One of our featured fans still has nightmares over their play-off defeat to Port Vale in 1989 – well, we’re happy to oblige with a YouTube clip…
About the fans
BUCKSHAWWHITE – I’ve followed PNE since the late 70’s & have been a regular attender, bar a spell of a few years where I played on Saturday afternoons. I have amassed eighty plus league grounds supporting PNE. I have witnessed most of the occasional highs and the more regular lows (one of the lows being a 3-1 play off defeat at Vale Park in the John Rudge era). [We’re happy to oblige with the highlights from our YouTube channel – OVF editor]
PAPPLEWICK – I’m Mike, I was brought up as a Liverpool supporter by my father, although he was in the Royal Navy and for most of the time we were abroad or in Devon. When I was twelve we actually lived in Liverpool for a while, and I found out it wasn’t a nice place at all, populated by strange hybrid Celts with a particularly bad speech impediment that he didn’t seem to share.
Luckily we moved further north and I spent my formative teenage years in rural Lancashire where everybody was really friendly and intelligible. It was here I discovered the joys of going into Preston with my mates to watch our local team, Preston North End. The lack of parental supervision helped immensely as well. I was hooked, and whenever possible would be on the old Spion Kop or on some vintage coach going to an away match. The ’70s were just fantastic, particularly with Nobby Stiles as manager, and promotion to the old Division 2 and the next couple of seasons were a great foundation for the rest of my time as an exile.
I joined up and moved away in 1979, but took North End with me all around the country and the world. I’ve long since demobbed and have carried on working all over the place, but haven’t lived in Lancashire since. I’ve met fellow Northenders all over the world and I still get to as many games as I can, although mostly away matches. I’m currently living in Mansfield and trying to boost the local PNE supporters’ branch membership from its current total of one by taking my eldest grandson to a few games.
How is your team faring this season?
To still be in second place for the visit to Port Vale is a real bonus…
BUCKSHAWWHITE – We are in the mix for automatic promotion and it is now ours to lose. Will we? Time will tell. Personally, I’m optimistic. But it will be nervy over the next four games. I expected promotion out of this division and back to our rightful place at the beginning of the season. Any other outcome will be a disappointment.
PAPPLEWICK – We’re currently doing OK in terms of current form, although four draws in the last six games has made for an interesting run-in that I would have preferred to have avoided. We could have been home and dry! At the start of the season I’d hoped for automatic promotion, but expected the dreaded (for us) play-offs, so to still be in second place for the visit to Port Vale is a real bonus.
Where do you think you’ll finish?
BUCKSHAWWHITE – Second.
PAPPLEWICK – I think we’ll go up in second place – just!
Who should we watch out for?
BUCKSHAWWHITE – Daniel Johnston, Paul Gallagher and of course, your nemesis… Joe Garner!
PAPPLEWICK – Beckford has been in really good form over the last few games, although he picked up an injury Tuesday night. I’m not sure if he’ll be in the squad for Friday. Garner is the other obvious danger man, and seems to have expended most of his near miss and bad luck karma over recent weeks, so due to come back on form and to bag a hat trick.
What are your thoughts on your manager?
Simon Grayson is not perfect by any stretch… His negativity can be annoying at times…
BUCKSHAWWHITE – Simon Grayson is not perfect by any stretch. His negativity and partiality to sit back and defend a slender lead (particularly at home) can be annoying at times. However, he is head and shoulders above the procession of Ne’er Do Wells that have proceeded him recently. He is calm, popular with the players and has built a decent squad of players on a smallish budget. We are lucky to have him.
PAPPLEWICK – He clearly knows what he’s doing, as opposed to all of us armchair managers, and despite being a Yorkshireman with a tangerine past, I think he’s the best manager we’ve had for a very long time. I hope he does take us up and sticks with us for a good many seasons to come.
What are your thoughts on your board?
We are indebted to our owner Trevor Hemmings. Without him our club could be in a similar shambolic state to our esteemed neighbours Blackpool…
BUCKSHAWWHITE – We are indebted to our owner Trevor Hemmings. Without him our club could be in a similar shambolic state to our esteemed neighbours Blackpool. The club does seem to be run a lot better of late. Special mention to the work the club does in the community and to attract young fans. My son had the matchday mascot package this season, it was really good value and the whole experience was excellent. Credit must also go to Peter Ridsdale [OVF editor – that’s something you don’t regularly hear football fans saying!].
PAPPLEWICK – A proper Lancastrian owner – he was there on Tuesday night on the microphone in front of the home crowd waving his Grand National winner’s trophy around and making it clear who’s paying the players’ wages in a polar opposite to Delia. Bloody brilliant! I’ll take that no nonsense proper Northern approach to footy every time.
Any views on Port Vale?
BUCKSHAWWHITE – I really don’t know too much about your current team. What I have seen I viewed you as a mid-table team at worst.
PAPPLEWICK – I’m hoping to see Chris Neal have a great game, getting finger-tip close to a clutch of Garner shots that even De Gea couldn’t keep out, and keeping the score respectable!
Any views or memories of people that have been involved with both teams?
My favourite ex-Vale player was Gary Brazil, who was banging them in for fun in the 1987 promotion side…
BUCKSHAWWHITE – I recall that we bought a young defender off you who went by the name of Ryan Kidd. I think it can be safely said that he ended up being a magnificent servant for PNE.
PAPPLEWICK – In my early days at North End, the older crowd used to bemoan the lack of a hard as nails full back like John Ritchie from the 71 promotion side. My favourite ex-Vale player was Gary Brazil, who was banging them in for fun in the 1987 promotion side from the old fourth division. I came back from Hong Kong to see a game that season!
What are your thoughts on the earlier game between the two sides?
BUCKSHAWWHITE – Yes, my conclusion from the game at Deepdale is that you were a well organised, workmanlike team who were obviously quite physical. I am surprised to see you in the position you are in at the moment.
PAPPLEWICK – Sorry – I didn’t make it to that one, but hopefully it can remain eleven versus eleven for the whole match this time!
A score prediction?
Joe Garner will either score or go for an early bath…
BUCKSHAWWHITE – Port Vale 1 PNE 3 (Joe Garner will either score or go for an early bath!).
PAPPLEWICK – Vale 1 (Williamson) PNE 3 (Garner hat trick).