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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

R's on the Road........... To Preston North End.

This Saturday Rangers’ fans make the long ol’ poke up to Lancashire to visit a Preston North End that has been inconsistent of late, taking just one win in their last six games. Rangers’ now haven’t won in their last four outings and are searching for an all important win to go towards securing safety before a difficult end of season period kicks in. Here are a few pointers that may help you on your trip to Deepdale.


The Stadium.

Current Capacity – 23,408.

Preston were founded in 1880 and were founder members of the English Football League in 1888. Preston became the first ever Champions of the League in its first season and were also the first team to go an entire season unbeaten in the League and FA Cup throughout a season. The feat was made even more remarkable as they didn’t concede a solitary goal in their FA Cup run. Only Arsenal have gone on to match Preston’s unbeaten season and done so in the 2003/04 season, Arsenal however played 38 games to Preston’s 22.
Since being relegated from the top flight in 1961 the club have failed to return to the top flight but in 1964 they did reach the FA Cup final but were losers to eventual winners West Ham.
The Deepdale stadium was built in 1860 and was eventually opened in 1878. This makes Deepdale the longest continuously used ground in the world. In 2011 it would have been used for 135 years.
Since 1996 the ground has had a major facelift. All four sides of the ground have been rebuilt and the finished article is a very clean and unique looking stadium that the fans can be proud of. The final piece of the puzzle was installed at the beginning of last season when the Invincibles Pavilion Stand was opened in 2008. This is a unique stand which can only be described as a shallow tiered stand with 22 executive boxes running along the back of the stand.
The National Football Museum is also at Deepdale, located on the corner of the Bill Shankly Kop End. It was decided that Preston would be the place for the museum as the club were the first ever winners of the English League Championship and therefore making Preston the first home of English football.
Away fans are located in the left of the Bill Shankly Kop End with an initial allocation of 3,000 tickets handed out but the whole 6,000 seats in that end can be requested for large away followings.
The facilities in the away end are pretty good and the view of the pitch is unobstructed and is very good.
The home fans in general are very friendly and always willing to help you find where you are going if needed. This fixture has always been an enjoyable trip, apart from the end results recently, let’s hope that this changes from this weekend.


The History between the teams.

At Preston (15)

Preston 6
Draw 6

Rangers’ last visit to Deepdale was on the final game of the season last year when a 2-1 Preston victory helped Preston leapfrog Cardiff and secure the final Play Off place. The home victory was celebrated by both sets of fans as the R’s bitter rivals fell out of the Play Offs having looked certainties for automatic promotion for the majority of the season. John Parkin and Sean St. Ledger scored either side of Patrick Agyemang’s leveller.
To find the last time the R’s won at the Lilywhites you have to scroll down the history books to 23rd February 1980 when the Superhoops won 3-0 in a second division fixture.


How to get there.

By Car:-
The Postcode for Deepdale is PR1 6RU.
The quickest way to Preston is to leave the M6 at junction 31 and at the roundabout take the 1st exit onto the A59. A mile up the road you will come to another roundabout, this time take the 2nd exit onto the A5085. Two miles up the road from here you will reach a set of traffic lights. Turn left onto the A6063 and just up the road you will reach the ground.
Parking is available is various places and is usually reasonably priced. We usually park in a school car park which is a 5 minute walk from the ground. The reason we park there is because all proceeds raised go towards the school and is a very worthy cause rather than lining someone’s pockets.
If you are planning on visiting a pub before the game then you could also park up at Sumners Pub (which I will recommend later) for £3 and kill two birds with one stone.

By Train:- The train station is about a mile and a half away from the ground and can be walked in around 20 minutes, past quite a few pubs.
Leave the Preston railway station via the main entrance, and head right at the top of the drive. This is the main High Street. Continue along the High Street, passing all the usual big name shops. The High Street (or Church Street as it's known) is about a mile long, and you will pass a church and a bike shop as you come to its end. Simply carry on walking along this street, and when you reach the ring road, you head straight over the large traffic lights, heading towards Preston Prison. Turn left at the Prison into Church Street, then take a left into Deepdale Road. The ground and now straight down the road, half a mile or so away.

Pubs 'n' Grub.

The best bet for a pre match drink is at Sumners. This is located on Tom Finney Way (Deepdale Road) and welcomes both home and away fans and also has parking around the back for a mere £3. Food is served here also and is supposed to be decent.
The High Street in Preston’s town centre will cater for your taste buds as it holds all the usual shops that you would require if you fancy something other than the usual pie or burger in the ground.
Beer is served in the ground. On my last visit they continued to serve until the 60-65th minute before closing up, so if the game is dire then there is an alternative entertainment option available.


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