Is this PNE’s most ardent fan? Veteran Preston North End supporter Graham Riding has proved his loyalty 37 times over.
He has been collecting the club's home shirts since 1986 and only one is missing - from when the shirts got a new sponsor part way through the season and Graham had already purchased a plain shirt.
Graham, a civil servant from Fulwood, who was awarded the BEM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his community service, explained: “The only one I’ve not got is round about 1990. The actual shirt remained the same but they put sponsors on it. In October/ November they bought out a shirt with Ribble Valley Shelving on it."
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The loyal Lilywhites supporter has only ever been tempted by the home game shirts but has added some replica retro shirts to his collection. He will only wear the current shirt on the finest of days.
Graham began his collection at the start of a “new era” for PNE when the club installed a plastic pitch in 1986. He said: “The home colour’s white - that’s what PNE is famous for... I’ve deliberately stuck with the white shirts.”
The 55 year old proud Prestonian said: ““I was born in Preston and I’ve always supported them. 1986/7 was (manager) John McGrath’s first season. I’ve had a shirt ever since then. In those days they were new every two years, now it’s every year.”
The bumnper collection is stored in vacuum sealed bags and there are two such bags on the top of his wardrobe. Once a year an older shirt may get worn. Graham said: “One time in the season they’ll have an old shirts day. My 21 year old will put one on as well. They are all in quite decent condition because they are not well used.”
When he first began collecting the shirts cost around £15 -£20, but now the price is up to £49.95. He said:”The amount I’ve spent over the years is probably quite considerable when you add it up. It would be very nice if they could be displayed but then I wouldn’t get to use the odd shirt if they were up somewhere and got framed!”
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