Preston North End, Blackburn Rovers, Blackpool and Burnley reunited in the same division after 61 years

It’s been 61 years since Preston North End, Blackburn, Burnley and Blackpool were in the same division.

By Dave Seddon
Monday, 23rd May 2022, 11:58 am
Updated Monday, 23rd May 2022, 12:09 pm

But the four Lancashire clubs will compete together in the Championship in 2022/23 after Burnley’s relegation from the Premier League on Sunday.

It last happened in the 1960/61, the quartet in the top flight of English football back then.

That was the season after Tom Finney retired and it didn’t end well for North End, with them relegated from the First Division after finishing bottom.

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Preston North End midfielder Alan Browne has a shot in the derby clash with Burnley at Turf Moor in December 2015

Since then the Lancashire neighbours have bobbed around in different divisions, PNE having never played in the top division since that relegation 61 years ago.

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Burnley went into the last day of the Premier League campaign with their destiny in their own hands. They hosted Newcastle at Turf Moor and if they matched or bettered Leed’s result at Brentford, would have stayed up.

Their 2-1 defeat to the Magpies and a win by the same scoreline for Leeds in the capital, saw the Clarets – under the caretaker stewardship of former PNE defender Michael Jackson – tumble out of the top flight after a six-year stay.

Daniel Johnson scores Preston North End's second goal in the derby victory at Burnley in December 2015

Preston’s last visit to Turf Moor was on a wet afternoon in December 2015, Will Keane and Daniel Johnson scoring in a 2-0 victory.

The reverse fixture late in the season saw the Clarets win 1-0 with a Joey Barton goal. That result left them on the verge of promotion to the Premier League.

They’ve met in a couple of pre-season friendlies since and also in a behind closed doors game ahead of football’s re-start two years ago.

With Wigan Athletic promoted as League One champions, there will be a strong North West feel to the Championship in the 2022/23 campaign.

Further north are Sunderland who won the League One play-off final on Saturday, providing another trip up to the North East in addition to the visit to Middlesbrough.

Rotherham were runners-up behind Wigan, the Millers continuing their yo-yo pattern between the second and third tiers.

Watford and Norwich’s relegations are not travel-friendly for North End fans, particularly Norwich.

This coming weekend, one of Nottingham Forest or Huddersfield will go up to the Premier League – Forest always a decent away-day and Huddersfield just a hop over the Pennines.