Roy of the Rovers returns

Forget Lionel Messi. For football fans of a certain age there’s only one player who deserves the accolade of being the world’s greatest and his name is Roy Race.

Modelling a blonde bob – which wonderfully dates his most prolific period – Roy of the [Melchester] Rovers was once the poster boy for the impossible comeback, for outrageous and impossible goals and for having an impeccably managed mane of hair throughout the 1970s, 80s and into the 90s.

A goal machine, who has lived through an earthquake, survived a terrorist bomb and even beat death after being shot by lone gunman Elton Blake, Roy was thought to have been finally laid to rest by the demise of print media and the rise of the digital age.

However, just like in any good comic, hope is at hand just when all before had seemed lost, as Roy has made a miraculous recovery to appear in five re-issued volumes of his and Melchester’s heroic escapades.

And with the first volume being released free of charge on iBooks, the fans around Mel Park are sure to raise the roof at the news of Roy’s glorious return.

Featuring 11 consecutive two/three page comics from the beginning of the 1976-77 season, the first volume features Roy as the cub’s newly appointed player-manager, before being offered a £30,000 wager to score 50 league and cup goals by Meadway Supermarkets and later mauled by an overly critical journalist with shifty eyes.

The fact the quality of the image varies could be viewed as a technical drawback, but the occasional variations in detail and colour only add to the nostalgia associated with Roy Race and the brilliant kit with the yellow stripe.

Now, if only I could perfect Roy’s straight-legged striking action that always seemed to end with the ball nestled in the top corner, with an adoring crowd providing amusing and quick witted in-match quips and comments, I’d be a very happy man.

Tags: Melchester Rovers, Premier League, Roy of the Rovers

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