Dave Seddon’s pressview

PNE fans at Wembley
PNE fans at Wembley
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Football quickly moves on as we saw this week in the aftermath of Preston North End’s glorious play-off final victory.

The Wembley suits were still damp from being doused in champagne when this season’s squad began to break up.

Just 48 hours after Swindon were thrashed 4-0, Jack King was holding aloft a Scunthorpe scarf after joining the Iron.

Two days later, it was the turn of Scott Wiseman to do likewise – North Lincolnshire clearly having its appeal.

In the next blink of an eye, David Buchanan had signed for Northampton Town.

Add to that the departures of Keith Keane and Lee Holmes to Cambridge and Exeter respectively, and the clearing of decks at Deepdale had began in earnest.

All served North End well, that evident by the goodwill which accompanied them through the exit door.

Wiseman, Buchanan and King might not have made the matchday squad last Sunday but they played their part in PNE’s push for the Championship – one which for a good while looked like resulting in automatic promotion and ended-up being finished off at Wembley.

There were 22 appearances in the league for Wiseman and two fine goals – the weaving run and shot at home to Colchester in October and then December’s volley against MK Dons.

Buchanan made 17 league starts and a few more in the cup competitions between early September and the end of January.

During that time, he made the left-back position his own, a string of impressive performances keeping him in.

The contribution of King in the league was 10 starts and eight more appearances from the bench.

He scored the winner in August’s 1-0 victory over Oldham Athletic.

The contributions of King, Wiseman and Buchanan, cannot be overlooked in the wider picture of the season.

King and Buchanan were regulars in the two seasons before, Wiseman since his arrival a year last January.

While the time has come for pastures new, an excellent reference from Preston fans and staff goes with them.

Keane and Holmes might have been totally out of the picture this season but likewise they played their part in the two campaigns before.

Who delivered the free-kick which Tom Clarke headed home against Blackpool in August 2013? Holmes did.

At right-back and then in the centre of midfield, Keane wore his heart on his sleeve for the Preston cause.

As PNE look to build on their Wembley success and put plans in place for the Championship, it would be amiss of me in this column not to take a step back to last weekend and reflect on it all.

We had the usual drama in the build-up surrounding the odd ticketing moans, threatened railway strikes and even an unexploded bomb being found nearly Wembley.

They were obstacles which were cleared and then the threat posed by Swindon was overcome with relative ease.

Not in the sense that it only required minimal effort though.

Preston grafted their socks off for victory, often without the ball – the official statistics revealed they had 35% possession.

For all of Swindon’s time on the ball, they did little with it in key areas. Once a few yards over the half-way line, they were pressed and harried by PNE’s midfield three.

What Simon Grayson’s men did was to make full use of their time in possession.

They were ruthless going forward, exploiting a rather naive Robins back line.

In Jermaine Beckford, North End had a striker at the top of his game and Joe Garner was not far behind, even if he did not register on the scoresheet.

With Preston’s play-off record being as it was, many fans no doubt headed to London with a slight feeling of unease.

So to be able to start the party before half-time and have the celebrations in full swing before the hour mark, was something special.

The Wembley press box used on Sunday (there are two for the biggest matches) was situated in the western part of the stadium.

That meant it was slap-bang among the Preston supporters and the atmosphere was something else.

Stadium staff remarked that it was one of the loudest supports at a play-off final, even though it was under capacity.

In my book, getting on for 24,000 was a super following bearing in mind cost and the daft kick-off time.

It was an occasion which will live long with me.