Celebrity chef Paul Heathcote is cooking up a surprise “homecoming” with Preston North End.
And the man who is opening the door for him - city entrepreneur Simon Rigby - has thanked club owner Trevor Hemmings for giving him one of his best breaks in business.
“We probably wouldn’t have had the Guild Hall complex and our betting business had North End not given us the chance they did,” said Simon, who has decided it is time his Villa organisation moved on after five years running the catering, banqueting and in-stadium betting at the club.
“Deepdale was crucial to us getting our gaming licence and also proving we could handle a big entertainment venue. So two absolutely fantastic businesses came out of our association.”
Simon’s decision to stand aside has allowed Paul to return to the stadium where he first landed the catering contract 21 years ago. He said:“I can remember back in 1997 when Preston North End gave us our first opportunity in stadium catering, we were very grateful then and grateful now, it feels like we are coming home.”
A PNE statement said: “The club are very excited about the opportunity that this gives both parties to build on the already successful event and catering management facilities that exist here at Deepdale. There are a couple of new exciting initiatives planned for the new season which will be announced in the coming weeks.”