Social Icons

The Unofficial Greek
Roy of the Rovers
fan club

Κυριακή, 2 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

Roy of the Rovers and me‏

I would love to say that it was love at first sight but if I'm honest as a young kid I had no interest in the adventures of Roy Race and the mighty Melchester Rovers.

Comics have always been my life and even before I could read every long journey was equipped with a collection of comics for me to look through. Spiderman, Batman, Superman and even the Beano and Dandy comics were my favorites... who wants to read about football when I've got superheroes. My earliest memory of Roy of the Rovers was hearing that Spandau Ballet and the annoying one of Question of Sport (Emlyn Hughes) played for them really turned me off the comic.

So what was it that changed my mind?

The strange thing is I can still remember it now 20+ years later. I was watching daytime TV and they showed Mike White working on a page of RotR and the interview said that Roy Race was teaming up with Gary Lineker, this was in 1989 when RotR's merged with Hot Shot... As I was going on a long bus journey that weekend I asked my mum to add RotR's to my comic list.

The story at the time was that Roy had broken his arm playing football with his son and was doubtful for a game against Burndean, Rovers had previously lost 6-3 to Burndean so were gunning for revenge. The art impressed me straight away and the fact Rovers didn't win all the time impressed me as well. Rovers won the game 8-1 at the time Rovers were in a relegation battle and I had to see what happens next? I remember cutting out a coupon from the comic and taking it to my local newsagent asking them to reserve a copy every week.

As well as seeing what happened next I had to see why Rovers had been playing at Wembley during the season, this was before comic shops had back issues so the only way I could find out was by going to my local Barber shop! Yep thats right, my local barber shop had hundreds of issues for people to read while waiting to get their hair cut....lets just say I started getting my haircut nearly every week just so I could sit and read the back issues. I also bought the monthly Best of RotR's comics so was able to read the issues from the early 80's.

My main criticism of the RotR's story was Roy Race himself.... I struggled to suspend belief that Race played football from 1954 and was still going strong. I had started to prefer the Playmaker story featuring a young Andy Steel who started as a 15 year old and aged each season.... that was how I felt RotR's should be done. This is why I will always have a soft spot for the realism that the RotR's Monthly brought to the franchise. Rocky Race was no Roy Race.... he was not perfect however I loved he was playing in a real league with teams I could relate to rather than the Walfords, Weston Villa's etc of this world. I always used to wonder how those teams got on during the season when they were not playing Rovers.... at least with the monthlies I knew what Prestwich North End were doing as well as Toxteth, Islington etc were doing.

I was gutted when the final issue of the monthlies came out, I knew they had taken a gamble to breath life into the franchise and sadly it hadnt worked. I missed the return in Match of the Day magazine as I didnt even realise they had devoted 2 pages to it and when I did find out I did not feel it was worth paying for a mag only to read 2 pages.... I was a student so had to make sacrifices.

As a student I was studying Art and Design, expecially illustration so I kind of hoped for a return so I hope to one day draw the adventures of Roy Race, I also studyed English Language and felt that if I didnt draw the story then I could write the story. When Egmont released their official website I actually emailed them with a plot idea to bring the Races back however they never even replied. I now accept that the story will probably only live on in our imaginations or on the latest editions of Football Manager, however my partner is due to give birth to my son this Christmas and I would love for him to read the adventures of Roy of the Rovers like his father.

Darren Price (Deepex)

Cwmbran, Wales