Ex-Preston North End players come together for former kitman after cancer diagnosis with QPR boss Gareth Ainsworth featuring
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Hickson became kitman at North End in the early 90s and stayed at the club until 2013, departing after 27 years at the club. He saw many players come and go as well as managers and saw the successes of David Moyes in winning the Division Two title in 2000 and Bill Davies’ side reach the play-off final in 2005.
Plenty of former players came out for the game in his honour, with a 90s team facing up against a 2000s side. The 90s XI boasted the likes of QPR boss Gareth Ainsworth, current PNE youth team coach Andy Fensome, Longridge boss Lee Ashcroft, Lee Cartwright and Kurt Nogan.
The more youthful 00s side contained John Welsh, Tommy Spurr, David Buchanan, Matt Hill and Jon Macken.
The game was sponsored by Trade Windows who donated £500 towards Hickson’s treatment and care at St Catherine’s Hospice. His health has deteriorated over the last 18 months, with a pacemaker being fitted in 2021 and having toes amputated due to diabetes last summer. Now Hickson has been diagnosed with throat cancer, his hat-trick, as he calls it.
Despite plenty of problems caused by the M6 last Sunday, the game was played after a delay of kick off and there were plenty of goals for the spectators to see.
Ben Ashcroft opened the scoring for the 00s side, with Jon Macken making it 2-0 before half time. In the second half the floodgates opened and there were eight more goals.
John Welsh made it 3-0 after 50 minutes, with Gareth Ainsworth giving the 90s XI a bit of hope with a goal seven minutes later and Terry Flemming’s goal three minutes later closing the gap to just one goal.
But Welsh netted again to extend the 00s side’s lead, there were four goals in five minutes to take the score to 7-3 before David Lucas found the net in the final 10 minutes to finish off the scoring, the 00s side winning 8-3.