PNE flying high

Preston North End fans celebrate their sides first goal, scored by Callum Robinson (out of picture)  Photographer Kevin Barnes/CameraSport  Football - FA Challenge Cup First Round - Havant & Waterlooville v Preston North End - Monday 10th November 2014 - West Leigh Park - Havant   � CameraSport - 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - admin@camerasport.com - www.camerasport.com
Preston North End fans celebrate their sides first goal, scored by Callum Robinson (out of picture) Photographer Kevin Barnes/CameraSport Football - FA Challenge Cup First Round - Havant & Waterlooville v Preston North End - Monday 10th November 2014 - West Leigh Park - Havant � CameraSport - 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - admin@camerasport.com - www.camerasport.com
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Dave Seddon’s press view

The streets surrounding Westleigh Park were not awash with traders pedalling half-and-half scarves to keep fans warm on Monday night.

Shoehorning Havant and Waterlooville and Preston North End on to one of those ‘friendship’ monstrosities would have taken some doing.

Even fitting it on to a scarf the length of which Tom Baker’s Dr Who character used to wind several times around his neck would have posed a huge challenge.

Has an FA Cup tie ever featured two teams with 37 letters combined in their names? And what score would that give you in Scrabble?

All jokes aside, it was a good night all round in Hampshire for PNE. A 3-0 win courtesy of Callum Robinson’s hat-trick, a home tie in the next round and a few bob in the bank too.

Every credit to the 389 North End supporters who made the long trip to Havant – I’m not sure if their feet also touched down on Waterlooville soil but just Havant will suffice. There is something about the long trips south which brings the best of North End supporters.

At times it seems that the longer the trip, the louder their singing is.

To my ears, 771 PNE folk at Leyton Orient made more noise than the 2,844 who went to Rochdale.

Mind you, it is fair to say that there was plenty more to shout about at Brisbane Road than during the Spotland trip.

The support at Havant was excellent, coming across loudly both inside the ground and on television.

To make a 536-mile round trip on a Monday night to a game being shown live on the box is some dedication.

Many of those there will also have been at Gillingham, Orient, Rochdale and Swindon in recent weeks.

Those journeys and that to Havant totalled a whopping 1,956-mile round-trip.

I was fortunate enough to fly to and from the Havant game, North End generously offering myself and Radio Lancashire’s Phil Cunliffe seats on their private charter.

Spending the day in the company of the PNE squad and coaching staff was a real eye-opener in terms of seeing first hand the professional preparation for a game.

Check-in was at a private hanger at Manchester Airport, the flight down to Bournemouth just 38 minutes.

The players spent the afternoon relaxing in a hotel and fuelling-up for the game.

Later that night, the return flight back to Manchester was a tail-wind assisted 35 minutes.

I won’t try and guess at the exact cost of it all but it certainly shows that North End are going about this season in determined fashion.

Success will be judged by what happens on the pitch but off it, the squad is certainly getting the help of Trevor Hemmings’ finance.

As Simon Grayson tries to plot Preston’s course out of League One, the last man to do just that – David Moyes in 1999/2000 – returned to management this week.

He took up the reigns at Real Sociedad, this his first job since being sacked by Manchester United at Easter.

In some ways Moyes faces a similar task to the one he had when taking over at Everton in 2002, leaving PNE to do so.

Everton were looking anxiously over their shoulders at the Premier League relegation zone, just as Sociedad are in La Liga.

I wish Moyes every success in Spain and he looks to have the perfect environment to get his teeth back into managing a club.

Meanwhile, two football stories have dominated the news this week.

One was the farce of the FIFA investigation into corruption surrounding the awarding of the World Cup to Russia in 2018 and Qatar four years later.

The other was Sheffield United’s announcement that Ched Evans, a convicted rapist, would be training with them at the request of the PFA.

While football tends to be a forgiving sport in terms of rehabilitating players who have strayed from the law, I don’t see any place for Evans.

Although he has the right to deny and contest the crime he was accused, convicted of and jailed for, the mud-slinging and hounding his victim has continued to receive from a wider circle, absolutely stinks.

And while Evans also has the right to be rehabilitated and to work, it should not be in a profession where players are regarded by some as role models – as a convicted rapist he has surely forfeited the right to be a professional footballer.

As for the FIFA report, it seems much red pen was put through Michael Garcia’s report before parts of it were presented for public scrutiny.

If FIFA thought they had drawn a line in the Qatar sand, they better think again.