PNE tribute to the one and only Sir Tom

A PNE supporter at Colchester last weekend
A PNE supporter at Colchester last weekend
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Preston North End supporters will get a double treat if they buy the club’s official match programme at Saturday’s home clash with Walsall.

As well as the usual 84-page ‘The One and Only’ edition, North End are producing a 52-page publication dedicated to Sir Tom Finney.

Fans buying the matchday programme for £3 will get the Sir Tom tribute free.

Lilywhites general manager Ben Rhodes, who edits the programme, told the Evening Post: “The 84-page programme is being produced as normal for the Walsall match.

“Supporters who buy that will also get our tribute edition to Sir Tom.

“That will be 52 pages and mainly picture-led because very often a picture says more than 1,000 words can do.

“It has been wonderful to collect tributes and memories from so many people.

“We will be including letters, stories, memories and poems from fans which have been sent in.

“Also, there are letters and messages of support we have received from clubs up and down the country.

“There will be messages from our owner Trevor Hemmings and the manager Simon Grayson, and there will be pictures from the funeral today.

“So much has been written and said about Sir Tom over the last couple of weeks which just shows the warmth and respect which people world-wide had for him.

“We as a club have decided that producing this official tribute programme is a fitting way to honour Sir Tom’s life.

“You only get one chance to do something like this, so we have to get it right.

“We have given him the respect and honour which he greatly deserves, and have got the right tone.

“It is something which his family and friends can keep and look back on, and we feel happy with what we’ve produced.”

Since Sir Tom passed away peacefully on February 14 at the age of 91, the spotlight has been shining on North End.

The club has been in liaison with his family about the funeral, which was being held today at Preston Minster.

Rhodes said: “We have been delighted with the way in which people have pulled together here.

“A lot of people have worked some ridiculously long hours recently without mentioning the fact that they are doing so.

“The day after Sir Tom passed away, I came in at 6.30am before our game with Leyton Orient and there were already dozens of staff already at Deepdale.

“They had come in of their own accord because they just wanted to make sure that everything ran smoothly for the Orient game in honour of Sir Tom, they wanted things done right.

“There has been a great deal of dignity shown by so many people.

“While we have all been mourning his passing, it is only right that the life of Sir Tom is celebrated too.

“It was not just on the football pitch where he excelled but also in his career after he retired from the game. Sir Tom did so much for the city of Preston in other walks of life.”