Ian Rigby – “Something I will always treasure”

Preston North End club historian Ian Rigby spoke of his relationship with the club’s best ever player, Sir Tom Finney, as the third anniversary of passing comes around.

Although the pair didn’t know each other during Sir Tom’s playing days, a good friendship blossomed when the club historian wrote off to him to find out his thoughts on setting up a Former Players’ Association, of which the winger was more than enthusiastic to get involved with.

In January 1998, he joined, and the England international was named President of the Former Player’s Association, as well as also being President of Preston North End itself.

The Association has 217 players on its books, with names like ex-England manager Sam Allardyce, David Moyes and Mark Lawrenson just a few of the stand-out names on the list.

The latest former player to become a member of the Association was Gareth Ainsworth, who is currently the manager of Wycombe Wanderers.


Ian (left) poses with Tom Finney. Courtesy of Ian Rigby

His good friend Tommy Thompson, who holds a club record of scoring in 11 consecutive games, scoring 17 goals in that run, was also in the former players association, and the pair of them always came along to the committee meetings.

“To sit in his kitchen, having a cup of tea with him, watching squirrels running along his fence, is something I will always treasure and to have been able to attend church at his funeral would never have happened if not for being secretary of the Association” said Rigby.


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