Saturday, 12 July 2014

The Hard Man Week 6 1981/82

Danefield United's legendary manager, Viktor Boskovic, analyses his fan mail...
The Hard Man 1981 Viktor Boskovic Johnny Dexter
The Hard Man 1981 Viktor Boskovic Johnny Dexter
The Hard Man 1981 Viktor Boskovic Johnny Dexter

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Opponents - No.1 - Burndean

One of the issues that fans had with Roy of the Rovers was the lack of information given about opponents, both players and teams. This series will attempt to right that.

Burndean were one of the strongest teams in the late 80s and early 90s and a permanent fixture in the First Division since 1973/74, when they were also beaten in the F.A. Cup Final by the mighty Melchester Rovers.

Burndean v Melchester Rovers 1976/77
Burndean traditionally wear white combined with green. The image on the left shows a nice strip with green sleeves and shorts from 1976/77, as Mervyn Wallace is about to be denied a goal by a great save from goalkeeper John Makepeace. Rovers won the match 2-1, with goals from Roy Race and Jimmy Slade. The young blond goalie, Makepeace, had recently been promoted to the first team in place of Trevor Dawson.

Burndean v Melchester Rovers 1977/78In the 70s Burndean were a mid-table team, neither threatened by relegation nor troubling the teams at the top end of the table. For two seasons, 1977/78 and 1978/79, they wore a smart all white strip, featuring a nice badge in the latter season. Rovers won at Burnham Park 3-0 in 77/78 and continued their unbeaten record against 'Dean after a 3-3 draw in 78/79.

Burndean v Melchester Rovers 1978/79
Burndean's clashes with Melchester were not well documented in the early 80s. But they featured again in a flashback scene, featuring Carl Hunt in 1984. Carford City midfield enforcer Hunt, had broken the leg of popular defender Les Anderson during a league match. Burndean are shown wearing their away strip of red shirts and white shorts.
Carford City v Burndean 1983/84
In 1985/86 Rovers resumed their normal thrashing of 'Dean with a comfortable 4-0 win. The goals came from Hunt, Race, Vic Guthrie and Spandau Ballet star Steve Norman. Mulleted striker, Mason, had missed an excellent early chance, and Rovers were ruthless from that point forward.

The late 80s saw the emergence of three of the best players to ever wear the Burndean shirt. Brian 'Crawler' Tebbit, came to prominence in the 1987/88 F.A. Cup Semi-Final, as he tormented Roy Race in an attempt to get the great man sent-off. However his tricks backfired as he himself was dismissed, as Melchester ran out 4-0 winners to secure their place at Wembley. Some confusion rests around the quarter-final as Burndean were named as opponents, despite wearing a black and white striped strip. I believe this to be a typo and perhaps it should read Blackport. 

Melchester Rovers vs Burndean 1987/88 Brian Tebbit fouls1988/89 introduced probably Burndean's greatest ever player. Newton Oates, a tall, strong centre-forward, with tremendous pace and power, burst onto the scene scoring four goals as 'Dean destroyed Rovers 6-3. Inspirational and tough captain, Don Palmer, led this Burndean side, managed by Bob Sturges. In the league match, Burndean's long-ball tactics dominated as Rovers just could not cope with Oates. But Rovers would gain revenge soon enough, in the 5th Round of the F.A. Cup. An amazing 8-1 victory punctuated with a hat-trick for Rovers young forward Wes Harper.

This period in Burndean's history saw a change in secondary colour, as green was replaced with blue. Personally I believe this was a consistency error as writers muddled Portdean (who now wear green and white stripes), with similarly named Burndean. The 'error' is corrected in 1991/92 as Burndean return in a white and green striped jersey.

Newton Oates and Don Palmer were part of a very good Burndean team, that finally challenged at the very top end of English football. Burndean have a history of having very good goalkeepers, from John Makepeace, up to the early 90s as Bob Harvey and Wales international Gareth Evans make the number one jersey their own. Oates was replaced by Phil Garret, who was partnered by Scotsman MacNally. 

Melchester Rovers vs Burndean 1990/91Rovers defeated 'Dean 1-0 in 1990/91 with a goal from Roy Race. But Burndean would gain some revenge over Melchester with a famous win in the 1991/92 F.A. Cup Semi-Final. Burndean were struggling at the bottom of the First Division, but won 1-0 thanks to a Phil Garret strike and a superb display from Bob Harvey in goal. The classy veteran keeper saving a Roy Race penalty in the final seconds of the match.

Melchester Rovers vs Burndean 1992 FA Cup Semi-FinalThe 1992/93 season saw Rovers win a F.A. Cup 3rd Round clash, 3-2 in Ralph Gordon's first match in charge. MacNally scored, but Rovers dominated an the to goals scored by 'Dean gave an unrealistic slant to the scoreline.
So Burndean have been a constant thorn in the side of Melchester Rovers since the mid-70s. Despite never being a consistently top side, they have had a fair amount of success. Two great players wore their shirt, Newton Oates and Don Palmer and they had a tradition for top goalies, the best being Bob Harvey. 

Melchester Rovers vs Burndean 1992/93One of my favourite sides, it would be great to see Burndean, in their white and green, challenge at the top of English football again. Perhaps Palmer or Oates will return one day as manager.

Results vs Melchester - 
1-2 (L 73/74 F.A. Cup Final)
1-2 (L 76/77 Division 1)
0-3 (L 77/78 Division 1)
3-3 (D 78/79 Division 1)
0-4 (L 85/86 Division 1)
1-2 (L 87/88 F.A. Cup Semi-Final)
6-3 (W 88/89 Division 1)
1-8 (L 88/89 F.A. Cup 5th Round)
0-1 (L 90/91 Division 1)
1-0 (W 91/92 F.A. Cup Semi-Final)
2-3 (L 92/93 F.A. Cup 3rd Round)

F.A. Cup Runners-Up 19973/74
F.A. Cup Finalists 1991/92

G- Trevor Dawson, John Makepeace, Bob Harvey, Gareth Evans
D - Les Anderson, Chic... , Alec ....
M - Brian Tebbit, Don Palmer, Terry Drake, Steve Wilson, Gowans, Dawson
F - Newton Oates, Phil Garret, Mason, MacNally, McGill

Monday, 30 June 2014

The Hard Man Week 4

The story continues, as Danefield face off against Barnek Dynamo, of Salvokia, in front of a crowd of 120,000...


Saturday, 28 June 2014

The Hard Man 1981 Week 3

Legendary manager Viktor Boskovic prepares his team for the first round of the European Cup in Eastern Europe...
The Hard Man - Johnny Dexter, Danefield United, 1981
The Hard Man - Johnny Dexter, Danefield United, 1981
The Hard Man - Johnny Dexter, Danefield United, 1981

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The Hard Man 1981 Week 2

Second week of The Hard Man from October 1981, I'll continue these scans up to the Christmas 1981 comic, so lots more Johnny Dexter and Viktor Boskovic to come...
The Hard Man - Johnny Dexter, Viktor Boskovic, Danefield United
The Hard Man - Johnny Dexter, Viktor Boskovic, Danefield United
The Hard Man - Johnny Dexter, Viktor Boskovic, Danefield United

Sunday, 22 June 2014

The Hard Man 1981 Scans

Danefield United are the reigning champions of England, but never satisfied, Viktor Boskovic had signed Trevor Dobbs and Alistair Stewart. But Stewart had already upset the fiery manager...

The Hard Man Scans from 1981 Roy of the Rovers
The Hard Man Scans from 1981 Roy of the Rovers
The Hard Man Scans from 1981 Roy of the Rovers