Pick trick makes Pool's glory night
I FORECAST that Blackpool would
win this Lancashire derby at Preston
to take themselves back to the First Division,
but I never dreamt that it would
be so easy for them.
Blackpool didn't just win. They were
streets ahead of a Preston side who will now
be relegated to the Third Division for the first
time in their long and illustrious history.
In what was the most
important match since
the 1953 Cup Final for
Seasiders won by a
And the man they
have to thank is hat-trick
hero Fred Pickering, who was right on the
spot to clinch victory with three great goals
which sent the Blackpool supporters in the
34,000 crowd mad with delight.
Pickering, the ex-Blackburn Rovers,Everton
and Birmingham City striker, and top
scorer for Blackpool this season, took his goal
tally for the club to 18 as Preston were systematically
taken to pieces. And not even the
most rabid Preston fan could complain about
the result of this match.
North End were white mice who crumpled
in the face of the terrors in tangerine.
For ten brief minutes at the start of the
game it looked as though it might be a contest
but Pickering's 16th minute opening goal for
Blackpool demolished that idea.
This was Blackpool's biggest away win of a
memorable season and I venture to say it was
probably the easiest away game they have
played this season, although theirs was a fine
performance and no one would want to take
anything away from them.
The Blackpool fans – and they seem to constitute
at least half the crowd packed into
Deepdale – had it virtually all their own way.
Only 16 minutes had elapsed when Blackpool
struck with chilling force. Mickey Burns
moved away on the right, held off a tacke
from left back Jim McNab and floated over a
perfect centre for Pickering to head home off
the inside of the post.
Preston's reply was lethargic. Only Archie
Gemmill, the little forward whose skill and
appetite for work has made him a target for
other clubs, constituted any threat.
Gemmill was responsible for two of Preston's
three goal efforts in the entire match ...
none of which, I might add, troubled Blackpool
goalkeeper Harry Thomson to any extent.
Blackpool, always moving quicker to the
ball had time to look up and direct their passes
accurately as Preston stumbled around in
midfield hesitated at the back and never
looked capable of pulling back the deficit.
Five minutes from the interval Blackpool
struck again and effectively killed off the
game as a contest as Tommy Hutchison,who
tormented the Preston defence, kept the ball
in play on the left touchline before sending a
peach of a ball up the line to Bill Bentley,who
had intelligently run on for the ball.
Bentley's cross was perfection itself and
Pickering again lying handy in the box,
rammed the ball straight into the net with
This goal was the best executed of the three
and it tolled the death knell of Preston's
In the second half, too, Blackpool always
dictated things with the sparkling Hutchison
a terror to the Preston defence. In the 58th
minute the leggy winger raced past Bert
Patrick for the umpteenth time to crack in a
great shot that Alan Kelly only half-stopped.
As the ball squirmed out of the keeper's
grasp, opportunist Pickering was there to tap
it over the line.
Three up with more than a third of the
game still to go. Blackpool were in easy street
and quite honestly they were in a different
In the closing minutes almost every Blackpool
supporter in the ground broke into a
thunderous chant of 'Blackpool, Blackpool'.
And it was a merited tribute for a fine team
performance from a side who were always
When Fred sent Pool up and PNE down
ASK any Seasider fan of a certain
age to name their top five games
and it's a fair bet the 3-0 win at
Deepdale in April 1970 will be included.
The Seasiders victory, completed
with a memorable hat-trick by Fred
Pickering, not only secured the
Seasiders' promotion back into the
top flight of English football but
also sent rivals PNE tumbling into
It was a glorious moment for the
jubilant Tangerine supporters and
in the midst of the heady celebrations,
chairman William Cartmell
declared that it was "only the beginning"
"Now we have to work and plan for
the future," declared the chairman.
"Now we must think of going into
Cartmell, a successful local businessman
who had taken over just 12
months before, added: "It's not really
time to celebrate; it's time to roll
up our sleeves and get on with the
"We have ambitions. Not only do we
want to stay in the First Division,we
want to make a success of it.
"We want to give our supporters
not only First Division football but
European football as well and the
aim for me is to finish high enough
next season to qualify for the Fairs
Cup competition at least."
Alas history records that Cartmell's
bold aims didn't quite materialise.
Blackpool lost their opening
game of the next season 3-0 at Huddersfield
and despite early victories
over West Brom and Newcastle, the
rest of the campaign was an unmitigated
disaster as the Seasiders won
just two more league matches in the
entire remaining eight months of the
They finished rock bottom by
some distance and suffered relegation
back into Division Two. Pool
have not been back into the top flight
The nightmare campaign also saw
the public turn away from Bloomfield
Road in their droves. The attendance
for the first match back in the
big time at Bloomfield Road, against
Liverpool, was 23,818.
Nine months later, for the penultimate
game at home to Crystal
Palace, just 8,905 turned up ... a sign
of things to come.
But forget all that. Pickering's
magic hat-trick will always live in
the memory of those in Tangerine.
Just try and forget what happened
* HAT-TRICK hero Pickering had been bought by Pool for 45,000 the previous season from Birmingham City.
* The treble which secured the Seasiders' promotion back to the big time was his first hat-trick in a Tangerine shirt.
* Pickering started his career with Blackburn before moving to Everton and then Birmingham.
* After clinching the historic victory at Deepdale, the first thing Pickering told the press was: "It will be great to go back to Everton next season and that's what I'm most excited about.
* "When Blackpool picked up five points out of six at Easter (it was two points for a victory in those days), I thought we would go up.
* "Now we are finally there it is a tremendous feeling and I'm just delighted I managed to play my part in getting us there."
* Pickering followed his Deepdale heroics by being selected for the England team to play Scotland ... though unfortunately not the real thing.
* Pickering was selected to take part in a charity match between England and Scotland, with the teams made up of former internationals in aid of British Heart Foundation.
* The teams for the match, which became an annual event for a few years after, were picked by Jimmy Hill and one-time Scot keeper Tommy Younger.
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