Behind the scenes at PNE

Olivia Hanvey (left) and Zoe Hall

Olivia Hanvey (left) and Zoe Hall

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The Deepdale ticket office has been a busy place over the last week or so.

Seats were shifted at a decent rate for Preston’s away games at Port Vale and Bradford, business then brisk in the build-up to this weekend’s big home clash with Swindon.

At the same time, tickets have been getting snapped up for the visit to Colchester a week on Sunday.

Ticketing at North End comes under the umbrella of Zoe Hall and Olivia Hanvey.

Zoe will, in a couple of months be celebrating her ninth year working at the club but her time as a Lilywhites fan goes back much further.

Colleague Olivia has her roots on the other side of the Pennines in Yorkshire.

She worked in the commercial side of football at Leeds, Huddersfield, Bradford and Barnsley before hitting the M62 to join North End almost three years ago.

Until December, the pair were PNE’s commercial department.

Their role was expanded to oversee ticketing too, and it is now from the ticket office in the Sir Tom Finney Stand where they operate.

Zoe said: “We are joint head of ticketing and commercial.

“You put on a different hat for each job but you often find that commercial and ticketing actually work very closely together.

“We juggle home ticket sales, away sales, commercial sales, sponsorship, player sponsorship, award dinners, mascots – everything really.”

For Olivia, football is in the family – dad Keith Hanvey having played for Manchester City, Swansea, Rochdale, Grimsby and Huddersfield in a career spanning more than 400 games.

“Zoe and myself work well together as a team,” said Olivia.

“We like coming up with new ideas and bounce things off one another.

“We are the action girls – give us a job and we’ll do it.

“If there is a problem there is always a solution, that is how we look at things.”

It was not too long after the duo took the ticket office under their wing that North End landed the fifth-round FA Cup tie with Manchester United.

It goes without saying that was a baptism of fire, a great deal of learning done on the spot.

“For a couple of weeks we didn’t have a life outside of Preston North End,” said Olivia as she recalled February’s big game.

“It was 6.30am starts and 11pm finishes some days but cake and sandwiches got us through it!

“The demand for tickets was huge and it all took a lot of managing by the club.

“We had to factor in that some fans had to buy tickets for the Coventry game to get one for Manchester United.

“With how things were done, the tickets did get to those who deserved one.

“We know that if Preston get a game along similar lines in the future, we will be really well prepared after what we learned from dealing with the United game.”

Zoe added: “Being quite new to ticketing at the time, it was probably the best thing that we were thrown in at the deep end.

“We learned so much in those two or three weeks.”

It was in the summer of 2006 that Zoe joined North End’s commercial team.

“My dad is a huge PNE fan and I used to come to the games with him,” she said.

“My previous job involved a lot of work ‘in the field’ which meant a lot of driving.

“I wanted to come to a good place to work and that brought me to North End.

“It was just after Billy Davies had left and Paul Simpson came in, that I started here.”

Olivia started at Deepdale in July 2012.

“I’m a Yorkshire girl and have always been in football at Huddersfield, Leeds, Bradford and Barnsley,” she said.

“My dad was commercial director at Leeds – football has always been in the family.

“With my dad being an 
ex-player, I have grown up with football.”