Big Interview - John Bird

There is nothing forced about John Bird's love for Preston North End, the club that has never had a serious rival for his allegiance since he signed from Doncaster Rovers for £10,000 four decades ago.

But his controversial sale to Newcastle United in September, 1975, represented one of the more curious episodes in Deepdale's history, with the board selling their star player and captain against the wishes of manager Bobby Charlton.

Charlton, a World Cup winner and a Manchester United legend resigned in protest, and never worked as a manager again.

Nowadays, Premier League players are millionaires, looked after and molly-coddled by agents, and one or two even have private planes.

It was all very different then of course as Bird recalled: "I didn't know anything about the transfer, nothing whatsoever.

"Can you imagine that happening today? Not a chance.

"Football's a completely different world.

"I remember it very vividly, answering my front door and a neighbour handing me a copy of the Lancashire Evening Post, with the bold headline: 'Bird set for Newcastle switch.'

"PNE were playing that night, so I went to see Bobby Charlton.

"He was furious when I walked into his office.

He said, 'I know what you've come for' and threw the newspaper across the room.

"He added, 'You're not leaving John – you are staying at Preston. I'll give you a new contract. I'll get you more money, but if that lot sell you, I'm off'.

"The manager, who I thought the world of, who had made me captain, quit days later."

Read the full, enthralling interview with John Bird in Saturday's Lancashire Evening Post