The origins of Preston North End can be traced to the early 1860's, when it utilized land also used by various other sports clubs on the Ribble estuary, known as the Marsh. Preston remained there until 1867, when it moved to a new field on Moor Park. In 1875, Preston acquired a lease of the ground at Deepdale, where it settled and which remains the club's home today.

From its beginnings as a cricket and rugby club, Preston finally adopted association football in the late 1870s, playing its first game against Eagley in the 1878-79 season.

The club's stature grew significantly in the 1880s; by 1887 it was recognized as being the best football team in England, despite only having the Lancashire Cup to show for the acclaim. In 1888 it became one of the twelve founder members of the English Football League. In that season Preston won the inaugural League Championship (without losing a game) and also the FA Cup (without conceding a goal), defeating Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-0 in the final, thereby becoming the first club to win the "Double". The club won the League Championship the following year, and such was the club's dominance in English football at this time that it was dubbed "the Invincibles".

On 31st August 1893, Preston North End Football Club was incorporated to acquire the club's business. During the early decades of the twentieth century the club enjoyed little success but the late 1930s, the 1940s and the 1950s saw the golden era in Preston's history. During this period, the club fielded some of Britain's best known players of the time - Bill Shankly, Tom Finney (the club's current President) and Tommy Docherty - attracting attendances of over 30,000 for games at Deepdale.

The club enjoyed Old First Division status for the last time in 1961 and there then followed a period of decline with the club dropping into the Old Second Division. The club's lack of success on the field continued through to the 1990s.

In its history the club has provided over 30 players to the four national teams of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In recent years, it has also produced Republic of Ireland internationals such as Mark Lawrenson and Alan Kelly.

Recent success started with the appointment of John Beck as manager. Attendances have risen to an average of nearly 9,000 per game at home. The development of Deepdale has been underway since mid-1995 resulting with the opening of the 8000 all-seater Tom Finney stand in March 1996. The remaining stands are all due for replacement over the coming seasons, to provide the Club with one of the most modern grounds in England.

Historical league table:

Place Year and League                                    GP  W  D  L  GF  GA PTS
  1st 1888-89 Football League                            22 18  4  0  74  15  40
  1st 1889-90 Football League                            22 15  3  4  71  30  33
  2nd 1890-91 Football League                            22 12  3  7  44  23  27
  2nd 1891-92 Football League                            26 18  1  7  61  31  37
  2nd 1892-93 Old First Division                         30 17  3 10  57  39  37
 14th 1893-94 Old First Division                         30 10  3 17  44  56  23
***Retained status after Test Match (Preston North End 4, Notts County 0)***
  4th 1894-95 Old First Division                         30 15  5 10  62  46  35
  9th 1895-96 Old First Division                         30 11  6 13  44  48  28
  4th 1896-97 Old First Division                         30 11 12  7  55  40  34
 12th 1897-98 Old First Division                         30  8  8 14  35  43  43
 15th 1898-99 Old First Division                         34 10  9 15  44  47  29
 16th 1899-00 Old First Division                         34 12  4 18  38  48  28
 17th 1900-01 Old First Division                         34  9  7 18  49  75  25
***Relegated to Old Second Division***
  3rd 1901-02 Old Second Division                        34 18  6 10  71  32  42
  7th 1902-03 Old Second Division                        34 13 10 11  56  40  36
  1st 1903-04 Old Second Division                        34 20 10  4  62  24  50
***Promoted to Old First Division***
  8th 1904-05 Old First Division                         34 13 10 11  42  37  36
  2nd 1905-06 Old First Division                         38 17 13  8  54  39  47
 14th 1906-07 Old First Division                         38 14  7 17  44  57  35
 12th 1907-08 Old First Division                         38 12 12 14  47  53  36
 10th 1908-09 Old First Division                         38 13 11 14  48  44  37
 12th 1909-10 Old First Division                         38 15  5 18  52  58  35
 14th 1910-11 Old First Division                         38 12 11 15  40  49  35
 19th 1911-12 Old First Division                         38 13  7 18  40  57  33
***Relegated to Old Second Division***
  1st 1912-13 Old Second Division                        38 19 15  4  56  33  53
***Promoted to Old First Division*** 
 19th 1913-14 Old First Division                         38 12  6 20  52  69  30
***Relegated to Old Second Division***
  2nd 1914-15 Old Second Division                        38 20 10  8  61  42  50
***League cancelled due to WWI***
 19th 1919-20 Old First Division                         42 14 10 18  57  73  38
 16th 1920-21 Old First Division                         42 15  9 18  61  65  39
 16th 1921-22 Old First Division                         42 13 12 17  42  65  38
 16th 1922-23 Old First Division                         42 13 11 18  60  64  37
 18th 1923-24 Old First Division                         42 12 10 20  52  67  34
 21st 1924-25 Old First Division                         42 10  6 26  37  74  26
***Relegated to Old Second Division***
 12th 1925-26 Old Second Division                        42 18  7 17  71  84  43
  6th 1926-27 Old Second Division                        42 20  9 13  74  72  49
  4th 1927-28 Old Second Division                        42 22  9 11 100  66  53
 13th 1928-29 Old Second Division                        42 15  9 18  78  79  39
 16th 1929-30 Old Second Division                        42 13 11 18  65  80  37
  7th 1930-31 Old Second Division                        42 17 11 14  83  64  45
 13th 1931-32 Old Second Division                        42 16 10 16  75  77  42
  9th 1932-33 Old Second Division                        42 16 10 16  74  70  42
  2nd 1933-34 Old Second Division                        42 23  6 13  71  52  52
***Promoted to Old First Division***
 11th 1934-35 Old First Division                         42 15 12 15  62  67  42
  7th 1935-36 Old First Division                         42 18  8 16  67  64  44
 14th 1936-37 Old First Division                         42 14 13 15  56  67  41
  3rd 1937-38 Old First Division                         42 16 17  9  64  44  49
  9th 1938-39 Old First Division                         42 16 12 14  63  59  44
***League abandoned due to WWII***
  7th 1946-47 Old First Division                         42 18 11 13  76  74  47
  7th 1947-48 Old First Division                         42 20  7 15  67  68  47
 21st 1948-49 Old First Division                         42 11 11 20  62  75  33
***Relegated to Old Second Division***
  6th 1949-50 Old Second Division                        42 18  9 15  60  49  45
  1st 1950-51 Old Second Division                        42 26  5 11  91  49  57
***Promoted to Old First Division***
  7th 1951-52 Old First Division                         42 17 12 13  74  54  46
  2nd 1952-53 Old First Division                         42 21 12  9  85  60  54
***Lost title on goal average***
 11th 1953-54 Old First Division                         42 19  5 18  87  58  43
 14th 1954-55 Old First Division                         42 16  8 18  83  64  40
 19th 1955-56 Old First Division                         42 14  8 20  73  72  36
  3rd 1956-57 Old First Division                         42 23 10  9  84  56  56
  2nd 1957-58 Old First Division                         42 26  7  9 100  51  59
 12th 1958-59 Old First Division                         42 17  7 18  70  77  41
  9th 1959-60 Old First Division                         42 16 12 14  79  76  44
 22nd 1960-61 Old First Division                         42 10 10 22  43  71  30
***Relegated to Old Second Division***
 10th 1961-62 Old Second Division                        42 15 10 17  55  57  40
 17th 1962-63 Old Second Division                        42 13 11 18  59  74  37
  3rd 1963-64 Old Second Division                        42 23 10  9  79  54  56
 12th 1964-65 Old Second Division                        42 14 13 15  76  81  41
 17th 1965-66 Old Second Division                        42 11 15 16  62  70  37
 13th 1966-67 Old Second Division                        42 16  7 19  65  67  39
 20th 1967-68 Old Second Division                        42 12 11 19  43  65  35
 14th 1968-69 Old Second Division                        42 12 15 15  38  44  39
 22nd 1969-70 Old Second Division                        42  8 12 22  43  63  28
***Relegated to Old Third Division***
  1st 1970-71 Old Third Division                         46 22 17  7  63  39  61
***Promoted to Old Second Division
 18th 1971-72 Old Second Division                        42 12 12 18  52  58  36
 19th 1972-73 Old Second Division                        42 11 12 19  37  64  34
 21st 1973-74 Old Second Division                        42  9 14 19  40  62  31
***Relegated to Old Third Division, one point deducted for fielding an ineligible 
player***
  9th 1974-75 Old Third Division                         46 19 11 16  63  56  49
  8th 1975-76 Old Third Division                         46 19 10 17  62  57  48
  6th 1976-77 Old Third Division                         46 21 12 13  64  43  54
  3rd 1977-78 Old Third Division                         46 20 16 10  63  38  56
***Promoted to Old Second Division on goal average***
  7th 1978-79 Old Second Division                        42 12 18 12  59  57  42
 10th 1979-80 Old Second Division                        42 12 19 11  56  52  43
 20th 1980-81 Old Second Division                        42 11 14 17  41  62  36
***Relegated to Old Third Division on goal difference, wins count for three points 
instead of two***
 14th 1981-82 Old Third Division                         46 16 13 17  50  56  61
 16th 1982-83 Old Third Division                         46 15 13 18  60  69  58
 16th 1983-84 Old Third Division                         46 15 11 20  66  66  56
 23rd 1984-85 Old Third Division                         46 13  7 26  51 100  46
***Relegated to Old Fourth Division***
 23rd 1985-86 Old Fourth Division                        46 11 10 25  54  89  43
  2nd 1986-87 Old Fourth Division                        46 26 12  8  72  47  90
***Promoted to Old Third Division***
 16th 1987-88 Old Third Division                         46 15 13 18  48  59  58
  6th 1988-89 Old Third Division                         46 19 15 12  79  60  72
***Lose to Port Vale in Promotion Playoff Semifinal***
 19th 1989-90 Old Third Division                         46 14 10 22  65  79  52
 17th 1990-91 Old Third Division                         46 15 11 20  54  67  56
 17th 1991-92 Old Third Division                         46 15 12 19  61  72  57
***Old Third Division renamed to Second Division upon creation of English Premier
League***
 21st 1992-93 Second Division                            46 13  8 25  65  94  47
***Relegated to Third Division***
  5th 1993-94 Third Division                             42 18 13 11  79  60  67
***Lose to Wycombe Wanderers in Promotion Playoff Final***
  5th 1994-95 Third Division                             42 19 10 13  58  41  67
***Lose to Bury in Promotion Playoff Semifinal***
  1st 1995-96 Third Division                             46 23 17  6  78  38  86
***Promoted to Second Division***
 15th 1996-97 Second Division                            46 18  7 21  49  55  61
 15th 1997-98 Second Division                            46 15 14 17  56  56  59
  5th 1998-99 Second Division                            46 22 13 11  78  50  79
***Lose to Gillingham in Promotion Playoff Semifinal***
  1st 1999-00 Second Division                            46 28 11  7  74  37  95
***Promoted to First Division***
  4th 2000-01 First Division                             46 23  9 14  64  52  78
***Lose to Bolton Wanderers in Promotion Playoff Final***
  8th 2001-02 First Division                             46 20 12 14  71  59  72
 12th 2002-03 First Division                             46 16 13 17  68  70  61
 15th 2003-04 First Division                             46 15 14 17  69  71  59
***First Division renamed Championship]
  5th 2004-05 Championship                               46 21 12 13  67  58  75
***Lose to West Ham United in Promotion Playoff Final***
  4th 2005-06 Championship                               46 20 20  6  59  30  80
***Lose to Leeds United in Promotion Playoff Semifinal***
  7th 2006-07 Championship                               46 22  8 16  64  53  74

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