant for the children to learn from a professional who has played in the Premier League.
“Quite a few of the boys are Preston North End fans, and although they’re too young to remember him playing at the club, their parents know who Sean is and he was very good with them, spending time talking with them at the end of the session.
“With support from team coaches Paul Campbell and Rob Small, Sean co-ordinated all the training for the session and brought in a completely different approach.
“He made them interact differently and brought a game element to the training, as well as looking at their skill sets.
“I’ve had quite a few comments from parents saying how much their children thoroughly enjoyed it, and that they want to have more training like that during their normal sessions, which we’re definately looking at.
The team, which usually trains on a Tuesday evening and plays on Saturday mornings at Penwortham Holme, are currently undefeated in the under eights league.
Mark added: “Something like this is going to stay with them for a long time and will give them an additional boost.”