Roy's Season Review: 1982-83
Roy’s Season review is back. Having been shot last season, Racey took full advantage of last week’s Interlull to rest up ahead of another tumultuous campaign. And what a season it would be! Rovers were back in the First Division but made another tricky start as injuries to key players, including Charlie Carter, Mervyn Wallace, and Vernon Elliot, whose nasty fall during the cricket tournament celebrations gave him a torn muscle that would end his career. Melchester’s board offered Roy a war chest of transfer cash to replace the missing stars, but the boss looked for internal solutions instead. He started the pursuit of a troubled, but promising, young lad from the rough side of town, Andy Lock (although oddly this storyline never seemed to progress: Lock ran away from training, clearly hiding some sort of secret; Roy gave chase but couldn’t find him, and that was the end of it); and brought back veteran keeper Tubby Morton to cover for Carter.
It was the Tubby Morton decision – and Roy’s insistence on sticking with him for a few games after Carter’s recovery – that set in chain the momentous events of the second half of the season. Roy fell out with chairman Sam Barlow, took flak from the fans (including wild lad Trevor Brinsden), and even some of his own players. With pressures continuing at home – Penny, quite understandably, didn’t take kindly to Roy’s bizarre ‘glamour’ shoot with gymnast Suzanne Dando for Roy of the Rovers’ Christmas edition – poor Racey started to feel unwanted.
An apparent escape from his woes was offered by the chairman of Walford Rovers (I choose to believe that this is the Walford of Eastenders fame), and in the spring of 1983 (in the days before transfer windows) Roy shocked the football world by swapping clubs. Clearly this was always going to be a doomed flirtation, but any hopes of a return to Melchester seemed to be dashed when Roy returned to Mel Park in the summer for Vernon Elliot’s testimonial game. The Rovers fans made clear their love for the former boss, but Roy fell out once again with Barlow and stormed off into the night. He would begin the new season in blue.