Deepdale form not yet on a par with Preston North End’s boys of ’66

Sean Maguire scores for Preston against Brentford as PNE made it four straight wins at Deepdale
Sean Maguire scores for Preston against Brentford as PNE made it four straight wins at Deepdale

Preston’s strong start to the season at Deepdale – four Championship wins out of four – is impressive but Alex Neil’s men still have some way to go to beat the Class of ’66.

North End have beaten Wigan, Stoke City, Sheffield Wednesday and Brentford in front of their own supporters in the league.

George Ross was part of the 1966/67 PNE side

George Ross was part of the 1966/67 PNE side

It is the first time since the 1975/76 campaign that a PNE side have won their first four league home games.

But at the start of the 1966/67 season, North End were formidable at home in the Second Division.

Incredibly they won their first 10 league home matches, a run which stretched to the end of November 1966.

The Preston team of the era included Alex Dawson, Alan Spavin, Alan Kelly, Ernie Hannigan, George Ross and Howard Kendall.

That season they opened up by beating Northampton 2-1 at Deepdale.

Hull City, Birmingham and Blackburn were seen off in September, then came wins against Coventry, Charlton, Millwall and Crystal Palace during October.

In November, Cardiff City and Ipswich were beaten on home turf.

The 100% home run was ended by Carlisle United on December 10, PNE beaten 3-2 in front of a 15,569 crowd.

It was very much a saga of home and away in terms of Preston’s form, though.

While they were superb at Deepdale, North End suffered an acute case of travel sickness on the road.

Of their opening 10 away league games, they lost nine and drew the other.

That season Preston won only twice away, both victories in December.

They won 5-1 at Northampton the week after their run of wins at home had come to an end.

Then PNE beat Bury 4-3 at Gigg Lane on December 27.

It was in that season that Dawson and Kendall both left the club.

Dawson joined Bury in March 1967, still finishing the season as PNE’s top scorer with 13 goals.

Kendall, who had become the youngest player to appear in the FA Cup final when PNE lost 3-2 to West Ham United at Wembley in 1964, left at the same time as Dawson – joining Everton for £85,000.

Before Saturday, when the Lilywhites beat Brentford 2-0 at Deepdale to match the four wins at the start of the 1975/76 season, the best home starts had come in 1986/87 and 1997/98.

In both those campaigns, North End won their opening three home league games.