Reader's letter: 'Winger Les was a great asset to PNE'

I read the Lancashire Post report of the recent sad passing of Les Campbell, the former speedy and tricky PNE winger, who frequently deputised for Sir Tom in the 1950s (LP November 13).

By Clare Kelly
Friday, 22nd November 2019, 11:45 am
Les Campbell with the boots he wore on his Preston debut in 1953
Les Campbell with the boots he wore on his Preston debut in 1953

I fondly recall a pleasurable experience sitting next to Les on a trip to Barrow, organised by PNE’s Former Players Association, where Fred Else was hosting a launch of his book.

Les shared anecdotes from his career, which readers might find amusing.

When playing for North End, he was also employed as an electrician at a Coal Mine in Wigan.

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He recalled finishing his shift on a Tuesday night at 4.30pm.

He received a pain-killing injection for a chronic toe condition from a friendly GP.

He then caught a train to Preston, ran up Fishergate, across town and continued up Deepdale Road, playing 90 minutes in a challenging first division match, only to read in the Post, the following night, a report from the contemporary doyen of football writers, Walter Pilkington, which read “Another mediocre game from Les Campbell”.

Les also told me that, when Stanley Matthews moved to the Potteries at the end of his career, he asked Les to join him, saying, “I get tired in the last 20 minutes and you can take the pressure off me. They don’t pay very much, but you can have as many tea services as you want!’”

Les Campbell was a great asset to PNE. May he rest in peace.

Malcolm Rae OBE