Each week during the close season Citizen football reporter Tom Parker takes a potted look at the Football League and Preston Nort End's role within it.

This week Tom looks at football in the years between the two World Wars.

AS our servicemen and women returned from the First World War to try to rebuild their lives, football became a major part of the day to day living as it offered entertainment which was good and cheap.

Preston North End maintained a position in the lower half of the table up to 1924 but the following season, along with Nottingham Forest, they were relegated as Arsenal just survived the drop.

Burnley chased home West Bromwich Albion in the first season of the top flight after the war and then they went one better and won the title the next year. Liverpool took the next two championships and then along came Huddersfield Town to win an amazing three championships in a row.

The 1922-23 season saw the first FA Cup Final at Wembley between Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United. Such was the interest in the new stadium that a quarter of a million spectators turned up for the match creating havoc in North London.

The ground capacity was just over 125,000 but the crowd stormed the gates, people got in without tickets and the fans overflowed onto the touchlines. A policeman, Constable Storey riding a now famous white horse got onto the pitch and did a marvellous job in trying to control what was a very upbeat and excited crowd.

Only the arrival of King George V prevented a disaster as the crowd stood to some order for the playing of the national anthem and some semblence of order was restored.

The match got under way with the crowds still lining the touchlines. Bolton won 2-0 and the FA learnt their lesson -- from now on it would be an all ticket affair.

West Ham took some consolation in being promoted to the First Division shortly after the final.

The 1926-27 season saw a major change in the offside rule as from there having to be three men between a player and the goal it was now reduced to just two. This change just had to be introduced as prior to this as many as 50 offsides were often awarded in matches and play had become dull and uninteresting.

Middlesbrough striker George Camsell was destroying defences as he amassed 59 goals including nine hat-tricks from 37 games and he was re-writing the history books.

The next season however, those records were in tatters as William Ralph "Dixie" Dean of Everton achieved 60 goals in the season amid a fantastic run out to the season.

In the final match of the season at Goodison Park against Arsenal, Dean was level with Camsell's total with just six minutes of the match remaining. The crowd held their breath as over came a cross from the right, up went Dean to meet it and the ball hit the back of the net and the 50,000 plus crowd went crackers.

Player identification became easier in 1928 as shirts were numbered for the first time.

Players were getting younger -- Albert Geldard made his debut for Bradford Park Avenue at just 15 years and 158 days, against Millwall.

The 1939 FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Huddersfield saw the two teams come out onto the pitch side by side. Arsenal won the match, but the game was a memorable occasion as the Graf Zeppelin airship hovered over the ground above the twin towers during the match with mixed reaction from the crowd.

The 1931 season saw a remarkable match between Newcastle United and Portsmouth. It ended goalless but as neither side conceded a corner kick it is believed that this was the only time that such an occurrence took place in a major match.

This was also the year that Stanley Matthews made his debut for Stoke City, the start of what was to be a fantastic career culminating in his eventual knighthood.

In 1933 the FA Cup Final between Everton and Manchester City saw shirt numbering from one to 22. Everton were one to 11 and City 12 to 22. Everton won 3-0 to complete a hat-trick of trophies -- Second Division champions in 1931, First Division champions in 1932 and now the FA Cup.

Preston North End bounced back into the First Division in 1934 as they were promoted along with Grimsby Town.

Tranmere Rovers were getting into the record books as their centre forward "Bunny" Bell smashed in nine goals against Oldham Athletic over the Christmas holiday.

Crowds were getting bigger and 82,905 turned up at Stamford Bridge for the clash with Arsenal.

The first match to be shown on television between Arsenal and Everton was in 1936, the same year Joe Payne challenged "Dixie" Deans goalscoring record with 55 goals for Luton Town. Five short of the target.

In 1938, Arsenal broke the transfer record as they signed Bryn Jones for £14,000 from Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Then came the outbreak of the Second World War and many of our footballers were drafted into service and properly organised football would be abandoned until 1945.

Next week, we shall look at the League and FA Cup between 1945 and the Swinging Sixties, the Beatles and all that.