The Early Years

Although Preston North End as a football club formed in 1880, North End can be traced back to as far as 1863 but at the time it was involved with cricket.

The club played cricket on Ashton Marsh until 1867 when there was a split among club members when the majority were in favour of a move to Moor Park. This resulted in a new name for the club 'North End', simply because the club was based in the north end of Preston.

In August 1867 William Suddell became a member - a person who was later to become an influential figure in both the whole game of football and Preston North End Football Club. Sudell was one of a few new members recruited to ease the financial crisis at the time.

In 1875 the members of North End made a landmark step and took a lease on a field at Deepdale - North End still play there to this day.

In 1877 members decided that playing cricket as well as other games weren't financially 'rewarding' and the decision was made to turn to rugby. Again, this also failed since there was an already established rugby team - the Preston Grasshoppers. The following year North End played its first game against Eagley and lost 1-0.

Other clubs in Lancashire were already playing football, North End noticed this and adopted the rules of association football in May 1880. This was the formation of Preston North End.

In 1884 after an FA Cup match against Upton Park a protest was made to the FA about Preston paying their players. William Sudell, the chairman, fully admitted this and Preston where expelled from the FA Cup competition. This didn't got down to well with Sudell and he began his move to have professionalism leagalised. Four years later Sudell was an influential figure in the formation of the Football League with Preston North End being one of the founder members along with: Accrington, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton, Burnley, Derby, Everton, Notts County, Stoke City, West Brom and Wolves.

In the first season 1888/89 North End made history by becoming the first winners of the Football League and also the first team to complete the 'double'. North End won the FA Cup by beating Wolves 3-0 in the final. The following season North End retained the championship and unfortunately this was the last time North End achieved this feat.

From all the founder members of the Football League, Preston North End is the only club to have played continuously on the same ground. In fact North End can be traced back as far as 1875 on being at Deepdale.

William Sudell's reign at North End ended in 1893 when a limited company was formed.