Saturday, 14 June 2014

England's World Cup Glory!

Remember when England won the World Cup? No, I don't mean 1966, I mean when it was won by...
For those of you unfamiliar, Roy of the Rovers was a comic strip that originally appeared in Tiger in 1954 before getting his own comic which ran from 1976 to 1993. It was essentially a soap opera about the titular Roy Race and his team, Melchester Rovers and their struggles with winning/losing/being relegated etc. All the fun of following a real football team with (almost) none of the actual football.

Anyway, there was that one time Roy captained England to World Cup glory!
Our story begins with Roy, relaxing at home, as all footballers do, with a hot milky drink. It's 1982 and he has been a professional footballer for 28 years now. And he is also the Rovers' manager now. No wonder he's exhausted. He doesn't even notice his wife's clear invitation. Penny, former club secretary, is naked under that unflattering dressing gown but Roy is too tired to think about that.
Ah yes, "the lads" are at the World Cup in Spain. Something is always keeping this fictional character from competing in real world events. Like when James Bond couldn't prevent 9/11 because he was being held prisoner in North Korea. This time, it's because he'd been shot less than a year earlier and seriously injured. It was one RotR's bigger storylines.
Uh-oh. He's falling asleep.... I think I know where this is going...
That's right! Dream sequence! Because even in a fictional world where Spandau Ballet played top-level professional football (that really happened in RotR, I'll show you that some other day), England cannot win the World Cup outside of a fantasy!
William "Blackie" Gray was Roy's oldest friend and played on the team with him from the start. I believe he hadn't played for a while at this point. Also, surprisingly for a character created in the 50s, his name is not a racial slur.
"Just go out there and play football." ARE YOU LISTENING HODGSON? IT REALLY IS THAT SIMPLE!
A typical feature of RotR is this pinpointing of individual voices from the crowd to try to convince the reader that stationary drawings of football are exciting.
This is so boring even the artist couldn't be bothered finishing the drawing. Or maybe it's to give the reader somewhere to doodle.
The mullet. A bad choice for professional athletes. Or anyone.
The actual 1982 World Cup final was between Italy and West Germany, fact fans.
Oh look! Another doodle pad!
I've run out of things to say about how comic strip football is even more boring than the real thing.
...Nearly there....
Hooray! England wins! Vindaloo! Vindaloo!
"It really was a dream result!" Look! The England captain taking the Jules Rimet trophy! (I really have said everything I know about football now)
There is something genuinely pleasing about this image of our greatest fictional sporting hero holding that trophy aloft. They should make it into a poster. Only, you know, with better art. Also note the UK flag in the background. I don't know that's someone trying to be inclusive of the non-English bits of our country, allowing Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish to celebrate with the English, or just a mistake. Let's say the former.
Wow, Penny was really up for it tonight. I reckon her parents had the kids (they have pre-school twins at this time) and she wanted to make the most of it.
And an ideal dream ends with low-level homophobia.
The notion of being kissed by a man seems to have brought him out in a cold sweat. Roy Race was never confused. He grinned the grin of a man who wished to hide his delight.

Edit: I KNOW the Jules Rimet trophy is no loger the World Cup trophy! That was a deliberate mistake, intended as a joke about how little I know about football.

Edit 2: All right, it wasn't. I really am that clueless.


  1. "I really have said everything I know about football now"
    You've said less than that. You've just rehashed Frank Skinner lyrics. That's not the Jules Rimet trophy. That wag permanent awarded to Brazil before 1982. That's the replacement Fifa world cup.

  2. Deadman, I have no idea what you just said...