Preston North End captain Alan Browne pays tribute to Trevor Hemmings as a 'truly classy man'

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PNE captain Alan Browne has paid tribute to the club’s owner Trevor Hemmings as a ‘truly classy man’.

As a hands-on owner, Hemmings would often come into contact with the players and would make a point of meeting the new arrivals if he had not done so before.

The 86-year-old businessman was so well respected around the club that it could sometimes bring about anxiety, but that was quickly put away once people spoke with him.

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“He had an aura about him,” Browne said. “He’d walk into a room and the place would be quiet and you’d be afraid to speak but as soon as he opened his mouth and started a conversation you felt right at ease, as if you were talking to any normal person.

Alan Browne collecting the Sir Tom Finney award for player of the year alongside Alex Neil (left) and Trevor Hemmings (right) in 2018. Credit: PNEFC.Alan Browne collecting the Sir Tom Finney award for player of the year alongside Alex Neil (left) and Trevor Hemmings (right) in 2018. Credit: PNEFC.
Alan Browne collecting the Sir Tom Finney award for player of the year alongside Alex Neil (left) and Trevor Hemmings (right) in 2018. Credit: PNEFC.

“Any time myself or any of the other players would have a normal conversation about anything or if he had a topic to discuss, he was just like anyone else.

“For all his wealth and all his success, he was a real down to earth man. A truly classy man.”

The news of the PNE owner’s passing on Monday evening came as a shock to all, as he was still busy making deals and was planning to attend the training ground on Tuesday.

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It is difficult too for all staff at PNE but there has been a rallying cry from Trevor’s son Craig, who is chairman, to carry on as usual.

Alan Browne in action at Deepdale this season.Alan Browne in action at Deepdale this season.
Alan Browne in action at Deepdale this season.

Browne said: “Initially it was quite shocking, as I imagine it still is for everyone.

“We’re still trying to get over that initial shock and the sadness of it.

“Coming in the following day that the news broke, everyone was down and glum around the place – until Craig came in and said a few words and reminded us of what he would have wanted.

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“That is, to get on with it as usual, business as usual, and keep doing what we normally would.

“People start to realise that that’s what he would have wanted and what we have to do to honour his wishes. Since then we’ve tried to do that.

“It’s still in our minds what has happened and at the moment there is still a lot going on, people are coming into the club asking about it and it is a massive deal.

“As players and as people who are going out on to the pitch trying to honour his wishes, we need to put that to the side for now and try and focus on training and the game, and hopefully get the three points to pay tribute to him.”

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Browne will look to honour Hemmings’ passing on Saturday against Derby County, if he is given the nod.

The skipper has been regularly out of the side so far this season, though he did come on as an early substitute against QPR.

It has been a tough midfield to get into, with the form of Ben Whiteman, Ryan Ledson and Daniel Johnson.

Browne is his own biggest critic when it comes to performances and is looking to get back to his best.

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He said: “I am aware that I haven’t been at my best, probably for a year or two now. I have had problems but no more than anyone else.

“I do think I have a lot to prove going forward this season, I certainly will do that. I know I’m capable of doing that and my mind is in a really good place where I have full focus on games.

“To have such a frustrating start does put fire in my belly and gives me more to prove that there is a lot more to come.

“I gauge it on being at my best in any position that I’ve played.

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“I have played out of position which hasn’t helped in the last few years.

“I would like to get back playing in the ‘10’ role but having said that I know I can be better in the other positions that I play in as well. Whether it’s a deeper role, I know there have been games where I haven’t done as well as I could have done.

“Even at right-back, people will say that I’m not a right-back but I should still do better when I play there. I know how good I can be and the levels I can get to and I haven’t done that often enough.”

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