With the lack of football due to the lockdown, Preston North End have taken to filling the void by interviewing players who won their player of the year accolade.
The latest of which is Charlton Athletic’s on-loan Sunderland winger Aiden McGeady, who won the award in 2017.
Speaking to the club’s iFollow channel, McGeady discussed how his move to Sunderland came about the year he won North End’s player of the year award and revealed that his preference was to stay at Preston, thanks to having such a successful loan spell at the club from Everton.
Preston had just lost their manager, Simon Grayson, to Sunderland and the Irish international says that prevented the club’s adviser Peter Risdale from getting a deal done:
I was stilling living in Preston at the time and obviously the season had finished. Every supporter would say “Aiden, what are you doing, are you staying?” and I literally had no idea.
I kept saying “I wanted to stay”, of course I did.
With Everton I had one year left on my contract and I think Everton wanted not a massive amount of money but they wanted me gone.
I think Peter Risdale went to Everton, quite early on in the window, quite early on in the summer, before the end of the season and he was like “look, we want to take him” and things like that.
I was like “listen, I will 100% sign here”, even if a better offer came in on more money, it didn’t really bother me. I didn’t want to lose what I had at Preston but ultimately, financially, I don’t think Preston could do it.
So at that point I think the summer kind of carried on, obviously then Simon Grayson went to Sunderland and took the job there and one of the first things he did was text me to say “look, would you fancy it?” and I was like “yeah, of course I’d fancy it” but even at the same time, I still did want to come back to Preston. Even with Sunderland in the background, I still did.
I think I even said to my agent, a couple of days before I signed for Sunderland “look, phone Peter Risdale and let him know the situation and see if they can still do it”.
I can’t stress enough how much I enjoyed it and how much I wanted to carry it on but football’s funny.
I think the last conversation we had, I think it was Peter Risdale, he said “Look, I don’t think we can do it financially, for what he might want wages wise, so if he’s got Sundeldand there, we won’t hold him up. If he’s going to go and do that, let him do it.”
So ultimately, Preston wasn’t really there, you know what I mean?
I remember when I signed for Sunderland I got a lot of fans messaging me on social media, saying “I can’t believe you’ve done this”, “I can’t believe you’ve done that” and I was like “honestly, if I could have gone back to Preston, if I could have, I would have” but obviously with the manager leaving as well, he was a big part of it for me there but then the club was a little bit, not in turmoil, but they were thinking that they would have to get a new manager in, didn’t know what players the manager wanted.
So I think that is what forced their hand a little bit to say “look, we can’t do it just now”.
So ultimately, it wasn’t there for me. Which was disappointing but it’s the way football is and I moved on to Sunderland.
It was a big opportunity as well because they are a massive club, Sunderland, and obviously to work with Simon Grayson again. I’ve got a lot to thank him for, obviously at Preston and at Sunderland.