The Comic Connection – No. 17 – Roy of the Rovers – 18th December 1976

This edition of ‘Roy of the Rovers’ is dated 18th December 1976 and features across the centre pages: ‘The Big Action’ – QPR v Stoke. The caption reads:

‘Loftus Road, home of last season’s First Division runner’s up, Queen’s Park Rangers, is the setting of our super action picture this week. The scene shows several Rangers’ players (in the blue hoops) and a number of Stoke City stars very much involved in the action.

At this stage in the season – late September – the popular London club were beginning to put their game together following a disastrous start. Stoke’s form was topsy-turvy, and it was another day of disappointment for the Potters as goals from Stan “The Man” Bowles, after only nine minutes, and Don Givens during the last quarter-of-an-hour, sunk Stoke.

The Midlanders were on the receiving end of quite a lot of pressure and here we see ‘keeper Peter Shilton once again coming to his side’s rescue as he punches clear from a dangerous looking aerial raid launched by home defenders Dave Webb (in front of Shilton) and England international Ian Gillard.’

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Elsewhere, the first characters to be featured are ‘Smith and Son’ – Barry Smith, ex-international soccer star, was the manager of 4th Division Grandon Townhelped by his 16-year-old son Danny. When the club needed ¬£100,000 to prevent it from being declared bankrupt, Earl Prince, a Pop singing superstar, promised Grandon the vital money on the condition that they win their next three league games. But in the first of these matches, Grandon were losing 1-0 to visiting Torrington Citywith only minutes to play!

Next up is ‘Mike’s Mini Men’ – Mike Dailey joined a table football league in which several of his friends took part

After the Roy Race Talk-In, ‘Roy of the Rovers’ follows in colour – Unbeaten in the league, 1st Division Melchester Rovers had also reached the 5th Round of the League Cup, thanks to a last-second goal scored by new signing Roger Dixon, who had earned the nickname of ‘Super-Sub’
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‘The Hard Man’ is next – Johnny Dexter was the tough midfield star of First Division Danefield United. Johnny was often in trouble because of his quick temper

‘Roy’s Quiz League’ and ‘Famous Football Funnies’ precede ‘You are the Star -The Story of.’

This is where you could enter your name and place a photo in the various blank spaces provided.

‘The Football’ – Would the pals have their football confiscated for good? ‘

‘Tommy’s Troubles’ – Tommy Barnes and his pal Ginger Collins, were sent to a new school, Crowhurst Roadwhere they played rugby and not soccer!

And finally, ‘Millionaire Villa’ – Millionaire David Bradley had given First Division Selby Villa two million pounds, on condition that he played in the first team.

The comic first hit the streets as a weekly on 25th September 1976 and continued in this format until February 1989 when it merged briefly with ‘Hot Shot’. However, it soon reverted back to its original name and in September 1993 it was re-launched as a monthly until March 1995.

Steve Russell

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