The raindrops fell like tears on the Deepdale shrine to Sir Tom Finney.
Three days after the great man’s passing adoring fans, many not old enough to have seen him play, were ignoring the February drizzle to stand in silent tribute around the famous Splash fountain, which has now become an altar to a footballing legend.
Current PNE players and manager Simon Grayson visited the Splash yesterday afternoon to pay their tributes.
Somewhere, under the scarves, flags, shirts and flowers, is the bronze figure of Preston’s favourite son in his most iconic pose.
The statue became the focal point for a city’s outpouring of grief soon after word spread on Friday night that Sir Tom had died at the age of 91.
Since then it has been the destination for thousands of pilgrims eager to pay their respects to a great player and a great man who devoted his life to just one club.
One fan in his fifties wept openly as he read the messages on cards and football shirts. He stopped and lingered in front of a tangerine and white wreath with a card which read: “Sir Tom. A treasured friend to all at the seaside. Rest In Peace. Blackpool Supporters’ Association.”
It wasn’t the only tribute from fans at the other end of the M55 who nobly put rivalries aside to share the grief of their neighbours.
Next to the wreath was a blue Chelsea shirt - the team Sir Tom was playing against in 1956 at a waterlogged Stamford Bridge when the iconic Splash photograph was taken.
A blue felt-tip message on the front of a nineties PNE Coloroll jersey read: “You were a one club man.
‘We are a one man club.”
On a large flag bearing Sir Tom’s image, someone had written: “RIP. Just wished we could have seen you play.”