Preston fans will have fond memories of Aiden McGeady’s loan spell at Deepdale – but everything since then has been a little sour.
North End swooped to sign McGeady on deadline day in August 2016, taking him on loan from Everton when few clubs wanted him. Clearly talented but having lost his way, McGeady was a gamble for Simon Grayson.
The gamble paid off though. McGeady enjoyed a stunning season at Deepdale, racking up eight goals and assists. His long-range goals, his nonchalant skill, his supreme dribbling ability… the Irishman became one of the most talented players to pull on the North End shirt in recent memory.
With no future at Everton, Preston fans wanted McGeady permanently, but he ended up joining Sunderland instead. The reason? Well, Grayson had left Preston for Sunderland, and decided to take McGeady with him.
There was nothing wrong with that in itself, but McGeady stoked the fire with Preston fans. Before his first return to Deepdale, he suggested that he would much rather have Sunderland’s squad than Preston’s; just to note, Sunderland went down that season and Preston finished just two points outside the playoffs.
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Preston fans booed McGeady in the warm-up for those comments, and continued to heckle him throughout. Of course, the winger went and scored a crucial equaliser for the Black Cats, and he went full Emmanuel Adebayor by running the length of the pitch to celebrate in front of Preston fans.
That effectively broke the relationship with some Preston fans, who have taken great joy from McGeady suffering relegation and then missing out on promotion. Maybe a tad childish, but these rivalries are key in football.
Now, McGeady’s career could take another turn that may interest Preston fans. The Northern Echo note that Blackpool – of course now managed by Grayson – are keen to sign McGeady in January.
McGeady has been told he’s free to leave Sunderland in January, and the 33-year-old could return to Lancashire with Preston’s biggest rivals. A reunion with Grayson makes sense having worked together at two clubs already, but joining the Seasiders won’t exactly do much to repair any of those wounds with Preston supporters.