If there was a criticism of the monthly Roy of the Rovers series, it was that it never really hit upon what its target audience was – it skewed a little older than the weekly title that preceded it, without really giving those kids who were reading it at the time a chance to grow up in time to really get it; but at the same time, it struggle to attract “new” older readers because… well, because it was a continuation of what was clearly seen by the public as still a kids’ comic.
Which is a shame, because on occasion it had things of genuine significance to say to young readers; and, on occasion, it said them absolutely superbly. Case in point, this strip by Gary and Warren Pleece, which formed part of the sometimes-excellent Tales From The Dugout anthology strand. Based on personal reminiscences, it appeared in April 1994’s issue #8, which was generally an anti-racism-themed issue (the cover is one of the best the comic ever did, too), and was preceded by a message from the editor reiterating the mag’s support for the then-nascent “Let’s Kick Racism Out Of Football” campaign.
Twenty years on, while its message remains admirable, it’s only a shame that recent events have shown that progress across the world game in those two decades has seemingly been somewhat slower than it was over the previous timeframe of the story.