Posts Tagged ‘Roy of the Rovers


Record Mirror does football


I have recently acquired an issue of Record Mirror from 25 August 1984. Apart from confirming that 1.6 million homes in Europe had access to cable television, it was also a football-related special to tie in with the start of the 1984/85 season.

Within the first two pages, there were details of ‘Back On The Ball’, a single by Chelsea FC that celebrated their return to the first division, a list of the ten worst chants (including those by Birmingham City, Exeter City and Torquay United supporters), and a mini-review of ‘Football Manger’ (“I felt pretty pleased with myself when I got Swindon Town promotion [sic] on Level Five”) for the ZX and Spectrum 48K.

And the issue got even better. There was a Roy Of The Rovers-esque comic strip, featuring King’s Paul King and his magic boots, and a spoof review of the season, entitled “Everything But The Goal”.

The sporting highlight of the season was arguably in January when: “The BBC run a soap opera called ‘Palace’, wherein a wicked, bearded football commentator tries to take over an ailing second division club, have an affair with Gladys the tea lady and have breakfast on the freezing cold of his Ruislip patio every morning.”

Gary Crowley, unfortunately, was also on hand to pen an article about his love of football. Describing Roy Of The Rovers and Billy’s Boots as “trashy football story magazines” suggests that he couldn’t even hit the post, though.

However, and thankfully, there was also Pat Nevin, Record Mirror’s guest singles reviewer.

And I can assure you that a footballer who cares about music formatting is worth their weight in gold. It looks like that he wasn’t much of a Marc Almond fan, though.

Also, in a later interview, he admits that the first record he bought was ‘The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway’ by Genesis.

Former Norwich City striker Mick Channon, a man who likes “everything from Adge Cutler to the B52s” was put under the spotlight, and said: “There’s no need to buy records now, is there? Whether you like it or not, there’s home taping, everybody’s doing that.”

There was also a short feature about football chic, while pop stars were given the chance to chat about football. Hibernian fan John Robertson, from The Questions, and Sheffield Wednesday supporter, Martyn Ware, from Heaven 17, were interviewed.

But the star of the issue was Baz from the Farmer Boys, who tipped Port Vale for promotion “because I don’t know where they come from”.

And last, but not least, there was pop’s memory man, Alan Jones. Rather than his weekly Chartfile, a very rare Soccerfile appeared in this issue.

Jones published numerous football-cum-music facts; such as Don Revie’s daughter, Kim, releasing a single in 1982, and Nottingham Forest’s ‘We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Hands’ reaching the Top 10 in the Netherlands and Belgium.

He also announced that George Benson was football’s favourite pop star – by a landside. Who said that footballers lack good taste, eh?


Roy of the Rovers predicts the future of football

Predicting the future of football is, sometimes, a hard task.

Some predictions have been correct and others have been wrong, but one comes from an unlikely source.

While the “Glo-Ball Report… Date: 2092” feature in the ‘Roy of the Rovers Yearbook 1993′ may have been a light-hearted joke in 1992 but, in a sport where marketing and money has become more important, it is far more relevant in 2011.

1. “In the qualifying rounds for the 2094 World Cup Finals, Great Britain have been drawn against the Middle East, Central Russia, the Western United States, and Oceania. The British team are co-favourites to repeat their World success in 2070 and 2082, along with defending world champions – North-East China.”

2. “In the tenth year of the World League of Soccer, the North London Aces (formerly Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Barnet) lift the world trophy, having beaten the California Cruisers in the last game – thanks to a hat-trick by Geoff Lineker.”

3. Tokyo Bullets, Berlin Bulls and Cape Town Crush are the three teams who are relegated from the World League of Soccer in 2092. The other competing teams are: Roman Raiders, Melchester Rovers, Nairobi Rhinos, Moscow Machine, Brasilia Forest and Mexico City Saints.

4. Great Britain won their second European Championship in a row after beating Iberia (formerly Spain and Portugal) in the final, at the 200,000 seater “Race Mega-Stadium” in Manchester.

5. “Royce [Race] has attracted a number of lucrative transfer offers from overseas club, most notably a quarter of a billion pluton bid from an unidentified Far Eastern source.”

6. “2093 sees the promotion of the three teams – Hong Kong Heat, Arabian Knights and South Pole Bears (whose home will be the temperature-controlled Ice Pavilion – five miles north of the South Pole!)”

7. “Next season, will herald the first ever Moon Shield – played under the Tranquillity Dome on the moon’s surface. The North London Aces (World League champions) will face Melchester Rovers (World League Cup champions) in this historic heavenly match-up. This game will pave the way for the introduction to the World League of the Lunar City Rockets, in 2095 – just twenty years after the initial colonisation of the moon’s surface.”

8. Rule changes include: “a ball cannot be kicked across the middle third – without being touched by a player” and “teams can only have a maximum of nine players in their defensive third”. Another rule change is “any foul by a defensive player in his own third results in an automatic five minutes in the sin-bin”.

9. Further rule changes include: “the pitch is divided into thirds and the game into quarters of an hour, with the clock stopping when the ball goes out of play” and “players can only be offside in the opposition’s third of the field”.

10. Other rule changes include: “penalty areas are now rounded with a radius of 20 meters” and “short corners are taken from the intersection of the penalty area and the goal-line”.

Is there a chance that space could become a marketing tool for football? Will Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Barnet join forces to become one unbeatable team? Could there really be a World League of Soccer and a 200,000-seater stadium in Manchester named after Roy Race? Could short corners and a sin-bin really be introduced?

It may or may not happen but, considering that the yearbook’s predictions seems less exaggerated now than it did in late 1992, there may be a small chance that football could really become like this in 2092.

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