Preston North End were rocked on Monday night as owner and long-time shareholder Trevor Hemmings sadly passed away.
Preston confirmed the news late on Monday, with Hemmings passing at the age of 86.
No cause of death was stated and Hemmings’ family have asked for privacy at this difficult time.
To say this news came out of the blue would be an understatement. There had been no indication of health problems for Hemmings, so his passing comes as even more of a shock.
During the Second World War, Hemmings’ family relocated to Lancashire. Trevor was just five at the time, with no idea of how important the county would become for him in the future.
Hemmings has had such a long association with North End. He first got involved with Preston in the 1970’s, before purchasing the club in 2010.
You can’t really overstate Hemmings’ importance in light of that takeover. North End were handed a winding-up order from HM Revenue & Customs and looked in real danger financially.
The next few years were understandably difficult. North End were relegated, and it took longer than planned to get back in to the Championship.
Hemmings had to rebuild the club’s finances and attempt to keep Preston afloat without any more trouble.
Without Hemmings, it’s hard to know where Preston would be right now.
You can question some decisions Hemmings made, and fans have had varying opinions on his spending in recent times.
They’re all discussions for another day. Today we celebrate the life of Hemmings, who had Preston at heart for most of his life.
Born in London and based in the Isle of Man, Hemmings made himself a Preston man. He will forever be intrinsically tied to the city of Preston and to North End.
Maybe there were times the Preston fanbase and even us as a website didn’t quite appreciate everything Hemmings did for the club.
Peter Ridsdale did suggest last year that maybe Hemmings will only really be appreciated when he is no longer North End’s owner.
Now we’re here. Hemmings isn’t just no longer Preston owner, but he isn’t with us at all. Tributes are flowing in for Hemmings, even if they came a little late.
There have been so many terrible owners in the Football League over the years. Not putting much money in whilst taking money out. You only have to look at past owners of our neighbours at the other end of the M55.
Hemmings never did that. He was passionate about North End and made sure the club had a future – one beyond his own.
You can be sure that this Saturday’s game against Derby County will be a celebration of Hemmings, with supporters in the stands no doubt paying tribute to him.
There will be many wearing flat caps in tribute to Hemmings, and it would be nice to see North End wear the green and yellow away kit to honour Hemmings.
Those colours have become part of the club, brought over by Hemmings from his horse racing ventures.
From all involved at Deepdale Digest and no doubt all in the Preston fanbase, we can only say thank you to Trevor Hemmings.
May you rest in peace and watch over North End alongside Sir Tom and many more.