Wednesday Comics: Old Melchester vs New Melchester

The 1985/86 season was very possibly the worst in the entire history of Roy of the Rovers – it was the year of the Emlyn Hughes/Bob Wilson/Spandau Ballet gimmickry, a desperate ploy to claw back readership that evidently failed to the extent that the strip was instead heavily retooled with the Basran disaster at the end of the season.

But in the summer just before that season began, readers were treated to this rather more enjoyable gimmick story – a testimonial match in which a team made up of Rovers stars past took on the then-current side. It was a rare example of the strip paying fulsome tribute to its illustrious history, right down to the fact that the old-timers eventually won – although in truth the reason behind the result was probably more to serve as emphasis that Melchester were in something of a rut and needed new blood… the “new blood” that would turn out to be two retired players turned TV personalities and two pop stars…

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