Roy's Season Review: 1979-80
In addition to the challenge of building new signing Paco Diaz into his team, Roy had defensive worries at the start of the 1979-80 league season, having left stalwart stopper Lofty Peake in Basran. His back four was leaky for a while, but he decided to plug the gap with ‘bad boy’ centre-half Vic Guthrie, who arrived at Melchester with a reputation for ill-discipline. Roy managed to tame Vic, but only after a series of acts of stroppiness, the worst of which appeared to be Vic’s refusal to adhere to the ancient Mel Park tradition of bowing three times before the bust of revered former boss George Armstrong (who, rather like Herbert Chapman at Arsenal, won three successive league titles in the 1930s).
The Vic Guthrie dilemma was sorted by Christmas, after which Rovers embarked on a great run of league form which would win them the First Division again. There was embarrassment in the cups, though. With the squad decimated by sickness, Melchester crashed out of the UEFA Cup to a team of Icelandic minnows, and of the FA Cup to Fourth Division Chalkford Town. Roy managed to get involved in a couple of disruptive rows during this time – with club chairman Sam Barlow, over Roy’s passion for playing squash, and with loudmouth Andy Jackson, manager of city rivals Melboro’. But the season ended in glory, and the Rovers embarked on an adventure-packed summer in Crete.
Script by Tom Tully, art by David Sque.