As a Preston player, Tom Barkhuizen find himself in something of a strange position.
Barkhuizen, 26, was born and bred in Blackpool. His family support the club and he started his career at Bloomfield Road, before leaving in 2015. After signing for Morecambe, Barkhuizen hinted that he was a Blackpool fan, but maybe not so much after they bizarrely released him.
Fast forward to January 2017, and Barkhuizen was a Preston player. Many players have played for both Preston and Blackpool, but Barkhuizen’s move meant a little more, due to those long-standing ties to the Tangerines.
North End fans quickly forgot about all that, and he’s now racked up more than 100 appearances for the club. On Tuesday, Barkhuizen signed a new contract to extend his stay at Deepdale, which we broke on Monday.
Since his arrival, North End fans have been urging Barkhuizen effectively betray Blackpool by kissing the Preston badge, almost seen as the final step in completing his switch from Tangerine to Lilywhite.
Those calls will no doubt grow louder and louder after his new contract. Previously just seen as a joke amongst fans, the club have now mentioned it in an official capacity. Finally, Barkhuizen has addressed this long-running, tongue-in-cheek saga.
Barkhuizen was interviewed on iFollow after signing his new deal, and admitted he’s expecting a host of messages urging him to kiss the badge. However, the winger believes that he wouldn’t be allowed home to his mum’s house if he did, but didn’t completely rule it out.
“Probably a lot,” said Barkhuizen. “I think every single time I’ve put something out for the last few months, I’ve always had ‘sign the contract, do this, do that, kiss the badge’, and you know, it’s good fun, the fans will have good fun with it.”
“Whether it’ll ever happen, I’m not sure. I’m not sure I’d ever be allowed to go back home to my mum’s if I did that!” he added.