Preston North End have had some stars in recent years who have gone on to play Premier League football, including Callum Robinson, and also some talented loanees like Jordan Pickford who used his spell at Deepdale to propel him to greater heights.
But there have been North End players who have gone elsewhere in years gone by, whether that be the lower leagues, non-league or abroad.
Let’s take a look at eight former Lilywhites who are playing in places where you may not necessarily expect.
John Welsh – Stafford Rangers
Welsh led the team for a number of years following his 2012 signing from Tranmere Rovers, and was even part of their Championship side for a little bit until his departure in 2018.
The former Liverpool man had a pretty unsuccessful stint at Grimsby after leaving North End, and is now at Northern Premier League side Stafford Rangers, some five levels down from PNE.
Adam Barton – Farsley Celtic
Once touted as a star of the future at Deepdale, Barton was linked with a £2.5 million move to Liverpool in 2010 following his first-team breakthrough, but his career never quite panned out that way.
A 2012 leg break didn’t help him, and Barton has since passed through the likes of Coventry, Portsmouth and Wrexham, before finally ending up at National League North side Farsley Celtic in Yorkshire, whom he joined in December.
Chris Humphrey – Kendal Town
Humphrey was at North End for three years, and you’d regularly see him flying down the right wing under Simon Grayson’s management.
After departing PNE in 2016 though he hardly got games for Hibernian and then Bury, and he’s since gone into management – first with Gretna 2008 and in 2020 he was appointed as manager of North West Counties side Kendal Town, who are located an hour north of Preston.
Darren Carter – Solihull Moors
Carter isn’t probably highly regarded by many Preston fans as at the time he cost the club quite a bit of money on both transfer fee and wages.
He did have some decent moments though, but after leaving PNE in 2011 his career took a dip into the lower leagues, and since 2017 he has been at Solihull Moors in the National League, where he has been converted as a 37-year-old into a ball-playing centre-back.
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Scott Laird – Weston-super-mare
Laird was a real fan favourite at Deepdale – his first few months at the club saw him score four times and assist three more from left-back – until his season was cruelly ended by a leg-breaking tackle from Jamal Campbell-Ryce.
He was a regular in the next two seasons but with no guarantee of first-team football in 2015 when PNE were promoted to the Championship, Laird departed for Scunthorpe.
Now only 32 years old, Laird is at Weston-super-mare, just one league away from the National League South, as both a player and assistant manager, but still finds time to follow PNE and has become a frequent guest on the From The Finney podcast.
Ricardo Fuller – Hanley Town
Speaking of fan favourites, Fuller dazzled all PNE fans in his time at the club in the early 2000s, and he could not be begrudged for pursuing a Premier League dream in 2004 with Portsmouth, after scoring 31 goals for North End in 63 games.
He eventually found a home at Stoke City and clearly still lives in the area, as he played for Nantwich Town in 2019 and in 2020 signed for another local team in Hanley Town, and as a 40-year-old scored the winner for them in an FA Cup First Round Qualifier in September.
Stuart Beavon – Mickleover F.C.
Beavon was an exciting signing for North End in 2012, with his August deadline day acquisition a big thing for PNE having paid a £250,000 transfer fee in League One.
He couldn’t replicate his form from his Wycombe days though, and after spells at Burton Albion and Coventry, Beavon dropped into non-league and now plies his trade at Derbyshire side Mickleover FC.
Jeffrey Monakana – Magni Grenivík
Monakana was a 2012 signing from Arsenal, and he divided opinion amongst the North End fanbase during his time at Deepdale.
Whilst he clearly had talent, his application was somewhat lacking a lot of the time, and despite being unfancied by Simon Grayson, the winger got a move up a level to Championship side Brighton in 2014.
Monakana’s career since then has been disappointing. He’s been in Scotland, the lower ends of the EFL, non-league and even Romania, and he’s now in Iceland having only just signed for Magni Grenivík a few weeks ago.