PNE fan John Roper’s verdict on new PNE boss Alex Neil

Alex Neil
Alex Neil
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Fans must give new man backing

So the best kept secret at Deepdale is now out in the open and we can welcome Alex Neil as the new manager of Preston North End.

Before we talk a little about Alex we need to understand where we are as a football club.

We have been an upper mid table side for the past two seasons, in the Championship, and that in itself is an achievement for a club with a budget like ours and our level of home support.

Trevor Hemmings is not going to do what Dave Whelan did at Wigan or what Jack Walker did at Blackburn, but what he will do is make sure the club is never again in financial difficulty during his tenure as owner and the fact that he has invested circa £70 million of his own money over the years backs up that statement.

It must be annoying to the owner, but not surprising, that the previous manager moved on to, what he thinks are, greener pastures particularly after the way the owner has supported him in the transfer market.

However the past is the past, Simon Grayson has gone, and we move forward with the next chapter in the history of our proud club.

You could pick any manager in the world and some fans would have found a reason not to have him at Deepdale but, in Alex Neil, I think North End have made a very sensible choice from a pool that was not exactly overflowing with outstanding candidates.

I think it is vital that Steve Thompson stays with us as he will be the key conduit between the players and the new man at the helm.

In terms of the squad I would expect two more to come in on permanent deals with, perhaps, a couple of loans coming to us before the transfer window closes at the end of August. A centre back is an obvious requirement and another striker will be high on the list.

Let us not underestimate the squad we have and although there will be no Aiden McGeady this time we were not a oneman team last season.In fact most of our success was built on solid teamwork. No doubt the owner will help Alex along the way and we can only hope the council planning committee can do the same on August 10 in what could be a very defining couple of months for the football club.

So anyone with doubts should cast them aside and wipe your own personal slate clean as far as the new man is concerned.

Take people as you find them and Alex Neil will be judged, like every other of the 91 League managers, on what his team produce on the field. Now, more than ever, is the moment for players, the management team, the fans, the board and the council to all come together to help achieve the aim of Premier League football.