In Review: Preston North End – The Rise Of The Invincibles (and book launch news)

Preston North End – The Rise Of The Invincibles - Cover

Bookings are being taken for seats and tables for the official launch of the new graphic novel Preston North End – The Rise Of The Invincibles, a full-colour, graphic history about the birth and early success of one of England’s most famous clubs, created and written by Michael Barrett, illustrated by Roy of the Rovers artist David Sque, and with a foreword by former player and now BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson.

Michael very kindly sent us a copy, and it really is a treat – not just for PNE fans, who I’m sure will be delighted by this history of the club, but also Michael’s impressive research into the wider history of early football, Preston’s past and the insights into the wider events that impacted the city and the club, all of which combined deliver a very special graphic novel, with some lovely art from David Sque, to boot (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun).

Preston North End – The Rise Of The Invincibles - Page 9The book charts how, in the summer of 1883, William Sudell set out on a quest, pure in honesty, extreme in vision. What happened next would change the face of modern football, forever.

Invincibles-Page-12Preston North End – a club born of men from factories and mills – blazed a trail through British football. As Michael and David relate, it’s a club fuelled by the ferocious ambition of one man, who garnered a team blessed with glorious talent and a sheer bloody-minded refusal to ever give in – a team that touched on perfection and passed into legend, forever to be called… invincible.

PNE can't stop scoring against Hyde FC, in the 1st round of the 1887 FA Cup.

PNE can’t stop scoring against Hyde FC, in the 1st round of the 1887 FA Cup.

The Rise of the Invincibles offers eleven chapters of glorious illustrations, spaning the 1860s through to 1889; taking in along the way, the Industrial Revolution, the American Civil War, the Lancashire Cotton Famine and two Preston Guilds. Not just any football club, and well deserving of a  graphic novel that’s far from just a dray local history, peppered with some Northern humour and fascinating tales about key individuals involved in creating the club in its formative years.

North End go over tactics, with chess pieces on a billiards table at the Fulwood Club.

North End go over tactics, with chess pieces on a billiards table at the Fulwood Club.

The Rise Of The Invincibles is an enjoyable book, presenting the days of the Invincibles. Even if you’re not a PNE fan, there’s plenty that will appeal within its pages, not least the social history alongside that of the football club itself. It may even prove a template for similar projects for other clubs, and the quality of this project is testament to just how how adaptable the comics form can be to tell a story that will garner plenty of local interest but, I think, also has a wider appeal.

The Rise of the Invincibles will have its official launch in the Invincibles Lounge at Preston North End on Thursday 1st December 2016. PNE’s match day host Simon Crabtree will be MC for the evening, with doors opening at 7.00pm for a 7.30pm start. Tickets are £15 each, or a table of 10 can be booked for £125.

North End’s manager Simon Grayson will also be doing a Q & A session, there’ll be a hot pot supper (with veggie option), bar, and a special raffle with all entry and raffle ticket proceeds going to Heartbeat, the North West’s leading cardiac rehabilitation charity.

• To book, please telephone Mark Cassidy at Heartbeat on (01772) 717147 or email:; or ask at the Heartbeat Reception. Bookings preferably by Tuesday 22nd December

• For more about The Rise of the Invincibles visit

Categories: British Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Events, Reviews

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