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Roy of the Rovers
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Τετάρτη, 20 Φεβρουαρίου 2013

What 'Roy of the Rovers' means to me

My love of football can partly be traced to Roy of the Rovers. I was not around when the weekly Roy of the Rovers story started in the first issue of Tiger on 11 September, 1954 but when the stand alone comic began in 1976, I followed the exploits of Roy Race religiously until the tragic closure of the comic on 20 March, 1993. For me, Roy of the Rovers represents the glamorous and unpredictable nature of football with last-minute goals in Cup finals and a never-say-die attitude which I try to take with me every time I step on the pitch.
Some of the Roy of the Rovers story lines are unforgettable. For example, in 1981, Melchester Rovers were sensationally relegated to Division 2, Roy was shot by Elton Blake (in my world this story was much bigger than 'who shot JR Ewing?') and Sir Alf Ramsey took over as caretaker manager. During the 1982/'83 season Roy did the unthinkable and joined Walford Rovers but his heart wasn't in it and he returned to Melchester the following season to lead the Reds to an FA Cup final victory ... over Walford, of course. Melchester's summer tour to Basran in 1986 coincided with a coup by native rebel forces and eight team members, including Vic Guthrie, Kenny Logan, Jimmy Slade and Trevor Cassidy, lost their lives. The surviving players were rescued by an SAS unit. In 1987, Roy's son - Roy Jr - ran away from home and in 1988 Mel Park (home ground of the Rovers) was destroyed by an 'earthquake' (caused by the collapse of old mining tunnels under the stadium). Three years later, Roy rejected an offer of €8 million to become manager of the USA national team; 
1991/1992 saw him set a new English league scoring record of 436 goals; he resigned as Melchester's player-manager live on Sky TV in 1992/1993 but quickly changed his mind. At the end of that fateful season, Roy crashed his helicopter and was left critically injured and in a coma. He came out of the coma to learn that his famous left foot had been amputated. Roy's next move was to leave England to take over as manager of Italian side AC Monza, leaving Roy Jr (aka Rocky) to continue his father's tradition at Melchester.


What a man! Thanks for the memories Roy. Every kid needs a Roy of the Rovers in their life.

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