DCSIMG

Preston 0, Blackpool 3 - Division Two, April 13, 1970

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

Blackpool, five-star

Seasiders won by a

mile.

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.

Dictated

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

his head.

This goal was the best executed of the three

and it tolled the death knell of Preston's

hopes.

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

class.

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

bosses.

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

Division Three.

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"

for Blackpool.

"Now we have to work and plan for

the future," declared the chairman.

"Now we must think of going into

Europe."

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

hard work.

"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

season.

They finished rock bottom by

some distance and suffered relegation

back into Division Two. Pool

have not been back into the top flight

since.

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

after!

* 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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