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The Independent Online
Everton broke the British domestic transfer record in March 1964 when they paid £90,000 for Fred Pickering, who justified his reputation as the Alan Shearer of his day by scoring 56 League goals in 97 games, as well as playing a major role in the triumphant FA Cup campaign of 1966, before injury ruled him out of the final.

He won his three England caps - scoring five goals - while at Everton, but although he is delighted to see them back at Wembley, he draws greater pleasure from the success of his home-town club, Blackburn Rovers, where he began and ended his career. "I'm glad for Everton and for Joe Royle, who was a young apprentice when I was there, but all my life I've always looked for Blackburn's result first," he said.

"I've not met Jack Walker since he became involved, but in the Sixties, while I didn't know him personally, we used to drink in the same pub. He wasn't worth so much then, but it was always his ambition to become a director of the club."

After spells with Birmingham and Blackpool, Pickering enjoyed a brief Rovers swan-song before a knee injury forced him to retire in 1971. Today, aged 54, living five minutes from Ewood Park, he works the night shift at a plastics firm, driving a fork-lift truck. "It is not ideal. I used to think it was only thieves and pavement-walkers who worked at night, but you have to take what's available," he said.

Jon Culley