What is Gentry Day and why do Preston fans wear bowler hats?

Preston take on Nottingham Forest in the Championship this afternoon, playing their final game of the season.

It’s been a strange campaign; North End managed just one signing in the summer window, and then let eight go as eight came in during the January window.

Alex Neil has gone, a new permanent manager hasn’t been brought in yet, fans haven’t been inside Deepdale all season and North End have hired a head of recruitment. Truly wild times.

Photo by Craig Mercer – CameraSport via Getty Images

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Fans have also missed out on the traditional Gentry Day due to the global pandemic, but North End will be honouring the day regardless.

Today’s game against Forest sees Preston host a ‘virtual Gentry Day’, allowing fans to get involved from home.

Some non-Preston fans or even young North End supporters may not understand what Gentry Day is, we’ve got you covered.

What is Gentry Day?

Gentry Day is used by Preston fans to pay respects to North End supporters who have passed away, mostly in the last year but also in years gone by. Usually, one away day a season is picked for this occasion – we’ve had them at QPR, Charlton and Fulham in recent memory, as well as Bolton just down the road.

Photo by Craig Mercer – CameraSport via Getty Images

How did Gentry Day start?

Back in the 1970’s, then-Preston boss Alan Ball Snr branded North End fans ‘the best, they’re the gentry’. In 2005, North End fans began the annual tradition by paying tribute to John Tracey, who was an original ‘Gentry’ member. 16 years on, the event is still going on for Preston.

Why do fans wear bowler hats?

The term ‘gentry’ is associated with the upper class, so North End fans don bowler hats and suits, whilst a number of Preston players have also donned the bowler hats in celebration.

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