It is never the wisest of ideas to try and pin down one of the biggest men in the WWE - but Wade Barrett will happily take a three-count if it means talking about Preston North End.

The wrestling superstar is a lifelong fan of the Lilywhites having been born in nearby Penwortham and began his support for the club at the age of five when his dad started taking him to Deepdale.

And even though he joined the WWE in 2007 Wade's passion remains un-dimmed, even though he's not had chance to get to a game for some time.

"It is difficult [to follow the games and news] because we are on the road a lot so I try to keep up to speed while travelling, and my dad keeps me updated too," he told

"Unfortunately we do not get enough time off as WWE is on for 52 weeks of the year so it has been several years since I last got to a game."

Although Wade hasn't seen his club in action at Deepdale for a long time, he was able to pay a visit to the stadium and the training ground back in March.

That was as part of a promotional tour for WrestleMania - the pinnacle of the WWE's annual pay-per-view events.

He met then-Manager Phil Brown and the players before giving a motivational talk to the squad that saw him telling them to cheat on the basis that it had worked for him in his wrestling career!

"That was fantastic - a real dream come true from when I was a boy," Wade reflected.

"I got to meet the manager and the team and enjoyed the talk I gave them - plus they did well for a few weeks after that so I must have had a good influence!"

Wade's visit came with the Lilywhites in trouble at the bottom end of the npower Championship as the end of the 2010/11 season approached and while they did have an upturn in fortunes afterwards, they weren't able to drag themselves out of trouble and were relegated to League 1.

Wade would have been encouraged by their start to the current campaign but the Lilywhites soon slipped off the pace and Brown left the club in December.

This interview took place before Brown's departure but Wade, like many of his WWE colleagues, is active on Twitter and took to the social networking site to air his views.

He tweeted: "Sorry to see the back of Phil Brown. Hope Alexander gets a shot now. We did OK with a young Scottish Manager once or twice before..."

Wade grew up wanting to become a professional footballer for Preston but he also had dreams of becoming a professional wrestler having watched the likes of Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart and the British Bulldog during wrestling's boom in the 1980s and 1990s.

As a PNE fan he picks out their runs to the Play-Off finals as his stand-out matches while lists Sean Gregan as his favourite player.

You won't see him showing any direct support for North End when he's in the ring as that wouldn't fit with his character - more on that later - but he'll usually be wearing his Preston shorts in the gym, while a new tattoo that represents his home town.

And as there are other Brits currently competing in the WWE, there is plenty of banter in the locker room with Dubliner Sheamus supporting Liverpool, Ayr's Drew McIntyre following Glasgow Rangers, and William Regal hailing from Blackpool and supporting his home club.

As with many WWE superstars, Wade Barrett is just a ring name - he was born Stuart Bennett and decided to pursue professional wrestling at the age of 21 having earned himself a marine biology degree from the University of Liverpool and also been a bareknuckle boxer while living in the city.

Bennett became Wade Barrett in the autumn of 2009 having competed in the WWE's promotional territories as Stu Sanders and then Lawrence Knight.

The character of Wade Barrett is described as an extension of the 31-year-old's "dark side" and it does contain a link to home - Wade being added to the name in recognition of Wade Dooley, the Preston-born former England rugby union international.

It wasn't until May 2010 that Wade made his real breakthrough in WWE by winning the first series of WWE NXT, where rookies compete for a full contract in the organisation, and since then he has gone on to become one of the leading lights on the SmackDown roster.

Standing at 6'6" tall and weighing almost 250lb, he became Intercontinental Champion in March 2011 and held the title until June.

Wade has also challenged for the World Heavyweight Championship and has been involved in a high-profile feud with Randy Orton as part of the "Barrett Barrage", which has coincided with his rise through the ranks in a bid to become the first English-born champion.

"There is a lot on the cards, especially with the build-up to WrestleMania 28 [which takes place in April 2012]," Wade said.

"I am working hard to be the World Champion next year so keep watching WWE to find out what is next for me!"

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