Grayson pays tribute to an ‘absolute legend’

Preston North End's Manager Simon Grayson
Preston North End's Manager Simon Grayson
Share this article
Have your say

Preston North End manager Simon Grayson has paid tribute to Sir Tom Finney and hopes that the Lilywhites can achieve promotion this season to honour his memory.

Grayson was speaking after North End’s 1-1 draw with Leyton Orient at Deepdale which came less than 24 hours after Sir Tom - the club’s president - passed away aged 91.

The Preston players wore shirts with Finney’s name on the back above their number, and a minute’s silence was observed before kick-off.

And in the seventh minute, a minute’s applause rang around the stadium in honour of the club’s former No.7.

Grayson said: “It was always going to be a big game anyway because of where the two teams are in the league.

“But it was made of bigger interest because of the sad news which came on Friday night.

“It was such a big shock to everyone connected with football but most notably for people connected with Preston North End.

“Everyone can be extremely proud with how this football club has conducted itself, with people behind the scenes organising the shirts today.

“The supporters of both teams were brilliant and so were both sets of players.

“It was such sad news that an absolute legend of a footballer and also a true gentleman has passed away.

“I had the honour and privilege last year to go and meet Sir Tom - I had never seen him play because I was too young.

“When these people are connected with your football club you owe them the honour of going to meet them.

“It was a day I will never forget, I sat and listened to stories for two or three hours and could have been there all day.

“Sir Tom’s passing is a sad loss and our sympathy goes out to his family.

“Hopefully he will be looking down on us for the rest of the season.”

“People country-wide and world-wide have been paying their respects to Sir Tom.

“Every football club were doing something.

“At the lunchtime kick-off at Sunderland and Southampton they did their piece, that is the mark of the man that everyone was respectful of him.

“Hopefully we can on to achieve promotion - because of what he did for this club and give it the reputation he did, it would be fantastic way for us to show what he meant to everybody.

“If we could get the club back to the Championship, I’m sure that Sir Tom would have a wry smile on his face.”

Orient boss Russell Slade said: “Sometimes people use the word ‘legend’ too loosely.

“But Sir Tom Finney was a legend, not just for football but because of his loyalty to Preston too. It is not often you get that in football.”