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EDITIONS
Friday, 28 June, 2002, 10:12 GMT 11:12 UK
Fan buys Preston squad place
Robert McBride and Craig Brown
Craig Brown (right) meets one of his stranger signings
A 43-year-old Shropshire man has fulfilled a childhood dream by becoming Preston North End's latest signing.

Father-of-four Robert McBride bid 4,300 in an internet auction to gain a one-year contract with his favourite football club.

The new signing was unveiled to the media at Preston's Deepdale ground on Thursday.

But manager Craig Brown told him he needed to work in training to "lose about three stones in weight."


For 4,000 you can buy half a used car or six Burnley players

Robert McBride
Club spokesman John Booth said: "We've just started an online auction site and thought this was a good way of publicising it.

"Robert is now a non-contract player so he won't be on any wages.

"He'll be able to go to the training ground at any time and go to the dressing rooms.

"He'll also be on the team photo, in the squad list in the match programme and get his own kit.

'Worth every penny'

"The Football League have said that we can only do this with one person per year, but if it works well we might do it again next season."

Mr McBride's only previous experience was with Ellesmere Rangers in the Shropshire County League, and when asked what his best position is he replied: "Anywhere."

Robert McBride
Robert McBride will not be on a wage at Deepdale
"It's better than winning the lottery.

"For 4,000 you could get half a used car, a set of golf clubs and membership to a club, or you could buy six Burnley players.

"But, for me, this is worth every penny."

Craig Brown, who was used to searching in unlikely places for players during his time as the Scottish national team manager, is unlikely to pick McBride for any matches.

Preston, who won the League and FA Cup Double in 1889, is the first club to auction a contract on the internet.


Click here to go to BBC Shropshire

Click here to go to Lancashire
See also:

18 Jun 02 | Luton Town
13 Jun 02 | Eng Div 1
13 Jun 02 | Preston
29 Apr 02 | Preston
Internet links:


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