Deepdale
(Preston North End)

Address: Sir Tom Finney Way,
Preston,
Lancashire,
England,
PR1 6RU

Capacity: 23,404 (All-Seater)

Preston North End

We all as football fans have a preference as to what makes a great stadium. For me, it’s a case of the simpler the better, and I’d struggle to give you a better example of that than Deepdale.
Practicality at its finest.

The stadium has been around since 1878, having originally been a site for association football matches since 1875. The ground was developed as football’s popularity grew, first including a West Paddock which ran along the touchline.
Over time, further stands were built, and redevelopments to the entire stadium began in 1995, taking inspiration from the Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Italy, which is home to both Genoa and Sampdoria.
Preston North End Football Club has used Deepdale since 1878, and between 1996 and 2000 it was also home to Rugby League club Lancashire Lynx, who are now defunct.

Location and Getting There

Deepdale is located close to the retail park of the same name, around one mile northeast of the City Centre. Moor Park is due west of the stadium, the Lancashire Infantry Museum and Preston Golf Club are due north, are the aforementioned retail park is due east.

There’s plenty of paid car parking around the stadium’s vicinity but you should also be able to find luck with street parking if you head south and into the nearby residential area. Just be careful that where you do go does not have any restrictions in place.

The ground is also reachable by train, though Preston Station is a good distance southwest of Deepdale and it can take around 30 minutes to get there on foot.

Outside the Stadium

When you reach Deepdale itself, it becomes clear exactly how well-balanced this stadium is. Every one of its four stands are the same height and follow a very simple exterior design, which admittedly is not great to look at, but serves its purpose well.

The West Stand is the closest to Sir Tom Finney Way (A6063) which most vehicles will head along on their way either to or from the stadium. The West Stand is named after Sir Tom Finney.
Born in Preston on 5th April 1922, Finney played mostly as an outside left (similar to a modern-day left-winger) for Preston North End between 1946 and 1960. He would play 569 times for the club, scoring over 200 goals, twice finishing as runner-up in the First Division and reaching the FA Cup Final in 1954.
Capped 76 times by England, scoring 30 goals, Sir Tom Finney passed away on 14th February 2014 at the age of 91.
There is a statue of Sir Tom Finney outside Deepdale’s northwest corner known as ‘The Splash’, which was inspired by the 1956 Sports Photograph of the Year that showed Finney beating two Chelsea defenders at an incredibly waterlogged Stamford Bridge.
The exterior of the Sir Tom Finney Stand has an additional building protruding out of its centre which makes it the largest of all four at Deepdale. There are glass panes at the front of this which lead through to the Executive Reception of this stand, and the entrance for scouts is alongside this. One of Preston’s Club Shops and the Main Ticket Office are left of here towards the northwest corner.
Plenty of car parking is available out beyond the Sir Tom Finney Stand, though this obviously comes with a price. Parking spaces are also available on the other side of the main road just inside Moor Park, but don’t expect these spaces to be much cheaper.

Continuing round in a clockwise direction leads you to the North Stand, known as the Billy Shankly Kop in honour of another of Preston’s former players.
Born in Glenbuck on 2nd September 1913, Shankly is perhaps most famous for his managerial stint at Liverpool, but as a player he was with Preston North End between 1933 and 1949, winning the FA Cup here in 1938.
Capped five times by Scotland, Shankly passed away on 29th September 1981 at the age of 68. The North Stand at Deepdale has been named after him since it was rebuilt in 1998.
Much like the Sir Tom Finney Stand, the outside of the Bill Shankly Kop is very basic, somewhat naked in parts as you can see the underside of the seating area. There is a lifestylefitness gym in this stand that has its entrance part way along.
Away fans enter this stand through the turnstiles in the northeast corner, where the Away Ticket Office can also be found.

The East Stand is known as the Invincibles Pavilion, honouring the club’s historic First Division Title in 1889, where they famously went unbeaten for the entire 22-game campaign.
The Invincibles Pavilion has easily the nicest exterior of all four stands, and this is because the Minerva Health Centre is attached to the outside, running all the way along it.
There are no turnstiles along the main length of the stand as a result; these are instead in the southeast corner. There are however executive entrances part way along.
Another of Preston’s Matchday Ticket Offices is in this stand next to the southeast corner, and out beyond here is the car park for the Invincibles Pavilion.

The South Stand is named after Alan Kelly Senior.
Born in Bray, County Wicklow on 5th July 1936, Kelly was a goalkeeper and manager who played a club record 513 games for Preston North End and also earned 47 Republic of Ireland National Team caps. His son, Alan Kelly Junior, also played for Preston and the Republic of Ireland.
A Third Division Title winner with the club in 1971, Alan Kelly Senior passed away on the 20th May 2009 at the age of 72. The South Stand at Deepdale has been named after him since being rebuilt in 2001.
The Alan Kelly Town End follows a very similar design to the Bill Shankly Kop opposite, with the exception of there being no gym built into the stand itself.
Kimberley Barracks, home for the Army Reserves in Preston, is on the other side of a wall out beyond the stand.

Out beyond the southwest corner between the Alan Kelly Town End and the Sir Tom Finney Stand is the larger PNE Shop, and there are a couple of rows of stadium car parking out beyond this as well.

The side of every stand is perpendicular to its neighbour, and its in these large open spaces that fans enter through the turnstiles into their specific stand.
Deepdale’s floodlights are right on each corner, connected to the cantilever roof by four supports. Light shines clearly from these floodlights onto the pitch inside and because of the open corners, the towers supporting the lights can come down without restricting the view of any seats inside.

Inside the Stadium

The Sir Tom Finney Stand is clearly the largest, though its back row does not go as far back as its adjacent neighbours do.
Amongst the single tier of dark blue seats is a picture of Sir Tom Finney made out of white, grey, black and yellow seating. The image is placed over towards the southwest corner.
Preston’s executive seating is in the centre, up towards the back, but maintains the same colour scheme as the majority of the stand so that it doesn’t look out of place.
There are no supporting pillars in this stand because of the cantilever roof and so your view from any seat is perfectly clear.

The Bill Shankly Kop is also single-tiered and is as tall as the adjacent Sir Tom Finney Stand.
Its seats are once again predominantly dark blue but the central block forms a picture of Bill Shankly’s face.
Entrances from the inner concourse are towards the bottom of the stand and with its cantilever roof above, there are no supporting pillars in the way that would restrict your view of the action.
There is an electronic scoreboard hanging from the roof and this can be seen by every fan expect for those in the Bill Shankly Kop.

The Invincibles Pavilion is as tall and wide as the Sir Tom Finney Stand opposite, but its seating blocks only go half-way up. That is because of the rows of executive boxes behind.
The letters PNE FC are spelt out in white seating across the blocks, and in the middle of the stand along the back wall is an analogue clock that fans can use to keep track of what the time is and work out how long has been played in each half.
The club’s changing rooms and dugouts are located in the Invincibles Pavilion, and the tunnel can be found right next to the southeast corner.
The cantilever roof above means that there are no pillars coming down and your view is perfectly clear from anywhere inside.

The Alan Kelly Town End has a very similar design to the Bill Shankly Kop opposite.
The middle block is used to form a picture of Alan Kelly Senior’s face, but unlike the Bill Shankly Kop, the entrances from the concourse are further up, and there is also a flat platform to the right of Kelly’s face that can be used by disabled fans to get a good view of the action.
Much like the rest of Deepdale, your view is perfectly clear from anywhere inside as there are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof above.

Away Fans

Away fans are housed behind the goal in the Bill Shankly Kop.
Depending on the travelling allocation, the stand can be left completely open for fans, which can make for quite a sight when it is full to the brim, or large sheets can be used to section off one side of the stand and keep fans in a specific area.

Preston’s most vocal supporters usually house themselves behind the other goal in the Alan Kelly Town End and it can help to enhance the atmosphere on a matchday when you have two sets of fans trying to out-sing each other at opposite ends of the ground.

Matchday Pubs

Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include*:
-The Blue Bell (114 Church Street, PR1 3BS) (Typically Home and Away Supporters)

-Moor Park Sports and Social Club (Blackpool Road, PR2 3AE) (Away Supporters Welcome on Matchdays)

-The Northern Way Preston (79 Friargate, PR1 2ED) (Typically Home Supporters Only) (Located near Preston City Centre)

-The Vic and Station (Fishergate, PR1 2UH) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near to Preston Station)

-The White Hart (230 Watling Street Road, PR2 8AD) (Away Supporters Welcome)

*Pubs within close range of Deepdale itself are limited in number. Away supporters are also actively discouraged from heading to pubs around Preston City Centre.

Overview

What I love about Deepdale is its simplicity. Four huge single-tier stands that give you a perfect view of the action no matter where you are sat.
There are other stadiums in the country that have different sized stands and you feel like you have to go more than once to ensure that you get every experience possible. With Deepdale that isn’t an issue. You simply pick which stand you’re going in and get ready to enjoy the football.

That’s what makes this stadium one of my favourites, its focus is purely on giving fans the best matchday experience it can.
Well worth a visit.

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