Preston’s fixture at Craven Cottage this weekend marks the club annual Gentry Day tradition.
Every season, fans choose a certain away fixture around this time of year to remember supporters who have passed away over the last 12 months, they mark the day by dressing up in suit and bowler hats.
The day is named after a phrase by Alan Ball Senior back in the 1970’s, who said ‘Preston North End fans are the best, they’re the gentry’ after being asked for a quote about the fans after an away game down in Plymouth.
The tradition faded temporarily but it came back to the fore in 2005 when the Preston Supporters Group put together the ‘Return of the Gentry’ after the death of one of the original members of the Gentry.
The big return came at a fixture against QPR, and since then Charlton, Newcastle, Hull, Sheff Wednesday, Brentford and Barnsley have all played host to the day.
Last season, the chosen game was Bolton away, which was classed of one of, if not the best Gentry Day to date as 4,500 fans took the short trip to the other side of Lancashire to see their side come from behind to grab a 2-1 win, the very first Gentry Day victory for North End.
Simon Grayson praised the fans as it is expected around 3,000 Preston fans will be in the capital for the game on Saturday.
“So Gentry Day, 3,000 Preston fans are going to be down there, hopefully it’s a good day for us and another day like we had last year on Gentry Day when we went to Bolton got a great result and everybody connected with the club enjoyed it.” he said.
“I think overall our support away from home has been absolutely fantastic, they’ve been there in their numbers, so it doesn’t make much difference to us in that respect because we have the numbers as mentioned.”
“But ultimately it’s quite a unique way of celebrating what’s gone off in the past with the suits and bowler hats, so let’s hope that somebody captures a picture of one of the players celebrating with a bowler hat that they have done over the last couple of years.”
Although the boss wasn’t too keen on a combination of a bowler hat and one of his Simon Grayson masks from the Wigan fixture, saying: “That’s a bit scary, that is! Maybe you could use the bowler hat to cover up the mask!”