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Lionel Pickering, who died on 2 September 2006 at the age of 74, supported Derby County as a young boy.An Ashbourne man, and a sports reporter on the Derby Evening Telegraph, he emigrated to Australia where he worked for the Sydney Sun and where he met his wife, Marcia.On his return to England in 1966 he came up with the then innovative idea of establishing a free newspaper, the Derby Trader, funded entirely by advertising.Over the next 20 years his Trader Group spread across the Midlands with new sister editions being created. He also ranother businesses, including the Derby-based Raymonds press agency.Working alongside him was former Derby Telegraph sub-editor Tony Mather.Mr Pickering sold the Trader Group in 1989 and bought Derby County for £13 million in 1991, the year they were relegated fromthe original first division.He ploughedmillions into signing new players like Marco Gabbiadini, Paul Kitson, Tommy Johnson, Mark Pembridge and Craig Short.Mr Pickering took over as chairman in 1994 and the following year he appointed Jim Smith as manager, who guided the club to the Premier League in his first season, 1996.During the season, plans were announced to move to a purpose-built new stadium on Pride Park and Mr Pickering had the honour of laying the foundation stone of the new ground.It was Mr Pickering who had the vision and the foresight to realise that selling the inner-city land on which the Baseball Ground stood and building a new state-of-the-art all-seater stadium out of town was the way to go.The Queen officially opened the new Pride Park stadium in July 1997, one of Mr Pickering’s proudest moments, and the Rams recorded two top-10 finishes in the Premiership.Mr Pickering died of cancer and left three sons, William, Benjamin and Matthew. His wife Marcia had died before him from motor neurone disease.The life and work of Mr Pickering was remembered at the first game of the2009-10 season and dedicated as ‘Lionel Pickering Day’.A new memorialin his honour, The Lionel Pickering Entrance, was unveiled by his sons.The special construction is an exact replica of the former entrance ofthe Baseball Ground, using the same bricks and components from theoriginal ground.
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Published in: Online.
Published from: October 27, 2009.
Region: National
Another impromptu moment at that Pride Park official opening came just as the Queen was about to leave the stadium.As they were walking towards the tunnel, Lionel Pickering pointed out two elderly gentlemen. He told the Queen that she herself had once watched them play football in their younger days.She seemed surprised until he explained that they were Reg Harrison and Jimmy Bullions, who had been part of the Derby County squad who beat Fulham in the final of the FA Cup at Wembley in 1946, and that she had been there, accompanying her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother).It was, it seems, the first football match she had seen and she was delighted to accept Mr Pickering’s invitation to meet them.That threw the clock-watching royal organisers into a panic for, firstly, the Queen never ever changed from a pre-destined route and, secondly, unless it was a walkabout, she did not speak to people unless it had been pre-arranged.It was a change of plan which made the day for the former players and was obviously enjoyed by the Queen.
Left by Bygone 27/10/2009
The Queen's official opening of Pride Park was one of the proudest days in the life of Lionel Pickering, as the Derby Telegraph's website uk recalls.An article on the website recalls how Her Majesty was taken aback by the noise that greeted her as she stepped on to the pitch.Mr Pickering said afterwards: "“It was a tremendous, totally unexpected reaction as people gave her a real Derby welcome. She did look quite taken aback, which is surprising when you think she really must have seen everything over all those years.“But I don’t think she had ever quite been in such a position before. It must have been the same feeling a footballer experiences when he first appears out of the tunnel at Wembley at the beginning of the Cup Final.”
Left by Bygone 27/10/2009
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