PNE’s title-winning skipper passes away

Graham Hawkins on the steps of the Harris Museum, lifting the Third Division trophy
Graham Hawkins on the steps of the Harris Museum, lifting the Third Division trophy
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Graham Hawkins, who was Preston North End’s captain when they won the Third Division title in 1971, has passed away aged 70.

The defender was ever-present in that title-winning campaign under the stewardship of Alan Ball Snr and made more than 250 appearances in a PNE shirt.

Graham Hawkins with Football League president Bob Lord and PNE manager Alan Ball Snr in 1971

Graham Hawkins with Football League president Bob Lord and PNE manager Alan Ball Snr in 1971

Hawkins started his career with Wolves, joining the club he had supported as a boy.

He moved to Deepdale in late 1967 but suffered an injury on his debut the following month against Queens Park Rangers.

Once Hawkins had recovered, he went on to become a regular in the heart of North End’s defence over the next six seasons.

It was aged 22 when he was appointed PNE captain, one of the youngest skippers in the club’s history.

Hawkins left the Lilywhites in the summer of 1974, joining Blackburn Rovers.

In his first season at Ewood Park, he helped Rovers win the Third Division title.

He finished his playing career at Port Vale, that move reuniting him with Bobby Seith who had previously had a spell managing Preston.

Moving into coaching, Hawkins was assistant manager to Graham Turner at Shrewsbury.

Hawkins returned to Molineux to manage Wolves, guiding them to promotion from the Second Division in 1982/83.

After leaving Wolves, he coached in Bahrain and then spent 10 years working for the Football League as their head of player development.

In 2009, Hawkins was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and since then had worked tirelessly to raise money for cancer patients at Shrewsbury Royal Hospital.