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97/98: Reports:

Nationwide League Division 2, 30/8/97
Preston North End 2(1)
Scorers: Nogan (38, 67)
Watford 0(0)
Team: Chamberlain 2, Gibbs 3, Kennedy 2, Page 2, Palmer 3, Mooney 3, Johnson 3, Hyde 2, *Noel-Williams 4*, Rosenthal 2, Slater 2
Subs: Andrews (for Rosenthal) 3, Talboys (for Hyde) 3, Thomas (for Slater) 3
Report by Ian Lay

As I sit writing this report, I find it very difficult to bring into perspective the events of Saturday. They seem so irrelevant after the death of Princess Diana in the early hours of Sunday morning. The whole Preston trip, though a day I would prefer to forget, rather pales in comparison to the events of the last 24 hours or so. Having the "People Mover" that myself and a number of others drove up in broken into seems rather distant now. Effectively spending in total about £80 on the day because of having to pay the excess on the insurance seems rather irrelevant.

I remember thinking when I got home on Saturday night that I would make the majority of the report centre around the break in. Touch briefly on the match, and then look forward to a better performance on Tuesday. But now I find that I donít even want to do that. I really can't feel downbeat about Saturday anymore. In the context of the weekend it was just another day.

The ratings above tell their own story to an extent. For those who want a more detailed report I suggest you read the Watford Observer on Friday. All I will say is that Preston played well. They have always had a good home record and they deserved their win. We didn't play awfully. In fact, though it was the worst performance of the season so far, we played better than a lot of performances last year that we won. On the day we were just second best.

That is all I can write. I'm still in shock from yesterday. In some ways I'm glad I'm not going to Plymouth on tomorrow. I really don't think I would have been able to get in the mood for it.

Report by Simon Devon

It's Monday morning in the office as I'm writing this. Normally I read the football reports, chat to fellow football fans in the office about the weekend and generally try to avoid work (no change there then....).

The events of this weekend have, however, put football into its true context of just a game. I've always thought that the saying 'football is more important than life or death' is a load of rubbish and this weekend has only made this belief stronger.

The game is best forgotten. Preston were strong and deserved their win, we just couldn't get it together. I'm becoming concerned about our reliance on a 17-year old forward, albeit a very talented one. I'm sure we had some defenders on the pitch. They had the best of the first half. As well as scoring, they had a goal disallowed and missed a chance that most of the WIFC lads would have stuck away. In the second half we had a bit more pressure but couldn't find that 'killer pass' and seemed content to lamely pass the ball to the PNE keeper on every set piece.

Anyway, we left the game trying to look for positives - we had a goal disallowed, we had injuries, 9 points from 12 is a good start, we played well in patches. Then it happened. We got back to our hired MPV and found the window smashed, the radio nicked, some personal possessions also taken and a mess. As Adrian rang the Police and gave all the details we got chatting to a passing PNE fan and his family. They told us what a bad place this estate was. They also said that if they had seen us parking they would have warned us off. This wasn't a football motivated attack - we'd made sure that there was no WFC stuff on display. It was just pure vandalism and disrespect for property. (I'm beginning to sound like my parents...) With the help of the PNE fan we patched up the window and set off for Manchester airport where Hertz had a replacement MPV waiting for us. We finally set off home from the airport at about 8:30pm. We had to pay the excess on the insurance which meant that the benefits of a cost effective method of transport were now non-existent.

Still, spirits were high on the way home although the whole episode had left us with a bad taste. It really had made the whole day seem pointless. The tragic news on Sunday just seemed to make the whole of football seem an irrelevant distraction to life. Two young boys no longer have a mother and the whole nation in an amazing out pouring of grief. Football was, and still is, very important to me and a lot of other people. Just don't forget what else happens in the world....