Top 5 Famous Preston North End Fans

Much has been made over the years of celebrity football fans. These famous faces act as unofficial (and at times official) ambassadors for clubs, increasing teams’ domestic and sometimes international pull. Whether it be Manchester City’s Gallagher brothers or Norwich City’s Stephen Fry, clubs can be keen to associate themselves with more “vogue” stars, to increase their own appeal. This article will look at North End’s top five most famous fans (in no particular order – just in case an angry famous Nobber feels hard done by).

Steve Borthwick

Famous for?

Former England rugby union captain; current England forwards coach.

Profile

Cumbrian-born Borthwick was England captain between 2008-2010 and won 57 caps for his country. Narrowly missing out on the final 2003 World Cup Squad (he was in the preliminary squad), Borthwick bounced back from this disappointment to have a nine-year, distinguished international career.

His association with Preston started when he attended Hutton Grammar School and played for local union side, Preston Grasshoppers.

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Stu Bennet (AKA Wade Barrett)

Famous for?

WWE Wrestler.

Profile

This ardent Nobber is one of Preston’s most vocal fans. Typing his name and “Preston” into YouTube will ultimately yield some humorous short clips, as he takes the good word of North End to American shores.

A Penwortham-born lad, who despite moving all over the UK and ultimately abroad, he has stayed loyal to the cause.

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Mark Lawrenson

Famous for?

Former professional football player; Match of the Day (and other BBC football shows) pundit

Profile

Born in the local area, Lawrenson was a player who got to live his boyhood dream and don the famous Lilywhite shirt, playing 73 times for North End. Initially playing under the management of Bobby Charlton, Lawrenson departed North End, eventually making a name for himself at a wee club down the road, Liverpool FC. Lawrenson also qualified to play for the Republic of Ireland and represented them on 39 occasions.

More well-known to younger audiences as the (now ‘tachless) bloke on Match of the Day and Football Focus, Lawrenson is usually good for a tangential reference and comment on North End. Despite having a long and high-profile media career, he has remained ever-present around the club, at official events.

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Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff

Famous for?

Former England Cricket captain; media career (including “League of Their Own” and “Top Gear”)

Profile

Freddie Flintoff (nicknamed after the Flintstone’s main character) is truly a bloke born and raised in Preston. A lifelong Lancashire County Cricket Club player, Fred represented his country for 11 years across three formats, in a period of transition which saw cricket adopt more professional standards. Fred sometimes fell short of these standards, initially with weight issues as a young player and latterly having the vice-captaincy removed from him, after a drunken pedalo incident in the Caribbean. Proof you can take the man out of Preston, but not Preston out of the man.

This should not detract from the outstanding talent he was and illustrious career he had. The 2005 Ashes winner was also awarded the ICC Player of the Year in the same year, sharing the award with one the greatest ever players in the sport, Jacques Kallis.

Subsequent to his professional sports career, Flintoff’s Northern charm has earned him and equally successful career after his retirement in cricket. Flintoff has done his best to help North End out on the transfer front. In 2019’s January transfer window, Flintoff was seen trying to tempt former England goalkeeper Joe Hart to Deepdale on Twitter. One issue: Flintoff is also reported to be a Man Citteh fan. Come on Fred, sort it out!

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Kevin Kilbane

Famous for?

Former professional football player; Match of the Day (and other BBC football shows) pundit

Profile

Almost a “copy and paste” of Mark Lawrenson’s profile. A Preston local, who played for his boyhood club in the early part of his career and earned Preston a red-letter day when he moved on. Kilbane, also like Lawrenson, qualified to play for the Republic of Ireland, making an outstanding 110 appearances for the men across the Irish Sea.

Again, like Lawrenson, Kilbane has cemented himself as an ever-present fixture on BBC football punditry panels. Mentioning North End less than Lawrenson and being less prominent around the club than the man he eerily shares many similarities with, his loyalty remains unquestionable.

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Notable Mentions

Ian McCulloch

Famous for?

Former snooker player.

Misses out because?

Not well-known enough outside of the snookering world. Although did make a final at the Grand Prix in Preston’s Guildhall, losing to “Rocket” Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Scott Fitzgerald

Famous for?

Boxing.

Misses out because?

Well-known around Preston, Fitzgerald is still making his name in the boxing world. Had this been written a year later, no doubt the “Mad Man” will have featured in the “top five”, given his undoubted potential. Sorry Scott – honest!

Ryan Brierley

Famous for?

Rugby League player.

Misses out because?

The Hull KR Super League player is a huge North End fan but is ultimately not too well-known outside of the sport. Hopefully 2020 will be an outstanding season for the Nobber.