Roy's Season Review: 1976-77
Inspired by the lovely news that Roy of the Rovers will be returning in re-booted form next football season, in a series of new books to be published by Rebellion (John Freeman covers the story on downthetubes), I’ve decided to have a look back at some of Roy Race and Melchester Rovers’ previous league campaigns.
In its weekly release format, Roy of the Rovers (as Tiger, where he rippled the onion net before being given his own paper) was able to present Roy’s adventures in almost real time, matching the warp and weft of the British Football League’s own annual seasons, from August through to May and a couple of months of close season shenanigans during each summer. The Roy of the Rovers strip followed this format faithfully for the entirety of its seventeen-year run, with each season’s ups and downs for Melchester (and Roy’s personal life) forming a self-contained arc. I’m planning to show the edited highlights of each season each week – an end of season video, if you like – through the front covers and occasional glimpses of the inside pages of this iconic comic.
All credit for the images below to Roy of the Rovers’ editor Barrie Tomlinson, the strip’s writer Tom Tully and artist David Sque.
First up, it’s 1976-77. Rovers made a record-breaking unbeaten start, and their campaign was given unexpected spice by the offer of supermarket chain Meadways to pay £30,000 to the first player to score 50 goals during the season. Roy, teammate Melvyn Wallace and a striker from a rival team were vying for the prize. Meanwhile, Melchester reached the League Cup semi-final and there were exciting developments for Roy and Penny at home.