Preston North End are this month flying the flag for their hero Sir Tom Finney.

Sir Tom, 86, spent his entire playing career at Deepdale. His record of 30 goals in 76 England appearances has guaranteed him a place among the game's greats.

To celebrate the life and times of Preston's most famous son, the club declared March 26 Sir Tom Finney Day and held a gala dinner.

But the most spectacular tribute will be on Saturday April 11 when the visit of local rivals Blackpool will be marked by Finney Flag Day.

A huge Sir Tom Finney flag will be unfurled and 8,000 smaller flags distributed to honour a man who made his club debut 63 years ago and is now the North End president.

Manager Alan Irvine said: "It's a fantastic honour for Sir Tom. He thoroughly deserves the recognition he is getting.

"He has been a great ambassador for the club, and for Preston, and nobody deserves this more than he.

"Everyone knows how important he is to this area. He is a legendary figure. I love being in his company.

"He's very interesting to talk to, very interesting to listen to, he's a fantastic ambassador for Preston and it is right that he is being honoured in this way."

The National Football Museum at Deepdale will also be showing a special exhibition of the Preston legend's life in association with The New Football Pools from until Sunday September 27.

Sir Tom said: "I have been deeply touched by the many warm and generous tributes paid to me. To be honoured by your peers in this way is a truly humbling experience.

"Compliments can go in two directions, and I must thank all of those players, officials, referees and journalists who have helped create for me a life in football that has never fallen short of being truly remarkable.

"My domestic life has been an equal joy fuelled by the love of my children Brian and Barbara and grandchildren Donna, Paul, Lee and Lauren.

"Finally, I would like to dedicate this celebration and all the plaudits that I have received to the woman that made my life complete. Lady Elsie Finney ... the love of my life."

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