Verdict - Preston North End owner's update is welcome but it changes little

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On Thursday night Preston North End chairman Craig Hemmings caught everyone by surprise when he released an extensive statement, updating fans on the current state of the club.

The frustrations of the PNE fanbase have been rising in recent weeks, particularly since the close of the summer transfer window, and it seems that was enough for Hemmings to put his side forward.

Credit to the chairman, he did not have to. . It is not often the case that clubs get the level of communication which North End fans have become accustomed to, be it from Peter Ridsdale as director or now from Hemmings on behalf of the ownership.

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First and foremost, Hemmings is a North End supporters and often see him arriving to watch the Lilywhites in the stands.

PNE's Deepdale stadium.PNE's Deepdale stadium.
PNE's Deepdale stadium.

The statement has not, however, satisfied everyone. There were plenty of points to pick out from the 1,500 words that Hemmings put together. He covered the budget, the Premier League and parachute payments, the academy, Deepdale and Euxton Training Ground and the future ownership.

One point that has quietened some of the supporters is that the Hemmings family are currently putting in £12m a year to keep North End going. That is after all the incomings from TV and revenue is accounted for, they are plugging a sizeable gap in the club’s finances.

It is certainly not an insignificant amount of money, immaterial of how much the owners maybe worth and even accounting for the fact that most clubs operate at a loss.

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But all in all, there was not much from the statement that we didn’t already know.

There does need to be clear communication from those at the top to those spending their hard-earned money following their club up and down the country in the middle of a cost of living crisis.

One thing that is clear in the update is that Hemmings cares deeply for North End. To write 1,500 words for no other reason than to update fans and to show that the Hemmings’ family are still committed to the club is very welcome and comforting.

We knew already that the budgets have become stricter since the passing of Craig’s father Trevor Hemmings. We knew there was only so much PNE could spend and they had essentially run out of funds towards the end of the window. I reported in July that North End needed Matthew Olosunde to leave in order to bring in another right back. There is consistency, though it won’t necessarily be welcomed.

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Hemmings also wrote about not standing in the way of the next ‘big cheque book that comes along’ provided they do not, this time, have a propensity to kick tyres. Even when Trevor Hemmings was the owner, the club, as all things do, had a price. The main thing to take away from the statement I feel is that the chairman clearly cares for the club, and even in part shares some fan frustrations.

Does much change? Not particularly. But it is good that the PNE hierarchy are responding to supporters’ concerns.