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Sunday, 2 July, 2000, 14:50 GMT
Promotion glory for North End
Preston celebrations
Preston celebrate the Division Two title
BBC Radio Lancashire's Gary Hickson reviews Preston North End's successful 1999/2000

Preston deservedly finished the season as champions of Division Two.

The squad went through a torrid time a year earlier, just missing out in the play-offs.

It was an experience manager David Moyes managed to turn into a positive for his players which obviously helped them through some of the harder parts of this season.


David Moyes
David Moyes guided his side brilliantly

By Christmas the team had recorded 15 league wins, dispensed with Bristol Rovers, Enfield and Oldham in the FA Cup (finally bowing out in fine style at Goodison Park against Everton) and enjoyed a night under the lights facing Arsenal at Highbury in the league cup.

Fire power

Moyes had learned from the previous season that strength in depth was what was required to launch a promotion run.

In the close season they started with striker Steve Basham from Southampton, finally getting their man for 200,000 following a tribunal.

Sadly he took little part in the promotion season due to a knee injury.

Other names who helped add to the fire power during the season were, Alex Mathie who joined on a three-month loan from Dundee United (as cover for Basham).

Icelandic international Bjarki Gunnlaugsson signed until the end of the season from Reykjavik KR, (and later signed a two-year deal) and Brett Angel from Stockport.

Another name who joined the camp, Iain Anderson, came on loan from Toulouse and quickly had the crowd on his side.

Backbone

But it was the backbone of the team who had experienced the previous seasons nightmare in the play-offs which saw the side through, non more so than skipper Sean Gregan, and centre- back Michael Jackson.

Gregan, along with the experienced Mark Rankine policed the centre of the park for North End and always competed, while at the back Jackson along with Colin Murdoch and Ryan Kidd put in solid performances on a consistent basis.

Finnish goalkeeper Tepi Moilanen broke Alan Kelly's long standing record of clean sheets in a season.

The young player-of-the-year and the players' player-of-the-year was top scorer Jonathan Macken, scoring 22 goals in the league campaign.

North End manager Moyes has already begun his squad strengthening for the challenge ahead in Division One, with the signing of the Northern Ireland international and Bournemouth captain Steve Robinson for 375,000.

Moyes will also have more influence in the transfer market than in previous seasons. The club recently launched a share issue which hopes to raise 7.5m over the next year for squad strengthening and the completion of the Deepdale ground.

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