I first came up with the idea of ‘He Played For Them Too!’ there were a few players who I imagined would be certainties for articles.
Arsenal = Merson, Villa = Whittingham, Everton = Biley … or so I thought!
The reality is that I get so engrossed in the research I find myself wondering off on a number of tangents not really that sure who I’m going to end up writing about.
So I’ve no idea how an article about Alan Biley turned into a two part saga about the life and times of a certain Mike Trebilcock, but I hope you enjoy it and promise to do Alan Biley … or Trevor Ross or … David Unsworth or maybe even Albert Juliussen or Predrag Radosavljevic, when we play Everton at Goodison later in the season.
Mike Trebilcock (or ‘3 cocks’ or ‘Trebs’ as he was known) was a Pompey favourite in the late 60’s/early 70’s netting 37 times in 111 games, but it is on the blue side of Liverpool that he is best remembered.
Despite making only eleven league appearances and scoring three league goals during a three-year spell at Goodison he still features heavily in the Toffees’ history books.
Trebilcock (born in Cornwall 1944) started his career playing for non-league Tavistock before signing for Plymouth in December ’62 where, over the course of three seasons he scored 27 goals in 70 games, before being snapped up by Everton Manager Harry Catterick for £23,000 on New Years Eve 1965.
‘Trebs’ made his big time debut a few days later against Aston Villa, but was unfortunately injured and subsequently spent most of the rest of the season on the sidelines watching his team mates progress to the semi final of the FA Cup.
Just before the semi-final, disaster stuck for Everton. Their leading scorer Fred Pickering picked up an injury and was deemed unfit to play – ‘Trebs’ (who had only played a handful of games all season) stepped into the breech and helped his team mates secure a 1-0 victory over Man United. Everton, the first team ever to reach the final without conceding a goal were to meet ‘outsiders’ Sheffield Wednesday in the 85th Cup Final and would grace Wembley for the first time in 33 years.
Pickering returned from injury to play in the three league games between the semi and final although it was clear that he was not fully match fit. Catterick had a big decision to make – Who to play in the final? It’s worth noting that substitutions were not allowed in the FA Cup in ’66 so whoever he chose had to come up with the goods and lead the Everton frontline.
As Evertonians purchased their Cup Final programme (for one shilling!) on 14th May 1966, little did they know that they were about to witness one of Wembley Stadiums most dramatic finals.
But first there was a little matter of who was playing up front. As their eyes bore down on the team sheet it was the unknown Trebilcock’s and not Goodison favourite and England’s Fred Pickering’s name the Everton fans saw. Obviously Catterick thought ‘Trebs’ could do the job, but not even he could predict what was in store…
In only the 4th minute disaster struck as a McCalliog shot deflected of the heel of Ray Wilson and found its way into the net. Wednesday were one up and Everton’s proud defensive record had gone!
The Mersey blues pressed forward and with 15 minutes on the clock everybody inside the stadium believed Everton equalised, everyone that was except referee. Jack Taylor who ruled the goal offside. First half chances were few and far between after that so Everton went in at half time 1-0 down.
Early in the second half Wednesday keeper Springett was forced to make a world class save from a Temple shot. Everton were on the up until on 54th minutes disaster struck again. Everton’s keeper West pulled off a great save from a pile driver from Fantham, only to find the ball fall at the feet of Ford who accepted the gift with ease. Everton were dead and buried at 2-0.
‘Cometh the hour, Cometh the man’ and the man was Trebilcock. Immediately after the kick-off Temple set up ‘Trebs’ and from 12 yards out he made no mistake. Four minutes later ‘Trebs’ was at it again, he picked up a free kick on the edge of the area and with the outside of his right foot smashed the ball into the back of the net. Everton were level.
What happened next has been seen on TV more times than all of Trebilcock’s career goals put together. Eddie Cavanagh an Everton-mad supporter became the first pitch invader to make the worlds press. As officials gave chase Cavanagh danced around every tackle the stewards and police made at him. At one point a policeman managed to grab his coat only to be left with it in his hands after peeling it off Eddie’s back. Eventually, Cavanagh was caught and the game recommenced.
Everton picked up where they had left off and with just 16 minutes to go Wednesdays Young failed to control the ball and it fell kindly to Temple who raced through and smashed it into the left corner past the despairing Ron Springett. In just 15 minutes Everton had reversed a two-goal deficit and for the first time in the game were ahead.
Tails up, Everton continued to press and with just a few minutes left Trebilcock had a chance to complete his hat-trick but unfortunately his shot was saved.
The final whistle was blown and Catterick’s gamble had paid off. Everton had become only the second team ever to come back from being two goals down in an FA Cup Final (the first time was the “Matthews final” of 1953) and had won one of the most dramatic cup finals 3-2.
“Fred was popular and could score goals,” said Catterick later, “but he’d been injured and gone off the boil a bit. Trebilcock was a first rate goal poacher. I always felt his sharpness would show.” Catterick, astute as ever, was right.
Trebilcock emerged as an unlikely hero on the day and was duly rewarded … his bonus for scoring twice in the cup final was £30! The rest of the team got £800 but as he had played in only in the semi & final the Everton directors believed his contribution had not been the equal to some of the other players.
For, what happened next, click here.
Written by Chix.
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