Mick Rathbone is back at Preston North End for a fourth time

Mick Rathbone just cannot keep away from Preston North End.

By Dave Seddon
Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 12:30 pm

The legendary physio turned author is currently working at North End for a fourth time in his football career.

He’s keeping the scholars at PNE’s academy fit, filling in while a new academy physio serves his notice at another club.

Rathbone’s first association with the Lilywhites was as a player, making more than 100 appearances between 1987 and 1991 after being signed from Blackburn Rovers for a tribunal fixed £20,000 fee.

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Mick Rathbone helps Paul McKenna off the pitch during his time as Preston North End physio

He returned to Deepdale in the mid 1990s as a physio and fitness coach, working first under Gary Peters and then with David Moyes – forming a close working partnership with the Scot.

There were two promotions when Rathbone – nicknamed Baz – was in charge of the treatment room, Peters guiding PNE to the Third Division title in 1996 and Moyes to the Second Division title four years later.

It was during that time that the rehab of injured players took a huge step forward under Rathbone who prided himself on having a high fitness level – after clocking off treating injuries, he would jump on the treadmill in the gym and run 10k.

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Rathbone followed Moyes to Everton in 2002 and had a long spell as the Tofffes’ head of medicine.

His third spell at North End was a shorter one, Rathbone brought in to help out with the rehab of longer-term injured players when Phil Brown was manager in 2011.

Now the 63-year-old is having his fourth coming at PNE in this temporary spell at the academy.

The first and second year scholars, together with some of the young pros, train at Springfields and that is familiar turf for Rathbone.

PNE were based there when he was physio, in fact they got the keys to Springfields for the first time when Moyes was manager.

Rathbone had until the end of January been working as physio at Salford, the latest in a long line of clubs he’s served.

He finished his stint at Salford to concentrate on publicising his new book – ‘The Smell of Football 2’.

It’s the follow-up to ‘The Smell of Football’ which was published in 2011.

The Smell of Football 2 covers his time in football after leaving Everton in 2010, including his 2011 spell at PNE.