PNE mourn loss of legend Spavin

Alan Spavin (photo courtesy of Ian Rigby)
Alan Spavin (photo courtesy of Ian Rigby)
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Preston North End legend Alan Spavin has passed away at the age of 74.

The former inside-forward played more than 450 games for North End after joining the club as a youngster in 1959.

Born in Lancaster, ‘Spav’ was a member of the fine youth team – playing alongside Peter Thompson, Dave Wilson, George Ross and John Barton – which reached the 1960 FA Youth Final against Chelsea.

He soon progressed to the first-team ranks and made his debut against Arsenal in the old Division One later that year, scoring in a 2-0 victory.

Spavin later went on to be a prominent member of the 1964 FA Cup final team which narrowly lost 3-2 to West Ham United at Wembley in 1964 and was captain of Third Division Championship-winning side in 1971.

He departed Deepdale in 1974 and moved to the USA where he played for the Washington Diplomats.

His time in the States saw him line-up against one of the world’s greatest ever players Pele.

The former Lancaster Royal Grammar School pupil returned to these shores in 1977 and he re-signed for North End but only made a handful of appearances before hanging up his boots and joined the coaching staff at Deepdale.

The club’s official historian Ian Rigby said: “Alan’s last game for Preston was at Sunderland on September 2, 1978, giving him a grand total of 486 appearances with 32 goals for the club.

“He is held in very high regard by true North Enders.”

After leaving Preston, Spavin moved back to America where he made his home in Florida.

Rigby added:“He had been in ill-health for some time and our condolences go out to his family and friends, both here and in America.”

A minute’s applause will be held before this weekend’s game against Queens Park Rangers at Deepdale as a mark of respect.