First Issue: 25th September 1976
Last Issue: 20th March 1993
Copyright: Egmont UK Limited
Some twenty years after joining Melchester Rovers, at a time when most football careers are coming to an end, Roy Race became player manager of Melchester Rovers in 1974. The 1970’s were a significant time for Roy who married Penny Laine and had two children Melinda and Roy Junior also known as Rocky. The 1970’s also saw another arrival with the appearance of Roy’s own comic. Tiger comic had been going strong for over thirty years with the aid of their front cover hero, Roy Race.
It was time for the Roy of the Rovers strip to get its own comic called unsurprisingly Roy of the Rovers. Roy of the Rovers, like Scorcher before it was a mixture of football stories, picture and quizzes. Some of the notable stories in the comic were, Mike’s Mini Men which told the story of a Subuteo football league and Tommy’s Troubles.
The Hard Man, The Football and many more including a unique strip called You are the Star in which a blank space was left for you to fill in your name. The strip viewed the world through your own eyes making you the football star. The Roy of the Rovers weekly was a dazzling success and survived up until 1993. Roy Race like Dan Dare continues to pop up from time to time in different publications and will no doubt continue to do so in the future.
After the launch of Roy of the Rovers comic, the Roy of the Rovers strip continued to be printed in both Tiger comic and Roy of the Rovers comic. Tiger comic sadly came to an end in 1985 with its merger with The Eagle (2). The Roy of the Rovers strip appeared in the Today newspaper in 1986. The Roy of the Rovers comic continued until 20th March 1993 when Roy was involved in a helicopter crash which led to the loss of his foot and also the end of the Roy of the Rovers weekly comic.
Roy of the Rovers' fans from all over the World
Nowadays the comics are vastly different and I for one prefer the older style. I wish they would recommence the stories or else reprint the old ones again. I went onto the website, Impressive. It would be nice to have photo's of the issue or else I would like to know a bit more about the contents within the issue - Nipper transfers to Melchester, Roy plays for England, Last ever Jack and Jimmy story type of thing. Thank you for the work in putting it together.
I collected Roy of the Rovers comic and Tiger and Roar upon graduating to older comics from Beano when I was 13. Being a football fanatic I read any comic with a football story. My favourite was Roy of the Rovers (the story) and Nipper. My collection of Roy of the Rovers continued until I migrated to Australia in 1985. I continued to get the comic posted to Oz from UK by my mum for a few months but the cost was a bit excessive. I then got the local newsagent to order it for me, however it came out sea freight and was 3 months out of date. About the final 2 years of its existence it arrived in Oz by air freight and I got it from the news agency once a week and up to date. I also became an avid webpage viewer, and still am.
I remember (and still retain) the first ROTR that I purchased in 1969 where Rovers signed the west Indian winger Vernon Elliot from Stanport. My favourite character in ROTR was Jimmy Slade until his fateful demise in the Basran disaster, Nat "Granddad" Gosden and in the later period of it's existence Terry Spring and Kevin Clark. I liked the stories that started out as their own and then integrated with Roy of the Rovers - Johnny Dexter (Hard Man), Rapper Hardisty (Loudmouth), Kevin Clark (Clark's Chance) and also stories where other stars of their own story line met Rovers in the cup (Mike Williams, City).
My favourite characters all had a bit of a rebel streak but were very professional and born winners. They did not accept second best. I wish real football had more of these characters rather that the money grabbing type that personify the game now - not that I wouldn't turn down 60,000 pounds a week! I liked to keep details of players like their age, family, girlfriend, other jobs, international caps etc. This made them seem more real life.
My other favourite was Nipper - Nipper Lawrence who was of the same character as my favourites in ROTR and about my age as well. He also came into ROTR when he played for England under Roy Race in 1978. My only frustration of the story was I never knew his Christian name - he was always Nipper. I followed his story line in Score and then Tiger until his final years when he was player/manager of Blackport Rovers.
When I migrated to Australia I had to give away my entire collection of comics, which was a terrible shame. I did stuff into my suitcases one copy of all the different magazines I read - Eagle, Hurricane, Valiant, Victor, Roy of the Rovers, Tiger, Shoot, Match. Since I remarried my partner surprises me at birthdays and Christmases with a Roy of the Rovers Annual which she purchases through eBay. I have a collection of about 20 now, which I am very proud of. She has also purchased the playing strip, a commemorative mug, a Subbuteo team - all in Melchester Rovers colours. She is Australian and had never heard of any of it before she met me but she knows the story line very well now. She even knows Roy race's wife (now deceased) is Penny!!
As a youngster I used to keep lists of all the English players from all the stories that where inter linked and pick my alternate England side. I'm sure they would have gone well in the world cup if they were real! Hopefully more and more people will get involved in the comic scene and we can relive our childhood’s again!
Patrick Mills, Australia.