Trying to break the transfer record, the Ingol training ground and Trevor Hemmings: Headlines from Preston North End fans' forum at Deepdale

Preston North End's finances, player recruitment and the proposed Ingol training ground were among the topics of discussion at a fans' forum at Deepdale on Monday night.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 18th September 2018, 9:25 am
Updated Tuesday, 18th September 2018, 10:27 am
Peter Ridsdale
Peter Ridsdale

All tickets for the evening had been snapped up in advance, with supporters asking a number of questions over the 80-minute event in the Greats' Room.

The first question covered the ambition of the club, why the transfer record hadn't been broken since late 2000, the money brought in by the sales this year of Jordan Hugill and Greg Cunningham, and the summer search for a targetman striker which didn't bear fruit.

Peter Ridsdale

It was answered by Peter Ridsdale, advisor to PNE owner Trevor Hemmings.

Ridsdale said: "The owner is putting in between £5m and £7m for us this season and has put in £73m since he brought the club.

"We have seen examples of clubs who spend a lot of money and find themselves in a position like Aston Villa did when they didn't get promoted.

"I much prefer stability and be a position to pay wages.

The top table at the PNE fans' forum

"Jordan Hugill went for good money, we signed him for £25,000.

"We are in a market place give our cash flow where we have to be smarter than most.

"The manager and myself are out at games all the time, looking at players.

"We have put together a squad for £5m which has been valued independently at £77m,

PNE boss Alex Neil

"It was frustrating, including for Alex Neil, that our search for a targetman didn't come off.

"We do cast envious glances at some clubs when we are competing for players.

"We made a bid which would have been a club record transfer fee, the player in question went to another club in this division because he had played for that manager twice before.

"There was another player we bid for which would have broken the record and the price doubled overnight.

"There aren't many 'lumps' or targetmen going.

"We are proud of our wage structure, the highest and lowest paid players aren't that far apart.

"The big price tag for a player comes with a big wage."

Answering another question from the floor about a missed opportunity to push on this summer and 'get over the line' to the Premier League, Ridsdale said: "We have brought in seven players and renewed seven contracts.

"Some of those have got significant increases..

"Our job all the time is to look at who we can bring in to improve the squad.

"We signed Jordan Storey who is 20 because we recognise the centre-halves are getting a bit older.

"I share the frustration of not finding the centre forward we wanted."

Alex Neil was asked about his side and some of the changes he had been making this season.

Neil said: "People have stated that I don't know what my best XI is. That is probably true.

"The week before the start of the season I did and then two of my front three dropped out injured.

"I've been trying to come up with the right formula, putting players in.

"I have been desperate for a targetman since Jordan left but where are they? How much do they cost?"

The update on the training ground didn't offer too much clarity over a start date and when finance would be in place for the work.

PNE chief executive John Kay confirmed the land on which the facility will be built had now been put in the club's ownership.

It is more than a year since planning permission was granted.

Kay said: "We have fenced off the land, There are a few planning hurdles to get over yet with drainage, water supply and the ability to access the site.

"The money doesn't come from us, it will be from Mr Hemmings."

When asked a further question on the topic, Kay added: "We can't do it overnight. I don't think we can move too quickly."

A supporter's question about the future ownership of North End, bearing in mind the age of Mr Hemmings, was also answered by Kay,

He said: "Mr Hemmings is 83 and the way we regard that is we want to get the club in the best shape we can, then find a successor.

"If we do that, they will be able to move it forward."