It has been just another routine week for Preston North End – hasn’t it?.
The talking points? Just a victory snatched from the jaws of defeat against Fleetwood, a win on the road in front of 771 North Enders at Orient, the appointment of a new chief executive and being drawn against non-league opposition at the other end of the country in the first round of the FA Cup. By the way, that one is being shown on television too!
The Fleetwood win and occasion was heartening for a number of reasons. Firstly, Graham Alexander got the type of welcome which his standing in PNE folklore deserved.
A second round of applause 15 minutes into the game was far more sobering as Deepdale rose to remember teenage footballer Melissa Smith who died playing for Cadley FC.
Football fans might well spend the days leading up to games swapping banter and the odd taunt, likewise at games, chants are aimed in one another’s direction.
But we saw the very best of supporters standing as one as the minute’s applause rang round all four Deepdale stands in memory of someone taken far too young.
On the pitch, I enjoyed North End baring their teeth to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 victory. It is always encouraging when a team is able to show another side to their character. On this occasion it being the ability to bully the other team physically by being more powerful.
We all want to see slick passing football and slide-rule passes but there is a time and a place for a different approach, turning the Cod Army over being just that occasion.
Moving on to the Orient game – apologies for missing off the Leyton part of their name but it was plain old Orient when I was a kid and I’ve never got used to the longer title – and we were able to savour another three points in that corner of the capital.
I love Brisbane Road, there is a good traditional feel about the ground even if three sides of it have been rebuilt over the last few years. I’m somewhat nostalgic about the place having seen Preston promoted there in 1996, while many others did likewise in 1987.
Tuesday night’s win was achieved by a combination of style and grit. A slick passing move which took them up the pitch in eight seconds resulted in their opening goal.
Then they dug in to protect that lead, helped no end by a fine goalkeeping display from Jamie Jones against his previous employers of six years. I loved his post-match tweet which read ‘If Carlsberg did returns...’. It could not have gone much better for him. The goal machine that is Paul Huntington struck for the second week in a row to seal the three points.
John Kay’s appointment as chief executive might have looked more spectacular than it actually is. In a nutshell, PNE have not had someone with that title for a few years but the modern game demands one.
With him being group finance director of club owner Trevor Hemmings’ Hemway company, Kay – I guess – will have been working closely anyway with North End.
Finally, Havant and Waterlooville in the FA Cup, 265 miles away. It’s an interesting tie but BT Sport have kicked the romance out of it for PNE fans by sticking the game on a Monday night.