Thursday, 31 July 2014

Opponents - No.2 - Carford City

Part 2 of the opponents of Melchester Rovers series features my favourite team, Carford City. City first came to prominence as early as 1963/64 as they fought off the challenge of defending champions, Melchester Rovers, and others to win the First Division Championship. But over the next few years they would not add to their trophy cabinet, as Melchester, Portdean, Eastoke United and Kingsbay would all win the league title.

Melchester Rovers v Carford City 1976/77Carford's next trophy arrived in 1972/73 as they won the F.A. Cup and followed it up immediately by winning the 1973/74 European Cup Winners Cup. City's defence of the Cup Winners Cup would last only one round, as Melchester Rovers knocked them out in 1974/75 on their way to victory in the final over Greeks Niarkos. Manager Archie Mille, the former Melboro' and England winger, was credited with transforming City, his tough team always providing stiff challenges for opponents. But Miller would leave in disgrace, after a massive touchline bust-up with Melchester manager, and former friend, Tony Storme, he was sacked, taking up the role of chief scout for a sympathetic Storme.

Carford City v Melchester Rovers 78/79 Richie Davis (Cap)Carford in their smart white and black strip were becoming a force in cup competitions. But a 4-2 defeat in the 5th Round of the 1975/76 League Cup to a dominant Rovers ended their hunt for trophies for another year.

The next few seasons would see Rovers repeatedly beat Carford without conceding, Roy Race scored four in 76/77 in a 5-0 win. Led by Richie Davis, City were defeated 2-0 in 78/79 thanks to some inspired tactics by stand-in manager, Ben Galloway. On the way to the title Rovers would again thrash City, this time 3-0, on the opening day.

1980/81, saw two amazing matches, both drawn 2-2. Carford would fight for the title with Everpool and Danefield United, eventually finishing third, after leading at the midway point. City had again established themselves as one of the strongest teams in the country. In the eighties they would constantly challenge at the top end of the table. Players such as England international Carl 'The Hunter' Hunt, winger Brian Foulkes and new skipper Mike Gladwin formed the spine of the side, with Norman Jackson, the goalie who Roy Race couldn't beat. Managed by Dennis Blair and inspired by German superstar, Kurt Gruber, City were a special side, mixing flair and steel.
Kurt Gruber (Carford City) flattens Roy Race 83/84
But despite the world-class players, Blair's side would not win a trophy. Dyanmic midfielder, Carl Hunt was transferred to Melchester Rovers at the start of the 1984/85 season and go on to win the Cup Winner's Cup in his first year. Hunt would score against his first side in 85/86 in a 5-1 win in the League Cup. Probably Carford City's best ever player would die tragically at the end of that season in the Basran Disaster.

Carl Hunt (Carford) v Burndean 1984City, like Rovers, were in a rebuilding phase, after the departure of the superstars of the early 80s. Everything was going to plan in the 1987/88 season, as Carford topped the table in April. Despite a heavy opening day defeat to Rovers (4-0), City would only lose the title to Melchester on the final day of the season. Due to cup commitments, Rovers had one game left to play after their F.A. Cup Final deafeat to Weston Villa, and needed to beat Stambridge City to overhaul Carford's lead at the top. A last minute own-goal would deny City.

Melchester Rpvers v Carford City 86/87
Success was limited in the next few years, an F.A. Cup Quarter-final the highlight of the 1989/90 season. By now Carford were back wearing their original blue and white colours, rather than the white and black combination. In an effort to improve, City smashed their transfer record with the signing of Tynecaster United striker, Phil Stevens. The goal-poacher supreme's debut coming in the first match of the 1991/92 season versus Melchester Rovers. Stevens would net an impressive double, a fierce drive and powerful header, beating international goalie Andy Styles.

But the pairing of Stevens and star goalie Eric Sutton could not find success as Carford were relegated. Their spell in the second tier was brief, as City were promoted in second place in 1997/98, behind Brentfield. They would celebrate their return to the top flight with a great run to the semi-finals of the F.A. Cup in 98/99, where a goal from top attacking midfielder Gary Bracken would send Melchester Rovers into the final.

City quickly reestablished themselves as one of the top teams in the country and would challenge for the title in 2000/01 before fading to finish third.

Melchester Rovers v Carford City FA Cup Qtr Final 1990

Phil Stevens (Carford) scores twice v Melchester 1991/92

Carford City v Melchester Rovers FA Semi Final 98/99

Carford City have been one of the main rivals of Melchester Rovers since the mid-70s, rarely providing anything but a stiff challenge for the superstars of Mel Park. They had their fair share of star players too, obviously Carl Hunt and Kurt Gruber being stand out players from the early 80, and Phil Stevens was probably the top centre-forward in England in the early 90s. Hunt, Richie Davis and Mike Gladwin were great captains, it's just a shame that City could not sustain their success of the 70s. Perhaps in the years to come Carford can regain a place as title challengers, who knows...?

Honours -
League Champions 1963/64
F.A. Cup Winners 1972/73
European Cup Winner's Cup Winners 1973/74

Notable players -
G - Norman Jackson, Eric Sutton
D - Mike Gladwin, Frank Tyler, Kurt Gruber, Cruncher Coggin
M - Richie Davis, Carl Hunt, Brian Foulkes, Colin Daley, Don Weston
F - Phil Stevens, Mickey Rockford

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Mi-Team Adidas Kit Design

If you read the latest edition of A New Beginning you will have noted that next year's Melchester Rovers kit will be designed by Adidas. So here's a little bit of fun for you readers; you can design the kit and tweet it to @storky_knight, I'll post the best ones up and maybe have a vote for the winner. The great thing is that you can then buy the winning shirt complete with sponsors, badge, name and number!

Follow this link and play around a bit, home and away designs are welcome (don't worry about a sponsor or badge yet!), I'll add these to the best entries. Here's one I made earlier:

mi-team adidas Melchester Rovers 2014/15 design 1
Pinstriped kit with sponsors logo and badge - Melchester Rovers 14/15

Monday, 28 July 2014

A New Beginning - Week 29

Melchester Rovers face Gatesfield on a good run of form, despite the hectic schedule, knowing that a win will send them back into fourth place and nearer to Champions League qualification.

Meanwhile Jake Cheetham undergoes surgery and Roy Race arrives in the USA.

Roy of the Rovers A New Beginning Wk29 Gatesfield Rovers

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Magic Man, 1989 Scans

Mezino, the brilliant Brazilian wing-striker, played for First Division Grimthorpe Rangers, follow his adventures here over the next few weeks. Today's scans are from 4th February 1989...

Magic Man Mezino Scans
Magic Man Mezino Scans
Magic Man Mezino Scans

Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Hard Man Wk 7 1981/82

Danefield United were trailing 2-0 from the first leg of their European Cup First Round tie against Barnek Dynamo. A freak early goal, scored by Alistair Stewart direct from a corner, in the return match encouraged Viktor Boskovic's team. But the mad manager was soon disturbed...

The Hard Man Danefield United Johnny Dexter Viktor Boskovic
The Hard Man Danefield United Johnny Dexter Viktor Boskovic
The Hard Man Danefield United Johnny Dexter Viktor Boskovic

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