Football / Fan's Eye View: Saviour Beck hits right note: No. 55 Preston North End

TO THE majority of football fans our messiah, John Beck, is the Antichrist. In combination with the League's last plastic pitch, PNE are becoming the team to hate. We are the Third Division equivalent of Arsenal. Chants of 'boring boring Preston' follow us everywhere. One of those problems, the pitch, will be gone by the start of the next season, but hopefully Beck will have knocked back the England job to stay at Deepdale.

Not every club has their own Jack Walker and so saviours have to be welcomed, whatever their pedigree. From afar I was never a fan of Cambridge but at PNE Beck's philosophy makes sense. Desperate situations call for desperate measures.

On arriving, his first measure was to strip the club to its bare bones and start again. Only two first-team regulars remain from the pre-Beck era. This radical change probably cost relegation. Too many comings and goings meant there was little consistency - only Tony Ellis finding the back of the net.

There was little to celebrate at the end-of-season party at Bolton, but many fans felt there was something to be optimistic about. A fresh start needs a fresh season and most fans have quickly taken the cocky southerner to the cockles of their hearts. One year on from Beck and his assistant, Gary Peters, arriving at Deepdale the future is a lot brighter.

Many fans realise that Beck did not want to stay in the Second Division and accepted that maybe he was right. As the old cliche goes you have to take one step back to take two forward. It certainly seems to be working. A successful season in the Third Division will be of much more benefit to everyone than a mediocre season in the much tougher Second Division.

Only the antithesis of Beck, Dario Gradi, seems to be capable of stopping us from marching away with the championship. The top two are an interesting combination. Gradi's success is as well documented as Beck's tactics. But over the last few years Crewe have been too good for the Third but seriously lacking in the Second. It seems that Crewe are the media favourites and so PNE fans have adopted an 'Elton Welsby doesn't like us, we don't care' attitude towards the media's preference for Crewe's passing game.

Beck's tactics are certainly direct but as Di Stefano, who the great man likes to quote, once said: 'Football without goals is like an afternoon without sun.' Is attacking football to be criticised?

Beck and his side entertain - it may not mean stringing 10 or 15 passes together - but it is entertaining. PNE play with two wingers - Ainsworth and Raynor - and two strikers - Conroy and Ellis. You only have to look at the goals scored column to see the results. PNE are only second to Reading for the number of goals scored and have yet to play at their best.

Beck has done well during his first full season but it is not only on the pitch where change is happening for the better at Deepdale. Beck has brought Gorby levels of perestroika to a club that preferred to act like the KGB towards their fans. The only contact fans had previously was handing over their cash at the turnstiles. Frank exchanges between Beck, directors, players and fans are now a regular event.

The directors are even trying to buy back Deepdale which was slowly sold off to the local council in the early Eighties. It is perhaps a sign of past complacency that the club only actually own the boardroom at Deepdale. The council, though, seem unwilling to sell. The situation needs plenty of work before everything is rosy.

Many PNE fans have been brought up on a tradition of passing football, of living with the past. For far too long a sense of glory from the Tom Finney days was enough. A revolution was needed and Beck has brought this. The majority of fans are happy with Beck at the helm, at least while he's picking a winning side.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living