PNE FA Cup finalist Joe Marston passes away

Joe Marston (centre) trains with Tom Finney and Tommy Docherty

Joe Marston (centre) trains with Tom Finney and Tommy Docherty

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Joe Marston, who played in the 1954 FA Cup final for Preston North End, has died in Australia at the age of 89.

The defender became the first Australian to play in the Wembley final, one which North End lost 3-2 against West Bromwich Albion.

Joe Marston waits in line to be presented to the Queen Mother at Wembley before the 1954 FA Cup final

Joe Marston waits in line to be presented to the Queen Mother at Wembley before the 1954 FA Cup final

Marston had joined PNE in 1950, invited to England for a trial after being scouted playing in Australia.

His first-team debut came in October that year in a game against Barnsley, with him replacing the inured Joe Walton.

After a spell of being in and out of the team, Marston firmly established himself in the Preston side.

From February 1951 through to April 1955, he played 191 consecutive games in the No.5 shirt.

In the 1950/51 season, North End were Second Division champions, then in 1952/53 were pipped by Arsenal on goal average to the First Division title.

A few months before his time at Deepdale came to an end, he was chosen to play in a Football League representative side against Scotland at Hampden Park.

Marston returned home to Australia in the summer of 1955 and played for Leichhardt.

He was capped 37 times by his country and every year, the Joe Marston Medal is awarded to the man of the match in Australia’s A-League grand final.

Last year, PNE’s current Australia international Bailey Wright visited Marston at his New South Wales home in the build-up to the World Cup

Wright tweeted this morning: “Honoured to have met such a great man, a true Australian and Preston legend. RIP Joe Marston.”

David Gallop, chief executive of Footall Federation Australia, said: “He was a pioneer in the 1950s, showing that Australian footballers were capable of matching it with the best in the English First Division.

“This was a remarkable achievement in itself.

“Joe was a much-loved and revered figure, but his humility ensured there was never any fuss. Joe was and will always remain a true Aussie hero.”