Ricardo’s box of love for PNE

Ribble Farm Fare worker Ricardo Martins was astonished to get a special signed box from PNE players
Ribble Farm Fare worker Ricardo Martins was astonished to get a special signed box from PNE players

Ricardo Martins loves his job...and he loves Preston North End.

So when the vegetable packer got the opportunity to show his support for the club he went the extra mile - and began decorating the veggie boxes he was packing to go to PNE with their logo and the special message: “The One and Only North End.”

Now North End players have returned the love - and sent a box back to Ricardo signed with all their names.

The special box has pride of place at Ricardo’s Preston home. The delighted 37-year-old, who works as a night packer for Ribble Farm Fare in Longridge, said: “It was amazing. It made my day...in fact it made my week.”

Ricardo, who is originally from Portugal, came to live in Preston 16 months ago. He said: “I started loving Preston North End since I moved to England.

“Every day I make up a box of vegetables to go to Preston North End, so I started writing things on the box. I started putting hearts on the box, then I started to draw the logo of PNE.

“Then the other day I did the logo and I did the sentence ‘The One and Only One North End’ - that’s the way it got their attention.

“I signed the box myself so they decided to send it back themselves.”

The phrase ‘The One and Only’ appears on the cover of all the PNE’s matchday programmes.

He said it was not just him but all the staff at Ribble Farm Fare who work with "commitment and dedication" adding:“When you love your job and have PNE as a customer, you put all your love in that box.”

On his Facebook page Ricardo noted: “Pure class to a loyal working fan. Thank you so much...lost of words.”

Back home in Coimbra in Portugal Ricardo, who has a degree and masters degree in journalism, was a keen supporter of his local football team Académica Coimbra He said: “That team is a small team, but one of the oldest teams ... For me it was a reason to start supporting PNE. It’s (also) a small team with a big historical background. I bought a jacket. I got my fan card.

Ricardo, who formerly worked at Marco and Carl restaurant and the Army and Navy pub in Preston has also made a documentary film about football.

• Ribble Farm Fare supplies numerous football clubs with fruit and vegetables.