To celebrate the release of our Invincibles art print, here's a small profile of the player who graces it – Preston North End legend, Fred Dewhurst.

On Saturday 30th March 1889, outside the Pavilion entrance of Kennington Oval, London, Preston North End were presented with the FA Cup, capping off a remarkable achievement that some 126 years later, has yet to be equalled.
Receiving the trophy on behalf of North End that day was captain and local favourite, Fred Dewhurst. It was a fitting moment.

Born in Fulwood, Preston, on the 16th December 1863, Fred, along with Bob Holmes and Bob Howarth, was only one of three Prestonians in the North End first team that afternoon. During their incredible campaign of 1888-89, North End led by the charismatic William Sudell, won the inaugural Football League without suffering one defeat, and claimed the FA Cup without conceding a single goal! In such a remarkable season there had naturally been many star performers, but Fred carved his own special place in North End folklore by scoring their first ever goal in the Football League (in the 5-2 defeat of Burnley at Deepdale), and he also scored the first goal in the FA Cup final versus Wolverhampton Wanderers – smashing in the rebound off a Jimmy Ross shot! In total he played in 16 of the 22 League games that season, scoring 12 times, and turned out in all 5 FA Cup matches, scoring once.

A typical Dewhurst header! Heading was traditionally a defensive act, but North End deployed it in attack, and claimed many goals off the head of Dewhurst.
The 1871 Census reveals Fred as being one of seven children who lived at no. 23 Maudland Bank in Preston, and records his father as being a mule spindle maker. As a youngster Fred was educated at Mount St. Mary’s College near Chesterfield, Derbyshire, and displayed a great talent for sports. He returned to Preston as a teenager and joined the up and coming Preston North End in 1882, just two years after they’d adopted the game of Association Football. Fred soon established himself as a valuable member of the first team and could play anywhere along the front line, either on the wing, at inside forward, or in the centre. He was described as just under 5ft 11, with a robust build, and on the pitch made good use of his physical strength - perhaps having learned from Preston’s early crowd favourite John Belger, the man known as the Goalkeeper Smasher!
Legendary football journalist James Catton wrote of Dewhurst: 
He was a big, vigorous build of a player and talented… he could simply walk over his opponents – and did!
But Fred wasn’t just a bruising forward. He bought into North End’s scientific approach and was a fine dribbler and exponent of the passing game – and as the records prove, was no mean finisher! Settling into the inside forward position, he became one of the most celebrated forwards of his day and played 9 times for England, scoring 12 goals. He represented Lancashire countless times, and after notching a hat-trick against Corinthians in a legendary match at Deepdale in 1885, Fred was duly invited to play for the famous amateur team. It was a great honour, not just for Fred, but for the North End, too.
Fred grabs the winner and completes his hat-trick, in the famous match against Corinthians - Deepdale, Saturday 19th December, 1885.
As an amateur Fred was a rarity amongst the ‘professionals’ of North End, and spent his time outside of football working as a master at Preston’s Catholic College. An educated man, he served North End not just as a player, but as a committee member and club secretary. He was known as an eloquent speaker and was often put forward as spokesman for the players, giving speeches at functions and after-match dinners. His last match for North End came during the 1890-91 season, at which time he was documented in the 1891 Census as living at the Unicorn Hotel, 378 North Road, Preston.
Fred Dewhurst, seated 4th from the left, front row - with Preston North End in 1887. Image courtesy of The National Football Museum.
Back to the 30th March, 1889, at the Kennington Oval, and North End’s players had called for their manager William Sudell to go up and collect the FA Cup. But Sudell furiously insisted the honour fall to their captain, and so 25 year old Fred Dewhurst strode up to collect the trophy from FA President, Major Marindin.

There'd been many disappointments on the road to glory for the North End club, and on that fine but overcast day, as the light began to fade over London, Fred Dewhurst turned to address the crowd, silver trophy clutched in his hands:

You know the old proverb says:  Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, but the longer the day is put off, the happier we feel when it has arrived! (Loud Cheer)
One of the greatest pleasures we have in receiving this cup, is to be able to hand it over to the custody of our worthy friend, Mr Sudell. (Loud cheers) It is through his exertions that we have kept together – Mr Sudell has been a father to the team (hear, hear) – and if it had not been for his exertions, I do not suppose we should have been able to win the Cup!

Well said, Fred, and well played.
For more details about our special art print, THE INVINCIBLES, please click on the button below. Thank you.
Sources used for this article:
The Preston Herald (newspaper, 1888-89).
Loud & Proud, Preston North End FC, by Ian Rigby and Mike Payne.
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