PNE fans’ forum is success

Mark Lawrenson, Kevin Kilbane, Simon Grayson, Sean Gregan and Alan Kelly at Deepdale
Mark Lawrenson, Kevin Kilbane, Simon Grayson, Sean Gregan and Alan Kelly at Deepdale
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Simon Grayson’s charity fans’ forum raised £2,500 as Preston North End’s past and present came together at Deepdale.

The event was organised by PNE boss Grayson to support the Men United campaign.

That highlights awareness of prostate cancer and raises money to fund research into treatment of the illness.

It was a night of two halves in the Invincibles Lounge, Grayson joined on the top table by assistant Glynn Snodin and goalkeeper coach Alan Kelly for the first half.

They answered fans’ questions on a range of topics, including players, formations and tactics.

For the second half, former North Enders Mark Lawrenson, Kevin Kilbane and Sean Gregan were alongside Grayson and Kelly.

They rolled back the years with some stories from the past, BBC pundit Lawrenson speaking with passion about his Preston debut.

Lawrenson said: “I played at right-back against Watford here at Deepdale.

“In the first half I was on the West Stand side of the pitch and my mates were there giving me all kinds of stick.

“For the second half I was defending on the side where the dugouts were. I was getting tired because of all the nervous energy I had used.

“During that second half, the Watford winger knocked the ball past me and tried to go around me.

“I wasn’t going to allow that to happen so I just stood my ground and knocked him flying to the floor.

“Nobby Stiles, who was Bobby Charlton’s assistant, jumped out of the dugout and shouted to me, ‘That’s my boy!’

“When people ask me what the greatest memory of my career is, I always say my debut for Preston – the club I supported.”

Grayson explained the background to having worn a pair of borrowed trainers during games for the last two months.

“Someone forgot to pack my trainers for the cup replay at Sheffield United,” said Grayson.

“I saw a pair of blue trainers in the dressing room which belong to Lewis Hiney, our assistant masseur.

“He’s not seen them since because I wore them for the game and we won 3-1!

“Lewis went home on the bus in his flip-flops and I’ve worn those trainers for every game since.”

An auction saw two fans win the job of assistant kitman for the pre-season games at Bamber Bridge and Chorley.

The players’ dartboard from Springfields was auctioned off.

A signed pair of boots, hurriedly bought for Bailey Wright at MK Dons after his had been left behind, were also auctioned.

In the end, Wright chose to wear a spare pair belonging to Calum Woods.