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Roy of the Rovers

Updated on November 12, 2009

All about Roy of the Rovers

Roy of the Rovers is a British comic strip about fictional footballer Roy Race and details of his life and exploits. The Comic Strip ran in various publications between 1954 and 2001. Initially the strip was a weekly feature in Tiger Comic but by 1976 Roy of the Rovers was part of its own weekly comic magazine by 1993 due to a drop off in sales this was scaled back to a Monthly magazine. This coincided with the end of Roy Race's playing career after he lost his foot in a helicopter crash. The monthly magazine focused on Roy;s son Rocky who also played for Melchester Rovers, but the drop in sales could not be halted and publication stopped after 19 monthly issues. In 1997 the strip was resurrected in Match of the Day magazine and continued until the magazine's close in May 2001, they currently represent the latest printed Roy of the Rovers stories. Alot of this information comes from a fantastic book Roy of the Rovers - The Unauthorised Biography

If you are interested please also have a look at my Hub about Johnny Dexter Roy's teammate and adversary.

Early History 1954-70

The Roy of the Rovers story followed the career of Roy Race, a striker for Melchester Rovers, with particular emphasis on his characteristic left-footed shot, nicknamed "Racey's Rocket". The first episode began with a teenaged Roy and his best friend, Blackie Gray signing for Melchester Rovers after being spotted playing for a youth club team by Melchester talent scout Alf Leeds. A year later, he made his first-team debut and soon became a star. In their second season Melchester finished fourth in the League and followed this up the next year by becoming Leaguee Champions.

In his fourth Season 1958-59, Roy was appointed captain of Melchester Rovers and led them to FA Cup victory. The year after (1959-60) they were League champions again and the year after that (1960-61) FA Cup winners again. In 1961-62 Melchester Rovers played in Europe for the first time and the follwoing year (1962-63) Roy played his first game for England as Melchester again became League Champions.

Melchester Rovers success continued under their inspirational captain with successive European Cup, World Club Cup, and FA Cup wins. However despite winning the European Cup again in 1966-67 Melchester Rovers only avoided relegation in the last game of the season by beating Melboro 7-0.

Melchester then carried on their successful history by becoming League Champions, European Cup Winners, World Club Cup and FA Cup winners and European Cup Winners in succesive seasons. Until in 1971-72 they eventually did the double of the FA Cup and League Championship.

Roy of the Rovers Annuals at Amazon

History 1974 - 1993

In the 1974-75 season Roy Race was made Player Manager of Melchester Rovers and they win the European Cup. !975-76 was a quiet year for Melchester as they failed to win any trophies but Roy got married and scored a hat-trick for England. In 1977-78 success continued as Melchester Rovers became League Champions again and Roy Race became the worlds first International caretaker manager when he took over as England Manager but subsequently turned down the full-time job.

1978 - 80 saw continued success as UEFA Cup winners and then League Champions until disaster struck and Melchester Rovers were relegated to Division 2 at the end of the 1980-81 season. This was only to last one year as they became Second Division champions in 1981-82 with a record number of wins and also a new league goal scoring record after racking up 14 against Keysborough.

1982-83 sees Roy resign as Melchester Rovers manager and join rivals Walford Rovers only to rejoin Melchester the next season just in time for them to defeat Walford 2-1 in the FA Cup final.

In 1984-85 Roy captains England and is named in the squad for the 1986 World Cup. Between 1984 and 1987 have to be content with success in the European Cup Winners Cup, the Milk Cup and then the Littlewoods Cup.

Success returned in 1987-88 as Melchester were again crowned League Champions before again the next season only avoiding relegation by beating Melboro in the last game of the season. 1989-90 saw aMelchester again lifting the FA Cup and in 1990-91 Roy jnr signs for Melchester to join his father. In 1991-92 Melchester again are crowned League Champions.

However in 1992-93 things start going wrong, Roy resigns live on Sky TV only to later be reinstated but then in March 1993 he crashes his helicopter and is left critically injured and in a coma.

History 1993 onwards

Out of the coma, Roy learns that his left foot has been amputated. He recovers and leaves hospital to become manager of Italian side AC Monza. His son 'Rocky', continues his father's tradition as 'Roy of the Rovers', scoring on his Melchester debut. At the end of the 1994-95 season he scores a late winner which ensures premiership survival for the Rovers. However, soon after that match a Melchester Director is found guilty of attempting to bribe the opposition to throw the game. At the end of the season Roy quits as manager of Monza and Rocky leaves Melchester for fierce local rivals Melborough.

1995-96 sees more players leaving Melchester and they are eventually relegated into Division 1. In 1996-97 Roy again returns to Melchester Rovers in time to save them from a further ignominous drop into Division 2 (the old Division 3).

In 1997-98 Melchester Rovers under Roy Race's management return to the Premiership after winning the Play Off Final. By 1998-99 Melchester Rovers are back to their winning ways as Roy steers them to another FA Cup win.

Melchester Rovers Facts and Figures

  1. Ground Capacity 56,000 (all seated)
  2. Record Attendance 68,000 versus Prestwich North End, FA Cup 6th Round, 1950
  3. Pitch Measurements 115 yds x 75 yds.
  4. Chairman/ Chief Executive Daniel Vinter
  5. Directors Lawrence Vinter, Roy Race, Lionel Ellis, Richard Hodgson, Andrew Harvey
  6. Managing Director Melinda Race
  7. Manager Roy Race
  8. Assistant Manager/ Coach Geoff Giles
  9. Physio Debbie Gibson
  10. Reserve Coach Mervyn Wallace
  11. Youth Coach Andy McClaren
  12. Secretary Thomas Cleary
  13. Foundation Formed by workers at the Crib Lane Freight Company on the River Mel. Alderman Jonathan Drake was so impressed with the team's enthusiasm and spirit he agreed to buy some vacant ground close by called Reckton Park.He was also instrumental in acquiring the current Mel Park site and the club entered the second division of the Southern League in 1900. Their captain at the time was Jock Cameron.
  14. Previous Grounds Reckton Park, Melchester. When part of the main stand was burnt out during a gale, Rovers were forced to vacate Reckton Park and take up residence at their now-famous Mel Park.
  15. Turned Professional 1900 
  16.  Previous Name None 
  17. Club Nickname Rovers 
  18. First Football League Game Versus Elbury Wanderers, Division 2, 3rd September, 1902 
  19. Record League Victory 14-0 v Keysborough, 11th February 1982 
  20. Record Cup Victory 8-0 v Kelburn, 4th January 1979 
  21. Record Defeat 1-9 v Eastfield, 1912-13 
  22. Most League Points (2 for a win) Division 1, 1967-68 
  23. Most League Points (3 for a win) Premier Division, 1990-91
  24. Colours Red shirts, red shorts, both with yellow markings, red and yellow hooped stockings 
  25. Change Colours White shirts, white shorts, both with red markings, white with red and yellow turn-over stockings 
  26. Year Formed 1885 


Div One Champions - 1931,1932, 1933, 1951, 1958, 1960, 1963, 1968, 1972, 1973, 1977, 1980, 1988, 1992

Div One Play-Off Winners - 1998

Div Two Champions - 1903, 1982

FA Cup - 1907, 1934, 1937, 1938, 1947, 1953, 1959, 1961, 1966, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1984, 1990, 1999

League Cup - 1974, 1986, 1987

European Cup = 1964, 1969, 1973

European Cup Winners' Cup - 1967, 1971, 1975, 1985

UEFA Cup - 1979

Did you Know The first Race to be associated with the club was in the early 1900's when Billy Race, Roy's great grandfather, lifted the 1907 FA Cup.


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