Sam Johnstone twice joined Preston, and has now shown that his home town is still very close to his heart.
The West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper was born in Preston, but he started his career at Manchester United rather than with North End, even though his father Glenn played for the Lilywhites.
Long tipped for a bright future, Johnstone failed to make a single appearance for United, instead heading on loan to Oldham Athletic, Scunthorpe United, Walsall, Yeovil Town and Doncaster Rovers before finally coming home.
Preston swooped to land Johnstone on loan from United in 2015, and he played a key role in winning promotion from League One before eventually returning for a brief loan spell in January 2016.
Now with West Brom, the 27-year-old is one of the top goalkeepers in the Championship, and looks set to be playing in the Premier League next season if the Baggies are awarded promotion to the top flight.
It’s over four years since Johnstone last turned out for North End, but Johnstone has shown how much his hometown means to him with an outstanding gesture in light of the global pandemic.
Johnstone is paying for meals and drinks to be supplied and given to NHS staff, teaming up with friends – one of whom is a chef, one of whom owns a gym – with Preston the focus for Johnstone’s gesture.
“Preston is my hometown and I’m very proud of where I’m from,” said Johnstone to i. “I wanted to help local nurses, care home workers, midwives, emergency services and key workers in the area so they didn’t have to worry about going to the shops after working long shifts. One of my friends owns Smart Fitness and another owns Real Food Co both local businesses and wanted to help out. A friend of mine introduced me to WOW HYDRATE who have done some fantastic work with Tyson Fury, providing NHS workers nationwide with healthy drinks so it kind of all fitted in well from there.
“Andy delivering the food safely and Graham cooking it works really well and a huge thanks to them for taking the time to help service the community. It’s just a small gesture from us all and I’m more than happy to help the community out in these difficult times.”