Thorsten Stuckmann hails Preston North End fans on return to club in new role with Bundesliga Eintracht Frankfurt

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Former Preston North End goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann has praised the club’s supporters and the connection that he had with them across his three-and-a-half years in PR1.

The German joined the club in 2011 and won the club’s player of the year award in his maiden campaign, PNE’s first back in League One after their relegation from the Championship.

In that season, with the towering goalkeeper taken to the their hearts, Preston fans dedicated an away game to Stuckmann, wearing masks of his face as they travelled to face Oldham Athletic.

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Now 42, he’s returned to PNE’s Euxton training ground recently in his new role as goalkeeping scout for Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt to take in some training sessions, speaking to the club’s media team.

Thorsten Stuckmann in action during the League One between Preston North End and MK Dons in 2012Thorsten Stuckmann in action during the League One between Preston North End and MK Dons in 2012
Thorsten Stuckmann in action during the League One between Preston North End and MK Dons in 2012

“I always had a really good connection to the fans,” Stuckmann told PNE.

“I think Graham Westley was a bit jealous of me for the Stuckmann masks at Oldham at the time.

“I’ve never experienced something like this and they made a special day out of me. They wore my face masks and it still sounds bizarre, but it was brilliant.

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“The fans were brilliant all the time here, really polite in supporting me and that’s why I always look forward to coming back home.

“Hopefully next year I can come back to Deepdale and watch a game there.”

With the play-offs for 2023 coming to an end on Monday, Stuckmann has his own experiences of success at Wembley as he was on the bench for PNE’s win in 2015.

Stuckmann had slipped to the role of second choice goalkeeper, with Jordan Pickford and Sam Johnstone in on loans and selected ahead of him respectively, but after being on the bench for each of the three play-off games – all wins – it was time for the German to move on and reassert himself as a first choice goalkeeper, despite an offer to stay from North End.

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He said: “It was probably the perfect way to finish my PNE career with the game at Wembley, but I had an offer here and I also had an offer from Doncaster.

“Doncaster wanted me as a first-choice ‘keeper and I wanted my kids to see me play instead of sitting on the bench, so I had to weigh it up.

“Looking back, it probably would have been great to be here as well because my dream when I first came over was to play in the Championship and it didn’t work out, but it was perfect looking back.

“I spent three and a half brilliant years at this club; this is my favourite club in England now.

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“I’ve still got really good memories of it. I love the place, I love Deepdale and the fans and everything around it.

“I finished off with the task I first signed for, to get the club back to the Championship, [so it] was probably good timing.”