Dave Seddon's Preston North End Press View: Tweeting at 30,000ft is a whole new ball game

The skies over the Atlantic were the source of a great deal of interest for Preston North End supporters this week.

By Dave Seddon
Friday, 25th March 2022, 4:45 pm

From there on board a private jet, Chris Kirchner held a question and answer session on social media platform Twitter, the majority of the 200 or so questions coming from the faithful of Deepdale.

The American, who is in negotiations to buy North End, vowed not to answer specifically about PNE when announcing the impromptu Q&A.

Indirectly though, Kirchner gave an insight into how he would try to run the club should a deal go through.

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It was certainly entertaining for those fans who got an answer and others who were following it with interest.

Kirchner was flying back to the United States from a two-day trip to Manchester when he reached for his phone and logged into his Twitter account.

He had stirred interest on Monday morning when he posted a photo of his plane making its descent into Manchester.

Such interest was turned up several notches on the return journey on Wednesday afternoon when he engaged with the series of tweets.

Chris Kirchner with agent Paul Stretford (left) and former Manchester City chief executive Garry Cook (right). Pic: Getty Images

It was certainly different in the grand scheme of a proposed takeover of a football club and should the 34-year-old complete a buyout at some stage, perhaps it is a method of communication which will be more common place.

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A prospective owner tweeting from the clouds is so very 2022 isn’t it? North End have been taken over before but with a different approach.

Trevor Hemmings taking ownership in the summer of 2010 was all about buying shares at 5p a go, a steady countdown to when he reached the number needed to take control.

The Baxi Partnership takeover in autumn 1994 was carried out quietly behind the scenes, before a press conference was called on a Monday morning to announce it was a done deal.

Wind the clock forward to the present day and it’s all a bit different, whispers and tip-bits of information getting into the public domain, before this week’s mid-air Twitter marathon.

So where are things up to regarding Kirchner’s attempt to buy this famous old club?

It seems there is still some way to go, with the necessary business plan and various requirements of the EFL, still be to be done.

There didn’t seem any element of panic on the American’s part but getting it done before the end of March and before PNE go to Derby – a club Kirchner tried to buy late last year - on April 2, seems unlikely to say the least.

How long it goes on is anyone’s guess, we could be looking well into April before things happen. Until the ink is dry on the contracts, it is only at the proceeding stage.

Should an agreement be struck, Kirchner has plans for how he wants to run it. In the Twitter Q&A he alluded to former Manchester City chief executive Garry Cook running any club that he bought.

That isn’t a surprise considering Cook has been by his side since the attempt to buy Derby. It was Cook who made arrangements for Kirchner to watch two PNE games at Deepdale in February.

Would there be involvement of some sort for agent Paul Stretford who spent time with Kirchner at Derby? Yes would probably be the right answer.

There are plenty of other questions North End supporters would love to get answers to. For now though, the best course of action would be for any negotiations to continue behind the scenes.

No one wants this turning into a saga or some sort of guessing game.

Away from the financial negotiating table, PNE are now beyond the half-way point of the extended international break.

The standard fortnight’s break always seems too long but having another few days tagged on to it by reason of the Blackpool game being rescheduled has meant time has really dragged.

On Friday the majority of the squad were back in training after being granted a few days off by Ryan Lowe, a sign that football is on the horizon.

It’s a big few weeks ahead for North End, the Derby game important in that its the next one and they need to bounce back from the big defeat at Luton Town a week last Wednesday.

There’s the Kirchner link surrounding that visit to Pride Park too which is an added ingredient.

Then comes the big one, Blackpool at home, on Tuesday week. After the tame show at Bloomfield Road in October, North End know what they need to do to put it right.

It is the first of three games at Deepdale on the bounce, with Queens Park Rangers and Millwall to follow.

Then it’s Fulham away, rescheduled for Tuesday, April 19 from Easter Monday.

Much has been said about the FA Cup semi-finals taking place at Wembley that weekend, the fact Liverpool and Manchester City fans can’t jump on the train to get there.

On a smaller scale, it would have been the same for PNE supporters wanting to go to Craven Cottage had the game stayed on the Monday.

That said, a Tuesday night in London isn’t great either for travelling support.

You look at the EFL fixture list over Easter and there are some horrendous journeys to be faced by a number of clubs.

Granted, those games have to be played at some point but why Easter?

Millwall coming up here on Good Friday is hardly travel-friendly, while Sunderland have to go to Plymouth on Easter Monday.

Easter is a family time like Christmas, those at the EFL need to give their fixture planning more thought.