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16 May 1966

By John Kernaghan :  21/05/2009 :  Comments (6) :
The day Everton won the FA Cup and I met the Prime Minister

I was there at the 1966 final, a youth of just 17 years, it seems a very long time ago... it was a long time ago and looking back it makes you realise just how different things were, as the following may illustrate.

We had travelled down to Wembley on the overnight train from Lime Street... even leaving Lime Street on the Friday was an event, there were crowds hanging over the railings, wishing us well, almost reminiscent of the scenes when troops went off to war.

We arrived at Euston at a very early hour on the Saturday morning, early enough for the tubes not to be running. I remember how good the weather was with clear blue skies. We just followed the ones in front, a mass of Blue and White plastic hats snaking into the centre of London. We eventually arrived at Piccadilly Circus; I think it was Fortes restaurant that had a ?Cup Final Breakfast? for something like 7 shillings and 6 pence ? Not that much in today?s money but a big amount in 1966, I was an apprentice at Cammell Laird, earning something like £7 per week and a pint of beer was about 2 shillings. After much wandering around we ended back at the said Fortes Restaurant and had a really good feed.

It was then off on the sightseeing tour. It was my first time in London and, in those days, travel, even around the UK, was an event. We went to the Houses of Parliament and the like. There was some talk of us all meeting up in Trafalgar Square at about 10 and we were on our way up Whitehall to the square when coming in the opposite way were a few hundred Evertonians on their way to Downing Street. We joined in and marched straight into the famous street. Downing Street was, in those days, readily accessible, not like the fortress of today. You could approach from both ends and it was used as a short cut from Horse Guards Parade to Whitehall.

The arrival of a few hundred football supporters did cause a bit of a stir, the token policemen on the door were soon joined by a few others, not that many, and we were all ushered to the pavement opposite. The chants were ?We want to meet the Prime Minister? and ?We will not be moved?. It was obvious that we would not be moved and after quite a few minutes the famous door opened and out strode Harold Wilson with signature wave and pipe. Not sure that the Old Bill was all that happy about this but Harold came over and started pressing the flesh, kept saying that his team was Huddersfield, I well remember the aroma from his pipe. While all this was going on, his wife Mary was talking photos of us from an upper window.

After some time and having shook quite a few hands, Harold went back in again with his characteristic wave and we were ushered away by the police. As you can expect, there was much scepticism when we recounted this event but some time later Harold Wilson did tell of his meeting with us when he appeared on the Parkinson show.

The rest was, as they say, history. The game had the great highs and lows... After we went 2 down, we were out on our feet thinking about an early exit but after the equaliser went in we knew we would win and we ended up in the fountains of Trafalgar Square. Another overnight on the train back to Lime Street and home at about 5 in the morning

One of the happiest days of my life, almost matched at the recent semi... and hopefully I will enjoy similar feelings on the 30th May.

Reader Comments

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Nick Lees
1   Posted 22/05/2009 at 16:39:08

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Nice one, John. Yes, it was some time over that weekend. We got back at some unearthly hour, can?t really remember.

As I said in an earlier post my big memory was when they came home. We lived in Upper Beau St by the Friary Church and walked down to Lime Street early to se them at St Georges Hall. Never seen so many people in my life. Lime Street was jam packed and remember there had been 10s of thousands lining the route on the way in. Brilliant. 1995 was a minor event compared to that Sunday. God I hope we can relive it at the end of the month.

Clive Edwards
2   Posted 22/05/2009 at 17:10:30

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It was the 14th not the 16th. I was even younger than you. I remember getting off the tube from Stanmore and seeing Dixie Dean at the bottom of Wembley Way. I asked for his autograph but he was surrounded by journalists. He said he would sign when we reached Wembley. True to his word he did and had a photo taken with me by one of the newspaper men.

I also remember the song everyone was singing after the game. It was about Mike Trebilcock. Someone must have just made it up, to the tune of "She?ll be coming round the mountain when she comes..." It started; "He?s the best little nigger in the land, he?s the best.................
and his name is Michael Trebilcock, and his name is Michael Trebilcock, and his name is Michael, Michael, Michael, Michael, Michael Trebilcock!"

Can anyone else remember it?
Dave Roberts
3   Posted 22/05/2009 at 17:03:39

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Great story John! My own memories of that day are quite distinct too although I wasn’t at Downing Street.

I was 18 years old and a trainee tailor in Richmond Street working for my uncle. Although he was a kopite he guided me in making myself a Beatle suit in Royal Blue curtain material for the trip to Wembley! I bought the material in Lewis’ while I was dropping off try-ons at the old Tailoring department which used to be on the fourth floor.

I didn’t have any mates at that time who were interested in footy and used to go to the match with my dad but due to him having a thrombosis a few weeks before the day he couldn’t go to Wembley so I went on my own on a coach that picked me up in Garston.

With my Royal Blue suit I wasn’t on my own for long!

I wish I could say I still have the suit but if you remember it was quite a warm day, especially in Wembley itself and at some point I took the jacket off and stuck it between my feet. I never saw it again! It got lost in the excitement.

Great memories of a great day and one of the most memorable Finals of all time which never receives the plaudits it deserves. I have it on tape even now and still watch it from time to time.
Norman Merrill
4   Posted 22/05/2009 at 20:45:50

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John, great memories, I was in my 20s and besides the straw boaters, draped in blue and white, that everyone wore, that was the Cup Final that saw all the fountains awash with dolly blues.

Thank you for bringing it all back, and I hope next weekend is as good... In fact it will be even better, because our fans have not changed, and we will make it a final to remember. COYB.

Dick Fearon
5   Posted 22/05/2009 at 23:31:29

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My only regret about that wonderful weekend was not greeting the team when the cup arrived at Merseyside. I was 27 and instead of being back home and in Lime Street to welcome our happy warriors, I was sleeping it off in a hedgerow somewhere near Silverstone race track.

The trip to London, Wembley itself and a meandering journey home were and still are lost in a disgustingly drunken happy haze. If impressionable youngsters happen to read this, please take my advice to go easy on the booze.

Chris Hockenhull
6   Posted 23/05/2009 at 10:40:38

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I remember it so well despite being 10 years old but also for a day that - if I had been a few years older- could well have been an even greater day in my life. On the morning of May 14 1966 I had been doing some extra school maths work (not my decision) with my aunt but my concentration was nil as I literally counted the minutes away to when I could get back home for the BBC showing.of the final.

I can still feel the dissapointment as we were 0-2 down but then the fight back commenced and when Temple hit the winner I recall my father - in an absoulutely rare showing of emotion - leaping around the darkened living room (didn’t everyone always watch the cup final in a strictly curtains closed room - I still do!!) like a man possessed.

I do clearly remember Jimmy Gabriel keeping the ball in the corner flag position despite the attentions of a couple of Wednesday players in order to count down the clock and winning a throw in with arms aloft and a beaming smile to say "we’re nearly there".

Unknown to me whilst I was bored doing my sums earlier that morning, some other similar aged Everton fans were enacting their version of the cup final on some waste ground on Dublin Street ,near the dock road ,when a curious Bob Dylan came across them and had some photos taken.. That night one of rocks greatest tours played at the Odeon and If I had been a few years older I may well have been there and what a 24 hours that could have been except I was oblivious to the evenings events at that time.

Years later I made a short BBC film about the Dylan event and insisted that reference to the day included Everton’s Wembley triumph. The producer wanted to also include some footage of Liverpool winning the league in order to show what a great May it was for Merseyside. I fought strongly - and won - not to have any reference to Liverpool FC in the film and managed to have some Everton footage in the completed film. Indeed when I went to Woodstock to interview the photographer of the Dylan pictures I had to explain to a bemused american what the FA Cup Final was all about for me that day! He even went on to mention our win in a revised book of his photos of the 1966 tour (NB The film is on YouTube under ’Dylan Kids Liverpool 1966’). Somebody once promised me - but failed to produce - photos of Dylan taken later that evening outside the Adelphi with a bunch of returning from Wembley fans with their Everton banners etc..

So that day will always be with me for various reasons. I saw Bob 3 weeks ago and hope that history will repeat itself - not quite to the same day - next week.

DO IT BLUES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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