PNE Gentry Day to coincide with Sir Tom’s anniversary

North End fans on Gentry Day at the Brentford game last season
North End fans on Gentry Day at the Brentford game last season
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Preston North End’s visit to Notts County on Valentine’s Day will see supporters stage their annual Gentry Day.

The Meadow Lane clash has extra significance this year with it being on the first anniversary of Sir Tom Finney’s passing.

Gentry Day first took place in 2005 and has been an annual event since 2008.

Fans don bowler hats and suits in memory of former players and PNE supporters who have passed away.

It was Alan Ball Snr who first dubbed North End followers the Gentry during his time as manager in the early 1970s.

He told the press after a long distance away game ‘Preston fans are the best, they’re the Gentry’.

That one-liner saw fans of the time turn up for future games in hats and suits.

In 2005, fans arranged the ‘Return of the Gentry’ for an away game at Queens Park Rangers.

That was in memory of John Tracey, one of the original Gentry, who had recently died.

Three years later, Gentry Day was marked in a visit to Charlton.

Newcastle, Hull, Sheffield Wednesday and Brentford have been venues for the celebration since then.

For the last two years, the visit to Brentford has been chosen for Gentry Day – in April, PNE sold out their 1,800 allocation at Griffin Park.

Choices for this season’s event were limited, with fans preferring a longer-distance game than a derby clash.

The Notts County choice might yet have to be changed should either team reach the fifth round of the FA Cup that falls that weekend.

A statement from organisers Preston Supporters’ Group (supported by PNE-Online) said: “The football club have promised to add some extra incentives for supporters to make sure this is the best Gentry Day yet.

“This fixture will also mark 12 months since the passing of PNE legend Sir Tom Finney, which will add extra significance for many supporters.

“Should Preston progress as far as the fifth round of the FA Cup, this fixture will be changed and therefore a different match would then be selected for Gentry Day.

“However, both ourselves and the club were keen to inform fans of the preferred date of February 14 as many of them have been asking when it will be.

“Preston Supporters’ Group, with the support of PNE-Online, will be pulling out all the stops to make this another great day in the PNE fans’ calender.

“We are determined to make this the best Gentry Day yet and will work together with other groups to ensure it is.

“While we will all have a good time on the day, let us not forget what the true meaning of Gentry Day.

“As ever, a memories and dedication thread will be available on PNE-Online.”

The Magpies’ Meadow Lane ground accommodates a large away following.

Preston’s travelling support has again been strong this season, with fans travelling in their numbers.

They have clocked-up the motorway miles of late, with long-distance trips to Gillingham, Leyton Orient, Swindon, Havant and Waterlooville, Bristol City and Yeovil over the last six weeks, with four of those being midweek fixtures.