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Johnny Dexter, The Hard Man, was a footballer in British boys comic strips featured in Roy of the Rovers. He was one of the most popular characters in the comic even featuring on the cover of one of the annuals.
His nickname, Hard Man, came from his tough tackling and fiery temper which often got him into trouble with referees, he was hard in an age of football where that was seen as a plus. Johnny Dexter was hard but fair and had a strict moral code, even giving the crowd a fierce half-time rebuke after some abusive chanting.
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Johnny Dexters Profile
Johnny Dexter initially played for Danefield United, but was transferred to Spanish team Real Granpala, where he first encountered Hungarian manager Viktor Boskovic, who followed him back to Danefield when he returned there. Boskovic camp was a fat, bald-headed camp character, who was fond of kissing his players when they performed well, and often fainted during moments of high drama.
In 1985 his first team place was taken by rising star, Bobby Williams, during a pre-season tour of the continent. This prompted Johnny to put in a transfer request, which Boskovic accepted. Surprisingly considering the fact that he was a former England international, the only club to make a bid for Johnny was Burnside Athletic, who had finished bottom of Division 4 in three of the previous four seasons. Johnny was given a free transfer.
At Burnside Dexter changed the attitude of his fellow players soon Boskovic was hired as Burnside's manager and again displayed his unorthodox methods, including making the team wear clown costumes at half-time when they were playing particularly badly and introducing a huge piece of apparatus resembling an assault course to training, even pushing under-perfoming players off the top into a vat full of water. At the end of the first season Dexter had managed to help Burnside gain promotion.
During the summer of 1986, Melchester Rovers team had been decimated in a terrorist attack that had killed several players. Manager Roy Race signed Dexter as he re-built the Melchester team. Johnny Dexter continued to play for Melchester Rovers for another seven years. His fiery temper often got him into trouble with Managers Blackie Gray and Mervyn Wallace during their managerial spells. He also memorably involved in an on-pitch fight with his own team-mate Rocky Race, Roy's son. He achieved many honours whilst at Melchester Rovers including a Littlewoods Cup winners medal in 1987, Football League Championship medals in 1988 and 1992, and an FA Cup Winners in 1990.
In 1997, Dexter became manager of Castlemere in the FA Premier League and he led to the FA Cup Final in 1999 where they were unluckily beaten by Melchester Rovers.