Now for the continuation of the epic Mike Trebilcock story.
For Part One of this article please click here.
Despite his heroics in the 1966 FA Cup Final Trebilcock assumed his usual position of spectator for the start of the 1966/67 season and for the next 18 months struggled to establish himself as a regular in the First Division Everton side.
Meanwhile, down at Fratton Park the 1967/68 campaign was going well Pompey were top at Christmas but needed a goalscorer to secure promotion. Two names were mentioned: Middlesbrough’s prolific striker John O’Rourke and Everton’s Mike Trebilcock.
In January 1968, lying second in the table, Pompey forked out a new club record of £40,000 for Trebilcock leaving Ipswich to snap up O’Rourke for £10,000 less
‘Trebs’ made his debut away to Rotherham in February ’68 and gave a good account of himself and although he was unable to mark his debut with a goal Albert McCann benefited from his contribution by following up to score after ‘Trebs’ had hit the bar. It wasn’t long before ‘Trebs’ had the Fratton faithful on their feet as three minutes into his Fratton debut against Derby he scored helping Pompey to a 3-2 victory.
But that was it… his goal touch deserted him and he was not to score another league goal in his next 12 appearances. Pompey were to finish the season in 5th place. Ironically, Ipswich had seemed to make the right decision as O’Rourke’s goals won them promotion to Division 1 along with QPR.
It was to be the FA Cup that would again feature highly in ‘Trebs’ career. Having beaten Peterborough in the 3rd round Pompey had held Fulham to a 0-0 draw at Craven Cottage in the 4th and the thought of a cup run caught the city’s imagination; the replay was played out in front of a ground bursting 44,050 crowd, the best attendance at Fratton Park for 16 years. ‘Trebs’ saw Pompey through with a single goal in a 1-0 victory and we were in the 5th round for the first time since 1959.
Unfortunately, Pompey were to progress no further eventually losing 2-1 to West Brom, a game again watched by a staggering crowd of 42,542 which, at the time, held claim the record for Pompey’s largest gate receipts for a game – £11,976
‘Trebs’ continued to score the odd goal here and there but it wasn’t until the 70/71 season that he really started to live up to his reputation and even then his appearances were still somewhat intermittent.
On October 3rd 1970 ‘Trebs’ returned to the side and bagged a hat-trick as Pompey thrashed Watford 5-0, a result with highlighted Pompey’s inconsistencies at the time, as in their next game they suffered a 5-1 home defeat at the hands of Sheffield United a game for which ‘Trebs’ had been dropped. Another three straight defeats followed which dumped Pompey down to 18th position in the league.
For the following game against Blackburn ‘Trebs’ was restored to the line-up and within a period of eight minutes, in front of the Fratton crowd claimed the honour of becoming the first player in Pompey’s post-war history to score two hat-tricks in a month, a feat only equalled by Hateley (Nov ’83) and Whittingham (Jan ’91) since, as Pompey cruised to a 4-1 victory.
But once again it would be the FA Cup that saw him shine the most. ‘Trebs’ and Ray Hiron scored in a 2-0 victory over highflying Sheffield United in the 3rd round which set up a 4th round tie with the mighty Arsenal.
On 23rd January 1971 a crowd of 39,659 saw Pompey take on Bertie Mee’s Arsenal. The North London club were the first to strike when Peter Story scored from a first half penalty after Georgie Ley handled on the line, but it was ‘Trebs’ who again grabbed the glory when, in the dying seconds, he equalized by converting a right wing cross at the far post to ensure Pompey had another chance in a replay.
As we know, Arsenal won the replay at Highbury 3-2 and went on to record their first and most famous ‘Double’. Pompey by contrast came crashing down to earth in their next match as they were beaten 4-1 by a Carlisle side who recorded their first ever victory at Fratton Park and their first win on their travels since Boxing day 1969!
In total, Trebilcock stayed at Fratton Park for four years netting 37 times in 111 games, before a free transfer took him to Torquay United in July 1972 where he managed 10 goals from 24 League games in his one season at Plainmoor leaving in June 1973 to join Weymouth on a free transfer.
In March 1974 he emigrated to Australia where he played for Western Suburbs and according to our very own Pompeygray who once met Mike along with former Pompey keeper Ron Tilsed in the Lauenblau Keller in Sydney he is currently coaching in the Northern Territory.
Mike Trebilcock was not a superstar but his knack of popping up in front of large crowds (especially in the FA Cup) and grabbing the glory is what makes him a worthy candidate for a focus as Pompey prepare to play Everton this weekend.
Written by Chix.
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