PNE supporters get the answers at fans' forum

Preston North End supporters got the chance to fire questions at the club's hierarchy at a fans' forum at Deepdale on Monday night.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 19th February 2018, 10:13 pm
Updated Monday, 19th February 2018, 11:20 pm
Peter Ridsdale and Alex Neil
Peter Ridsdale and Alex Neil

Lilywhites manager Alex Neil, chief executive John Kay, club secretary Ben Rhodes and Peter Ridsdale - advisor to PNE owner Trevor Hemmings - were among those on the top table in the Greats' Room.

They answered a wide range of questions during the evening, ranging from player recruitment, the sale of Jordan Hugill, ticket prices and how the development of the new training ground was progressing.

Kay revealed that North End were set to install electronic turnstiles and ticketing at Deepdale this summer.

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That would involve the replacement of some of the existing turnstiles in older parts of the ground.

As part as the new training facility at Ingol was concerned,the chief executive said fencing would soon to be put up at the site and a collection started of Great Crested newts - one of the conditions of building there.

It was hoped that work would be completed by the end of June 2019.

On the sale of Jordan Hugill to West Ham United in January for a reported £9.5m, Ridsdale told the forum that all of the fee was guaranteed with none of it linked to appearances.

PNE chief executive John Kay

He said Football League rules stated that fees had been undisclosed but added that figures stated in the media had been in the 'right ballpark'.

Responding to a question from the floor that North End had 'given in' when it came to selling Hugill, Neil stated that was not the case.

Neil said: "What you have to take into consideration is that we had offered Jordan numerous contracts and he had turned them down.

"His form wasn't particularly good, I was having discussions with him about taking him out of the side.

PNE chief executive John Kay

"When we got the offer of that sum of money there was only one decision to be made - 100% it was the right one."

Neil admitted that adding more goals to the team was a priority but not at the expense of conceding more.

"I've got the stats that show that attacks per game over the course of the season, we are number one in the division," said Neil.

"We are not lacking the intent but what we have lacked at times is a bit of quality.

"I would say it is more the final pass than the final shot which has been the problem and it something we are working on.

"We are five goals down on last season, however we have conceded nine less.

"But there is an improvement to be made."

Reflecting on his first few months at Deepdale, Neil added: "The players and line-management is really refreshing.

"I report just to Peter who is in contact with the owner, rather than having to deal with many people.

"Working with the players is the most refreshing thing for me.

"Their attitude and work-rate makes it a pleasure to come to work, I'm enjoying it."