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v Crystal Palace

Sunday 21 September K.O. 16:00


In the final part of the series, Mike describes how he found himself in an FA Cup final team, and went on to make his mark in history.

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After joining Everton, Mike Trebilcock saw his FA Cup dream reignited.

"The dream wasn't there so much when I was at Plymouth," he explained, "I was a professional footballer and I was happy with that.

"The dream came back in when I signed for Everton. The dream wasn't there with Plymouth because I was never going to win the cup with them."

And an unfortunate injury to an England international was to pave the way for Trebilcock to make his mark on the famous competition.

"The first team were playing away and the news came over the wireless that Fred Pickering had been carried off. To us young kids like me, Colin Harvey, Tommy Wright, Fred was a legend."

England striker Pickering was a big part of the Everton team, and his injury represented a dent in the Blues' plans.

"We were shocked because Fred was injured and the FA Cup semi final was coming up. We were wondering who was going to play. No one ever mentioned my name!

"But I managed to get in the squad and Harry Catterick was putting the team out and he said 'Fred I am leaving you out and putting Mike in'. I was thinking 'the dream is coming now, I am going to play at Wembley'."

But the delight of an appearance in Everton's semi final win was soon tainted by a below par performance in the league that cost him his first team spot.

"Then I played in a league match and had a shocker and I thought my Wembley dream was gone," he said.

Mike Trebilcock scores in the 1966 cup final

As the final approached, Trebilcock had accepted his fate and was looking forward to taking in the atmosphere from the stands, but as he explains, that was soon to change.

"When the final came around, me and some of the boys were going to go to Wembley to watch the FA Cup final in the crowd. Then on the Thursday the squad list went up and I was in the squad.

"I thought 'this is even better'. I wasn't going to be in the squad, I was going to be on the sidelines. All my mates were going to be watching, I bought a new suit, I was chuffed to bits."

But the excitement was only to increase as the big day approached.

"The Friday before the cup final, we were having lunch. I was sitting with Colin Harvey, Tommy Wright, John Harris, Andy Rankine and Geoff Barnett.

"The trainer came over and told me the boss wanted to see me after lunch. John Harris said 'you must be playing'. I said 'I'm not playing, I've just come down to put the kit out.'

"I went into this room and there was Sandy Brown, Tommy Wright and Fred Pickering and I couldn't understand why Fred was there because we knew that Sandy was going to be left out for Tommy.

"The manager, Harry Catterick said, 'it is time like this that decisions have to be made and I am the one that has got to make them. Sandy I am leaving you out and putting Tommy back in, Fred I am leaving you out and putting Mike in'."

"So from sitting in the stand to sitting on the bench, I was actually playing! Even if I hadn't have played I would have been the happiest boy in town."

But as the final progressed, it was not going to plan.

"When we were walking out I was thinking I was young, pretty fit, pretty lively. I will show you guys how it is done.

"Football is not like that. The man upstairs doesn't plan it out that way. After ten minutes we were one down. At half time Harry Catterick told us to keep playing our own game and we would be alright. Then we were two nil down.

Trebilcock with the FA Cup

"Then I was at my lowest, I am back to being a boy again. There were 100,000 people there and they had dropped the England centre forward for me, at the other end there was Ron Springett the England goalkeeper, and I haven't had a shot all day."

But moments later, a chance presented it to Trebilcock, and he remembers vividly how he scored.

"We were taught that when the ball come in, to shoot back across the keeper, but I knew that Ron Springett knew that too, because he was a world class keeper.

"So I pulled my foot back, and when he went one way I struck it straight in the near post. When you watch the DVD, you see I hit his hat twice, in the back of the goal."

"Then Derek scored the winner and all hell broke loose. I am still celebrating now, the celebrations won't stop until I go downstairs.

"Things like that don't happen, it was like Roy of the Rovers, I couldn't imagine anyone from a little village in Cornwall doing that."



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