Mike Trebilcock played just fourteen times during his two year long Goodison sojourn, yet made an indelible imprint on the club’s history.
The 21 year-old Cornishman joined Everton from Plymouth Argyle for £20,000 on the last day of 1965. Harry Catterick initially used him sparingly, as an occasional forward partner to Fred Pickering, but by April Pickering was beset by injury problems and the rookie was called up in his place, notably for the FA Cup semi final against Manchester United.
Although Trebilcock held his own in the England forward’s absence, Pickering, who played in the final three games of the 1965/66 season, was expected to reclaim his place for the final, against Sheffield Wednesday. But Catterick had other plans, and felt Pickering had not sufficiently recovered. Having played just eight previous games for Everton, Trebilcock was in.
It was the biggest gamble of Catterick’s managerial career, and for the first hour it looked doomed to failure. Wednesday scored in the fourth and 57th minutes.
Nobody, however, had counted on Trebilcock. Two minutes after going 2-0 down, Derek Temple’s header was blocked and fell into the path of Trebilcock who fired home from twelve yards. Five minutes later, Alex Scott’s free kick was only half cleared and Trebilcock fired home a volley from the edge of the area. On 73 minutes Temple completed the turnaround to give Everton their FA Cup win.
‘I was looking forward to it because I had never been to Wembley and I would be sitting at Wembley with a new suit,’ said Trebilcock afterwards. ‘Then, after lunch on the Friday before the game, the manager called me. I expected to have to help out with the gear. Instead he told me I would be playing in place of the England centre forward Fred Pickering, who had been injured. If ever I have fallen off the back of my seat, that was it.’
‘Every schoolboy dreams of playing at Wembley and scoring the winner in a cup final,’ said Trebilcock. ‘But I didn’t score the winner!’
Trebilcock kept his place for the Charity Shield game with Liverpool the following August, but made just two league appearances during the 1966/67 season and two more the next season. He joined Portsmouth for £35,000 in January 1968 and after playing out his professional career with Torquay United and Weymouth emigrated to Australia.