Alex Neil leaves Preston North End - everything you need to know
Alex Neil was relieved of his duties at Preston North End on Sunday afternoon, with his assistant Frankie McAvoy taking over as interim head coach until the end of the season.
Here is the comprehensive coverage of the former manager's departure after nearly four years in charge...
Alex Neil leaves PNE
Last updated: Monday, 22 March, 2021, 11:27
Departed Preston boss Alex Neil seemed resigned to his fate after Luton defeat
Preston North End called time on Alex Neil yesterday and have entrusted his back room staff to halt their slide down the Championship table.
Neil’s stay at Deepdale came to a halt eight matches before the end of his fourth season in charge.
Three defeats on the spin saw the axe fall, the last of those being Saturday’s 1-0 reverse to Luton – the Hatters scoring seven minutes from time to inflict a 20th league loss of the season on PNE.
His long-time coach Frankie McAvoy has been put in interim charge for the rest of the season.
Neil’s exit is the only change to the staff, with McAvoy to work alongside Steve Thompson, goalkeeper coach Mike Pollitt and Paul Gallagher.
The 39-year-old was told of the decision at lunchtime yesterday, with the news made public at 3pm.
It didn’t come as much of a surprise, Neil downbeat and almost seemingly resigned to his fate as he conducted his post-match press conference after the Luton defeat.
Alex Neil did bring some stability, but poor recent form has cost him his job - says Preston fan John Roper
Preston parted company with manager, Alex Neil, with the club in an increasingly downward spiral in this season’s Championship.
Whether that decision will prove to be the right one still remains to be seen as North End face their most crucial final eight games of the season for many years.
Neil came to Deepdale in the summer of 2017 after guiding Norwich into the Premier League and also getting Hamilton Academical promoted in Scotland.
Neil took over at Hamilton at just 32 years old and was a month short of his 35th birthday when he got Norwich promoted in 2016. No wonder then that North End were tempted to appoint the lad from Bellshill at just 36 years old.
Read John Roper’s full opinion piece here.
Looking back at Alex Neil's time as Preston North End manager
Alex Neil was a man in Preston North End’s sights the moment Simon Grayson left for Sunderland the day pre-season training started in June 2017.
As applications landed on the doormat at Deepdale, PNE were already checking out the availability of the young Scot.
On his CV, Neil could boast two promotions to the top flight – in Scotland with Hamilton Academical and taking Norwich City to the Premier League.
Neil quickly set to work at Deepdale and the squad he had in the main inherited were soon playing football in the manner he wanted.
That first season was Neil’s best at North End, both in terms of final position and the football served-up.
It was high-pressing, high octane stuff, one of the games which sticks in the memory being a 3-1 win at Birmingham.
Frankie McAvoy will get the chance to land Deepdale job full-time
Preston North End interim head coach Frankie McAvoy will be given the chance to land the job permanently.
McAvoy was handed the reins at Deepdale on Sunday after North End parted company with Alex Neil.
He joined North End with Neil in July 2017 having worked with him at Hamilton Academical and Norwich City.
The 53-year-old had worked with the job title of first-team coach since then, as did Steve Thompson who was already on the staff.
nterestingly, McAvoy has the interim head coach role rather than interim manager, a pointer maybe to a change of direction in the summer.
He will work with Thompson, goalkeeper coach Mike Pollitt and Paul Gallagher who has been combining midfield and coaching duties this season.
Peter Ridsdale, representative of PNE owner Trevor Hemmings, told the Lancashire Post: “Frankie and the coaching team will take things on for the rest of the season.
Read more here.
Alex Neil’s best moments as PNE boss
Alex Neil had some highs and lows during his four years as North End manager, here they are in picture form.
Players have let manager down - Ryan Ledson throws his weight behind Alex Neil
Ryan Ledson has thrown his support behind under fire boss Alex Neil in the wake of PNE’s 1-0 loss to Luton Town at the weekend.
Calls only increased for the Scot to leave North End after the Lilywhites recorded their 20th defeat of the season.
Ledson made a return to the starting XI against the Hatters after missing a spell due to a calf tear.
The only goal of the game came seven minutes from time as Daniel Iversen made an excellent save from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall before James Collins’ follow up struck the Dane and went into the net.
North End’s No.18 rubbished any claims that the players are not behind the manager and insists the squad want him to remain in charge.
“It’s rubbish, to be honest,” he said.
“I want him to stay, I know all the lads want him to stay. I feel sorry for him.”