Monday, 27 June 2016

Roy and Blackie's Euro 84 - Part 2

Roy Race and Blackie Gray are keen spectators at the Euro '84 match between West Germany and Portugal. Roy is hoping to spot a new player to help Melchester Rovers regain the Football League title. Tonight, a young Portuguese forward impresses...

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Roy & Blackie's Euro 84 Part 2
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Roy & Blackie's Euro 84 Part 2
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Roy & Blackie's Euro 84 Part 2
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Roy & Blackie's Euro 84 Part 2

Monday, 20 June 2016

Roy and Blackie's Euro 84

Back in the summer of 1984 Melchester Rovers fans were celebrating the return of Roy Race and an F.A. Cup win! But England supporters had little to cheer as the national side failed to qualify for the European Championships in France. After a end of season charity match, the Rovers were travelling back to Melchester by coach, listening keenly to radio coverage from the opening match in France...

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Roy and Blackie's Euro 84
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Roy and Blackie's Euro 84
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Roy and Blackie's Euro 84
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Roy and Blackie's Euro 84

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Opponents No.14 - Kingsbay Part 4

Kingsbay had thrown the Championship away, manager Wally Turnball searched for answers. But at the start of the 1982/83 season he had more pressing concerns; Steve Marks was still in Australia recovering from a serious head injury sustained on a pre-season tour with a Football League XI.

Joe McCaffrey and Jim Duke together 1982/83Leigh Parsons, still young and somewhat raw, was given another chance claim a place in the side. But he certainly didn't impress and as the fans grew impatient, the boss knew it was time for something different. Knowing Steve would be back soon, Turnball chose Jim Duke, a tall and tough striker from Second Division Westbury Town as a short-term fix. However Duke and regular targetman Joe McCaffrey could not and then simply would not play together.

This was not Turnball's only problem; Steve Dawson's lack of pace and mobility at left-back was readily exploited by the North Vale wide men. He was a weak link, his shortcomings obvious now to his manager, but no suitable replacement could be found. On an hunch the master tactician Turnball switched Duke to left-back, the fiery striker was not amused. Turnball late admitted that he only chose Duke to move back to break up "a lousy partnership", it was not some great stroke of tactical genius. But with Steve back and Duke surprising even himself with his displays at full-back, Kingsbay's form surely should improve.
Geoff Sullivan in action in Larissia
However another disastrous result in the UEFA Cup was looming. Larissia, a team of part-timers from Cyprus, claiming a shock win. Terry Marks was dropped, Knight injured, goals wouldn't come. It was a mini-crisis only averted by good performances in the FA Cup.

Two Steve Marks goals gained some revenge over Portdean in the Semi-Final. But the camp was not a happy one. Terry had been loaned to Castleburn City, who promptly thrashed Kingsbay 5-0. Turnball believed Geoff Sullivan to be a better option at centre-half, certain members of the squad found this difficult to believe. Terry was missed, but Turnball was not for swaying, only a freak injury to Sullivan, forced the boss to recall the younger Marks brother.

Western Villa were the opponents at a sunny Wembley in May and Wally Turnball, other than Sullivan, had a fully fit squad to choose from. A dramatic match went the full distance, turning one way then the other. In extra-time Steve Marks grabbed his second goal, the winner, Kingsbay had won the F.A. Cup 4-3!

Stan Draper of Kingsbay 1984/85This was the end of the Marks Brothers era at the great giants of English football, Kingsbay. Wally Turnball was gone too, along with other stalwarts, McCaffrey, Ian Turner, Alan Jennings. New manager Terry Lake, brought fresh ideas and new faces. Stan Draper, an aggressive striker replaced McCaffrey, his all action style earning him an England call-up in 1984/85. Martin McKeown forced his way into the first-team in midfield. But Lake's new players would never match up to the dynasty that was born of Wally Turnball. Kingsbay would fade from glory into also-rans, First Division was no longer a given, the 'Bay were now among the scrappers, fighting for survival rather than trophies.

1982/83 Squad:
G - Knight, Donnelly, Jenson
D - Ellis, Duke, Terry Marks, Gilbert, Norton, Sullivan, Fisher
M - Bryant, MacDonald, Turner, Stein, McKeown
F - Steve Marks, Jordan, McCaffrey, Harris, Clarke, Dolan

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Opponents No.14 - Kingsbay Part 3

Wally Turnball had a settled side, able to attack with flair and defend with vigour - it was time for an all out assault on the First Division. 1981/82 was all set up to be Kingsbay's season. With Melchester Rovers in Division 2 and champions Danefield concentrating on the European Cup, it was as open a league as anyone could remember.

Joe McCaffrey with a typical header vs NaastrichtPortdean emerged as early pacesetters, with 'Bay also flying; four straight wins to open the season without conceding a goal. But the UEFA Cup defence ended in Round 1, a 5-0 thrashing in Naastricht proving just too big a lead to overturn, as a 6-1 win in the home leg saw the men from the Low Countries progress thanks to the away goal. Steve Marks was missing from the away leg, as young Irish boy Gerry Dolan debuted up front. While on career started in Holland one had to end. The big defeat marked the final appearance of goalkeeper Ray Bailey's Kingsbay career. He was dropped after a calamitous display and granted the transfer he requested. With inadequate cover, with Nick Donnelly and youth Peter 'Oscar' Freeman nowhere near ready to be first choice; Turnball returned to neighbours Stockbridge Town for young goalie Paul Knight.

Knight was another great signing and Kingsbay's league challenge was still strong. The big wins of the early season, however, were gone, 'Bay were scrapping, unsettled by the news that Steve Marks would be joining Italian giants Morino. The move collapsed, but momentum had shifted, draws with Eastgate and Stambridge keeping Portdean in the race. The title would be decided on the final day in a shoot-out at Dean Park.

In front of a sell out crowd of 40,000, Portdean chose to play it rough. Mickey Jordan was targeted, having passed a pre-match fitness test. For the youngster the treatment was too much and he was substituted at half-time, Leigh Parsons coming on.

Steve Marks takes on Oldfield 1981/82Early in the second half, the best chance of the match fell to Steve Marks. Parsons out the striker away down the left-wing, Marks cut in an curled a beauty. But it wouldn't bend enough, striking the post. Portdean countered like lightning, a hoof over the 'Bay defence, the forward made no mistake - 1-0 to the team in second.

Kingbay's response was immediate, Steve rallied his troops. Pete Clarke hit the bar with a powerful header, Steve missed a glorious chance, firing into the side netting from a tight angle. With seconds left, Steve chipped a close-range free-kick towards the top corner, but Butt in the 'Dean goal somehow flicked it away and pounced on the loose ball, before Terry could bury an equaliser. The last kick of the match - full time! Portdean win and thousands of fans flood onto the pitch.

Kingsbay had been denied their first Championship since 1970/71. The long run in showed a side perhaps going stale, still over-reliant on the goals of Steve Marks. Perhaps it was time for Turnball to remove some of the dead wood...

Part 4 next week...

Stats 1981/82 season:

Kingsbay stats 1981/82






Squad:
G - Bailey, Donnelly, Freeman, Knight
D - Ellis, Dawson, Terry Marks, Gilbert, Sullivan, Norton
M - Bryant, MacDonald, Turner, Jennings
F - Steve Marks, Jordan, McCaffrey, Harris, Clarke, Parsons, Dolan

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Sensible World of Soccer 96/97 - Roy of the Rovers Edition (PC)

One of my favourite ever football video games, spent many hours in career mode, updating teams and running custom seasons. So the next stage was to get a ROTR version ready. This one is far superior to the Mega Drive version that was released a while ago. As well as "classic" custom teams from the fictional football world, now you can enjoy career and season mode in the ROTR universe - featuring 100s of teams and over a 1000 ROTR players - can you take Rovers back to the top?


There is a readme included in the file, please read this if you are unfamiliar with DosBox or need installation instructions

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Sunday, 22 May 2016

Total Football Part 13

Shock news from the other side of the River Mel - Rocky Race is to be the new manager of Melboro! Meanwhile Rovers face in-form Portdean in the Premier League...

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Opponents No.14 - Kingsbay Part 2

Steve Marks, a tall, strong and mobile striker was an instant hit. At the end of the 1979/80 season, Steve's goals meant Kingsbay qualified for the UEFA Cup. Wally Turnball recognised the need to strengthen his squad if 'Bay were to challenge at home as well as in Europe. He signed forward Mickey Jordan for £700,000 from Fourth Division Mudport United, a massive gamble on a teenager who raised himself in the African jungle. But the youngster settled into top-flight football with ease, quickly becoming a key player and regular goalscorer.

Jordan's arrival unsettled an injured Steve Marks. Convinced that the big money signing would replace him in the side, Marks confronted Turnball. Steve was assured of his place as first-choice and that he would not be sold under any circumstance. However the crafty Matt Johnson, boss of Holverton had other ideas. While scouting at Stockbridge Town, Johnson bumped into Steve who was watching his brother Terry in action for Town. The eccentric Holverton manager tricked Steve into believing that Kingsbay had accepted a bid from big spending Stambridge City, the striker was furious again clashing with Turnball. For a while it looked like Johnson would get his man, but thanks to Terry's suspicion and the help of a local journalist friend, the plot was exposed and Steve return to the first team.

'Bay's league form did suffer from the strain of competing for two titles, but their poor position did allow full focus on the UEFA Cup matches. Dusselburg and Havanger were swept aside, before an epic quarter-final victory over holders Racing Blue from Belgium.

McCaffrey flicks on for Payne to net vs Racing BlueCaptain Nigel Payne had had a difficult season, injuries and loss of form. Young Ray Noble was given a chance to press his claim, but a series of inadequate displays, particularly against the tricky England international Kenny Johnson of Redstoke, forced Turnball to look elsewhere. After trying Steve Marks in the number 5 jersey, the boss eventually returned to the transfer market after Payne suffered yet another injury, his target none other than Steve Marks' younger brother Terry of Fourth Division high-fliers Stockbridge Town. Racing Blue were also interested, but Terry would not turn down the chance of teaming up with his brother and signed on in time for the Second Leg of the UEFA Cup Semi-Final in Germany versus Marnheim.

The First Leg ended goalless, but Kingsbay had lost Payne again to injury (this one would end his career) and targetman Joe McCaffrey was sent-off after a moment of madness. McCaffrey and Steve Marks had developed a wonderful partnership up front. The big Scotland international was rarely beaten in the air, Steve would thrive on his knockdowns scoring many a snapshot in a crowded and confused penalty box.

But the two strikers would not have had all the glory without the unsung efforts of creators Alan Jennings (on the left wing) and midfielder/winger Ian Turner. The side was incredibly well balanced, with Mickey Jordan the fulcrum, drifting between attack and midfield. In fact it is probably harsh to insist on Steve Marks being the star of the side.

In the Rhineland for the Second Leg against Marnheim in front of 80,000 spectators, reserve striker Johnny Harris with given the chance of replacing McCaffrey. Harris would have a storming end to season. While not a tall or strong as "Big Joe", Harris was fast, had a good leap and powerful shot. It was his goal that took 'Bay to the Final and shock the German supporters.

The UEFA Cup Final against recently crowned Dutch Champions Spartadam was another classic, 2-0 down from the first leg and still without suspended striker Joe McCaffrey; the odds were well against a Kingsbay victory over the team of eleven internationals. But Mickey Jordan fired in a spectacular volley and Steve Marks buried a loose ball to level the tie. Going into the final minutes, with extra-time looming, Harris again lost his marker, he shot, off the bar and away, no! The referee consults his linesman, Harris begs for the goal - it's given Kingsbay have won the 1981 UEFA Cup!

Kingsbay UEFA Cup Winners 1981

Line-up (as above) - Back row: Dave Ellis, Ray Bailey, Terry Marks, Ian Turner, Joe McCaffrey, Johnny Harris (sub). Front row: Paul Bryant, Peter MacDonald, Mickey Jordan, Steve Marks (captain), Steve Dawson, Alan Jennings.

Squad:
G - Bailey, Donnelly
D - Ellis, Dawson, Payne, Noble, Terry Marks
M- Turner, Bryant, MacDonald
F - Steve Marks, Jordan, McCaffrey, Harris, Clarke, Parsons, Jennings

Kingsbay 80/81 season stats


Notes:
- In pre-season St Estelle of France were described as UEFA Cup winners perhaps they won it the year before
- I'm missing a few issues so don't have scores for some of the matches shown in the spreadsheet - help if you can!
- The formation is very fluid - almost a 3-2-5 (Ellis RB, Marks/Payne CH, Dawson LB; Bryant LH, MacDonald RH; Turner RW, Marks CF, McCaffrey CF, Jordan FW, Jennings LW)

Kingsbay vs Spartadam UEFA Cup Final 1981

Steve Marks alongside his brother Terry leads Kingsbay to victory over Dutch giants Spartadam...

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Kingsbay vs Spartadam UEFA Cup Final 1981
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Kingsbay vs Spartadam UEFA Cup Final 1981
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Kingsbay vs Spartadam UEFA Cup Final 1981
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Kingsbay vs Spartadam UEFA Cup Final 1981