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Why were the orange and black colours removed from Preston’s stadium?

Find out how fan power helped change the colours of Preston North End’s Deepdale stadium to remove any trace of orange and black.

In Deepdale Stadium not too long ago, one of the most important voting events of this year took place. It was a vote that practically decided the entire future of the stadium and contributed to a rivalry that shall go down in the history books. Thousands of fans came together in brotherhood to change the colours of their home stadium. Although to an outsider it might not have seemed like a big decision, for Preston fans this vote was one of the most important events to happen for some time.

Let’s go back to the beginning.  When 888sport became the lead sponsor of the Preston North End football team they decided that the stadium needed a bit of sprucing up. They hung new banners, dotted around some billboards and did a bit of painting here and there. Everyone thought the place looked great: that is, everyone except the Preston fans. It wasn’t the advertising that was the problem. It was the brand colour. It was orange (or, more specifically, tangerine)!

Any Preston fan would be aware of their ultimate rival, Blackpool. Thanks to the West Lancashire Derby (or the M55 Derby) the two teams have been at odds for almost over 100 years, if you can believe it. Since the first game the two teams have been neck and neck, almost completely matched in ability, and the fans of the teams are in a similar state of locked arms. The fierce rivalry has been a defining quality of the teams and their fans. The Preston North End and Blackpool rivalry has been so heated over the years that even Countdown has featured some of the animosity between the teams, with one Blackpool fan spelling out in the letters round ‘PNECRISIS’. So, what relevance does this rivalry have to the stadium? Well, as it turns out, 888sport’s brand colour is unsettlingly similar to the Blackpool football team’s colours.

Fans noticed the similarity in the colours pretty quickly and it wasn’t long at all until they started voicing their displeasure. Social media was the first place they went to express their outrage, filling up the Deepdale stadium and Preston North End Facebook pages with criticisms, comments and questions. Thankfully, their voices didn’t go unheard. Soon after, 888sport opened a poll for Preston fans to let them vote on the stadium colours. Within the first hour 1,000 votes had been cast. In total, 4,000 people voted to change the stadium colours. So, 888sport gave in with a vow to put the fans first and rid the stadium of orange for good. In an incredible demonstration of sportsmanship, they effectively changed the colours overnight. That meant switching up to 172m of branding throughout the whole stadium.

It’s so great to see sponsors making the effort to support their teams. Both players and fans were overjoyed to see the branding change and have happily voiced their appreciation for 888sport and the work they put in to please the fans. Here’s to the hope that these new colours give Preston extra luck next season.

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