Preston haven’t been regular users of the foreign market, but they did make one interesting move in 2016.
North End chose to dip into the European market by signing Simon Makienok, taking him on loan from Italian side Palermo. The Dane had been on loan at Charlton Athletic, but scored just five goals for the Addicks.
Fans didn’t know too much about him; he had been dubbed ‘The Danish Peter Crouch’ at one point, offering a great aerial threat at 6ft 7in tall, but he had struggled at Palermo and Charlton. Add in that North End’s ventures into the European market had mixed results, and few knew how to really react to Makienok’s arrival.
Makienok’s record at Preston wasn’t exactly glittering. He hit six goals in 29 games, and yet he became something of a cult hero. He announced himself in style with a hat-trick at Bournemouth, but went on to score key goals at Brighton and Hove Albion, Bristol City and Nottingham Forest too.
Makienok never scored at Deepdale in a rather bizarre quirk, but fans took to the giant Dane. He was a pain to defend against, and whilst he may not have been a constant goal threat, a number of fans loved him for the big goals he did score.
Some may suggest that Makienok didn’t always work hard and didn’t show enough passion in moments such as the late equaliser at Blackburn Rovers in 2017, but he’s certainly remembered better than some imports like Keammar Daley or Juvhel Tsoumou.
So what has Makienok been up to since he left Preston? Well, after his Preston loan ended, he earned a three-year deal at Utrecht – only to suffer a slew of knee injuries, limiting him to just seven appearances for the Dutch side.
In January, Makienok moved on. After tearing up his contract at Utrecht, Makienok headed to Germany, joining Dynamo Dresden. It’s been a mixed bag there; he was sent off just six minutes into his Dresden debut for a late challenge on the Darmstadt goalkeeper, but scored against Jahn Regensburg upon his return.
After years on the sidelines with injury, Makienok is now hoping to settle in Germany, and he’ll no doubt receive messages of support from Preston fans throughout his time with Dresden.
Almost three years on since leaving, many Preston fans – myself included – still have great memories of Makienok. You only have to look at the messages he received when he announced his departure to see that he had a decent fanbase at Deepdale. Hopefully, North End can find other popular players on the continent in the future – and maybe ones who can have longer-lasting success with North End.