What is Gentry day? The FSF's Billy Grant spoke to Preston North End fans about the roots of their decade old tradition and what it still means today...
Every year Preston North End fans choose an away match day to remember fans and players who have passed away. The day is less of a memorial and more of a celebration as they dress up in bowler hats, suits and dresses and … well basically have a jolly good day out.
This year they have chosen Bolton as their annual knees up - with 4,500 PNE fans making the short trip to the other side of Lancashire to celebrate all things Preston.
But it’s not all party party. There is a serious side to gentry day.
In an attempt to find out more, I jumped on a train up North with my video-making partner Dave Lane to get some real insight from the Lancashire lads and lasses as to what Gentry Day really means to the people of Preston.
What was immediately obvious was how passionate the fans were about the day and how they felt it gave them a unique identity - something which has helped to bring their whole community together.
On top of that, they were very proud that they had created an event that ensured that Preston fans who have passed away will never be forgotten.
You don’t have to be a football fan to be touched this piece.
So powerful is the Gentry Day message, other fan groups are now looking to follow suit. Not so much in the donning of the bowler hats and the suits. But more about them looking into ways they could pull their fans together in a fun way to celebrate being proudly part of a unique football ‘family’ (for the want of a better phrase) - young and old … past and present.
Preston North End have showed the world that, contrary to what some people may think, football fans aren’t all that bad. They are proud of what they have achieved with their Gentry Day celebration. It has ‘Preston’ stamped all over it … and that has given them a true sense of identity.
And maybe .. just maybe … they have created a legacy footprint in which other supporters can follow.