Mystery bidders buy Deepdale, Bloomfield Road, Manchester United's stadium, Liverpool, Leeds, Arsenal .... and Wembley

For some it is the real Deepdale, created long before today's concrete and steel stadium.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 5:36 pm

Now an unnamed Preston North End fan has won an auction to own a model of how the football ground looked 35 years ago in an era when spectators could still stand to enjoy their Saturday afternoon game.

The miniature was one of a unique collection created in 1986 by model-maker John Le Maitre as a snapshot of how the Football League looked before the birth of the Premier League and its super stadia.

The grounds of all 92 league clubs were crafted by the artist, along with the old Wembley Stadium before it was knocked down and rebuilt.

The model of Deepdale as it was in 1986 (Image: Graham Budd Auctions).

The collection, containing 38 stadiums which are no longer in existence, was discovered in a storage unit and put up for auction.

The Deepdale model reached £200, with Wembley topping the list on £1,020, Old Trafford £680, Anfield £620 and Brighton's Goldstone Ground £520.

Bloomfield Road, Blackpool went for £130, Blackburn Rovers' Ewood Park £90, Turf Moor at Burnley £210 and Bolton Wanderers' Burnden Park £125.

The sale, by Graham Budd Auctioneers in London, raised almost £19,000.

"The models are social history gold dust," said the company's Adam Gascoigne. "They capture a nostalgic snapshot of an iconic era of football .It is a fascinating collection unlike anything you've ever seen before."

Little is known about model-maker John Le Maitre who appeared on TV's Blue Peter in 1986 to show off the newly-completed collection.

He died a year later and the models are thought to have been in storage ever since.

His long-lost son Andrew, who hadn't seen his father since the age of nine when his parents split up, tried to trace family members through a local paper in Dorset and discovered his dad had lived in Weymouth for most of his life.

After creating the football grounds collection he had intended to build models of six cricket Test Match grounds and the tennis courts of Wimbledon. But it is believed he died before completing them.

Deepdale, with it's old wooden and brick stands, was gradually redeveloped starting in 1996 when the Sir Tom Finney Stand replaced the old West Stand.

The Bill Shankly Kop followed in 1998, the Alan Kelly Town End in 2001 and finally the Invincibles Pavilion in 2008

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