We catch up with Pre­ston’s Divi­sion Three cham­pi­ons from 1970-71

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE: - By Neil Fissler

ALAN BALL Snr proved that per­sis­tence fi­nally pays off when he made Bobby Ham the fi­nal piece of his pro­mo­tion-win­ning jig­saw at Deep­dale.

Pro­mo­tion for Ball wasn’t an op­tion, it was a re­quire­ment, and to make mat­ters worse Brian Clough’s Derby County had just signed mid­fielder Archie Gem­mill.

Ball needed a big sign­ing and re­mem­bered he had tried be­fore to sign Ham with­out any luck. Af­ter be­ing turned down a se­cond time, he re­fused to give in and even­tu­ally got his man.

He was con­vinced that Pre­ston were go­ing to win the Third Divi­sion ti­tle and his pre-sea­son pep talk con­sisted of ‘You are go­ing to win the Third Divi­sion cham­pi­onship this sea­son lads, give me 100 per cent’.

Ball was proved to be right as Pre­ston won the ti­tle, fin­ish­ing one point ahead of run­ners-up Ful­ham.

Ham re­called:“Alan first tried to take me to Hal­i­fax when he was in charge there. I was at Brad­ford at the time and, be­ing a Brad­ford lad, I was happy there.

“Then when he came to Pre­ston he tried to sign me again, but I turned him down orig­i­nally. They had just sold Archie Gem­mill to Derby and they wanted some­one to re­place him.

“I turned him down but he pestered me for about three weeks so I agreed to go over and sign! I think they were 18th in the league at the time.

“I signed on the Tues­day and I made my de­but at Ply­mouth the fol­low­ing Satur­day and scored – as I did on my home de­but against Brighton.

“From then we went through un­til Fe­bru­ary against Gilling­ham when we were win­ning 1-0 and lost 2-1.That was the first time I had been on a los­ing side in a league game for Pre­ston.

“That run put us into con­tention and then we clinched pro­mo­tion in the last cou­ple of games of the sea­son.”

Ham went on to net ten vi­tal goals to help Pre­ston pip Ful­ham. They clinched the two pro­mo­tion spots at the ex­pense of Ball’s for­mer em­ploy­ers, Hal­i­fax Town, and As­ton Villa.

Ham, iron­i­cally now a di­rec­tor at FC Hal­i­fax Town, ad­mits that all he ever dreamt about was scor­ing goals.

“My forte was scor­ing goals, play­ing off a big for­ward, be­ing in there where it mat­ters and stick­ing the ball in the­back of the net,” he said.

“Bally came in for me and it worked. Some­times it works and some­times it doesn’t.

“All I ever dreamt about was scor­ing goals and it is all I ever wanted to do – hit the back of the net. I scored on all my de­buts.

“I scored goals wher­ever I went be­cause that was my game. But we had a class side for the old Third Divi­sion at the time.

“From Alan Kelly in goal, Jim McNab who was at Sun­der­land, Alan Spavin, Gra­ham Hawkins, Clive Clark, Gerry In­gram, we had an ab­so­lute wealth of tal­ent.”

1. Arthur Cox: He went on to man­age Ch­ester­field, New­cas­tle United and Derby County. Later coached at Manch­ester City and New­cas­tle be­fore re­tir­ing. 2. Ge­orge Ross: A full-back, he worked as a plan­ning as­sis­tant at Bri­tish Aero­space un­til he re­tired. Is now club am­bas­sador at Deep­dale. 3. David Hughes: The winger be­came head of foot­ball at Stony­hurst Col­lege in the Rib­ble Val­ley. Then re­turned to Scot­land where he be­came a be­hav­iour sup­port of­fi­cer in East Loth­ian. 4. Gerry In­gram: A striker who stayed on in Amer­ica af­ter fin­ish­ing his ca­reer there to work in the con­struc­tion in­dus­try and stage foot­ball camps. Is now re­tired, liv­ing in his na­tive Hum­ber­side. 5. Gerry Ste­wart: A goal­keeper who be­came the prin­ci­pal lec­turer in eco­nom­ics and anal­y­sis at Leeds Metropoli­tan Univer­sity. 6. Alan Kelly: The Re­pub­lic of Ire­land goal­keeper man­aged Pre­ston, then coached at Ever­ton and in the United States. Lived in Mary­land at the time of his death from can­cer in May 2009. 7. Jim McNab: A cen­tral de­fender who ran a pub and was then em­ployed in the in­sur­ance in­dus­try be­fore his death in Sun­der­land in June 2006, aged 66. 8. John Bird: A de­fender who man­aged Hartle­pool United, York City and Hal­i­fax Town. Is now a com­mer­cial artist with his own gallery and stu­dio in pic­turesque Bawtry near Don­caster. 9. Gra­ham Hawkins: A de­fender who went on to man­age Wolves, he also dab­bled in the pub and pot­tery in­dus­tries. Then worked for the Foot­ball League un­til re­tire­ment. 10. Harry Hub­bick: The first team trainer worked with Alan Ball Snr at Hal­i­fax be­fore join­ing Pre­ston. He died in March 1992, aged 81. 11. Ge­orge Lyall: The mid­fielder is now based in Allestree, Der­byshire, af­ter go­ing into a suc­cess­ful part­ner­ship in the chem­i­cal in­dus­try. He also ran a mo­tor­cy­cle re­pair busi­ness. 12. David Wil­son: The winger set­tled lo­cally, work­ing in the fam­ily butcher’s and in a sausage man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­ness. 13. Clive Clark: A winger who ran hol­i­day ac­com­mo­da­tion in Fi­ley, North York­shire, with his wife, he died in May 2014, aged 73. 14. Alan Spavin: The in­side for- ward set­tled in the States where he opened an in­door soc­cer school with Alan Kelly Snr. Also owned a travel agents. Lived at Or­mond Beach, Florida, and sadly passed away last Wed­nes­day, aged 74. 15. Alan Ball Snr: The father of World Cup win­ner Alan, he went on to man­age South­port and Hal­i­fax again. He died in a mo­tor ac­ci­dent in Cyprus in 1982. 16. Bobby Ham: A striker who went on to be­come a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man when he formed the Ham Group. Has been a di­rec­tor of Brad­ford City and FC Hal­i­fax Town. 17. Bert Pa­trick: A de­fender who re­turned to Scot­land and joined the fire ser­vice. He died at his Kil­syth home in March 2015, aged 68. 18. Ricky Hep­po­lette: An In­di­an­born winger who set­tled in Peter­bor­ough where he runs his own busi­ness, The Party Shop Su­per­store. 19. Alex Spark: The de­fender lived in Leeds where he sadly died of Buerger’s dis­ease in Au­gust 1993, aged 43, af­ter hav­ing both legs am­pu­tated. NOT PIC­TURED John McMa­hon: The full-back is liv­ing in Ash­ton-un­der-Lyne, Greater Manch­ester. Worked in car sales be­fore go­ing to work at Manch­ester air­port. Nor­rie Lloyd: A mid­fielder, he be­came a pub­li­can, run­ning a cou­ple of pubs in Pre­ston and an­other in Ley­land. He then moved his busi­ness to Spain and is now re­tired.




















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