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Deepdale
Preston North End v Blackpool
  Capital One Cup 1st Round
Monday, August 5th, 2013, 7.45pm
Michelle-Louise Burrows
(Preston fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

There may be Rangers v Celtic, Liverpool v Everton or Man City v Man Utd but, in this corner of Lancashire, this is THE derby. Which fan wouldn't have been up for it?  That said, I saw things at that match that I never want to see again.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

Took the car and decided to park in Preston Bus Station before taking a taxi to Deepdale. Because of the modern nature of the derby, I removed my Blackpool stickers from the car as I did not want it vandalised.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

Went straight to the ground but, even on arriving in Preston, I felt very apprehensive. So I took the unusual step of hiding my colours. Although I have friends who are North End fans, this is NOT a friendly derby.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

Having been to Deepdale before, I've always found it an impressive ground, just right for a club the size of Preston. I particularly like the way, like us, they honour their heroes e.g. Sir Tom Finney, Alan Kelly, Bill Shankly etc. We were given the Bill Shankly Kop due to the huge travelling support from the Fylde.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

Less said about the match the better. Blackpool had innumerable chances to win the game but, as usual, fell to a sucker punch three minutes before the end. I had no complaints about the result but the stewarding was appalling. I am not an animal and I will not be treated as such. The rudeness from the PNE stewards was a disgrace but not as much as some of the "fans".  As the final whistle went, over 300 of their number decided to invade the pitch, not so much in celebration - you'd have thought by their reaction they'd have won the Champions League, the World Cup, the Lottery, the Grand National and the Eurovision Song Contest rolled into one! - but to goad the Blackpool fans, amongst whom were women and children. I though our supporters showed marvelous restraint in the face of such unwarranted provocation, even though the Police and stewards did absolutely nothing to stop this behaviour.  I did feel sorry for the decent North End fans who should have been savouring a deserved victory over the old enemy having it spoilt by idiots.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

I was terrified after the match and, thanks to one decent Policeman, I got a lift back to Preston Bus Station. Even then, there was violence of the worst order with missiles being thrown, our supporters being attacked and the Police failing miserably to keep a lid on it.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Never in the thirty seven years of me following Blackpool Football Club have I been so terrified for my own personal safety as I was that night. The stewarding and policing was totally abject. Even when I was driving home, some goons threw a brick at my car, narrowly missing it, and surrounded the car which was only averted when I put my foot down. A coach load of our supporters was ambushed by Preston "fans" and vandalised. It was a huge stain, not only on Preston North End FC who should have been celebrating a victory over us for the first time in God knows when, but the County of Lancashire. Has football really gone back to the bad days of the 80s? Has the rivalry between Preston North End and Blackpool, once friendly, turned so bitter and vile that innocent fans can be attacked just because of whom they support?  I dread to think what would happen when we play each other again. Especially if it's at the Blackpool end of the M55.


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