This morning, while attending to duties that incorporated both the joyous and the mundane, I spotted a rare gem. On sale at the newsagent, among all of the other unwanted, remaindered books, was a copy of Roy of the Rovers: The 1970s. I didn't have to be asked twice.
For those who do not know, Roy of the Rovers was one of a number of English football-oriented comics, featuring a range of ripping yarns about players and teams as they dealt with sibling rivalry, boardroom machinations, international espionage, magical equipment and, on occasion, football matches. These men became many a schoolboy's heroes...
Roy's own comic came quite late, after spending many years as the marquee character of the sport/adventure Tiger comic. Scorcher and Score, my own favourite and itself an amalgamation, bit the dust and joined forces with Tiger in 1974, with Roy of the Rovers ascending in 1976.
Scorcher and Score was so important to me. I preferred it to real-life mags such as Shoot! and Football Monthly. In fact, I preferred it to real life. I would read and re-read the stories every week, lost in the magical boy's-own world of Jack of United, Jimmy of City, Billy's Boots, Lags Eleven, Hot Shot Hamish and Nipper. Oh, for those carefree days of yore.
I was heartbroken when Scorcher and Score finished, but at least the amalgamation bought Roy, and Melchester Rovers, into my life.
Now I have a bedside book to remind me of those good times. And, in perfect keeping with my personality, I still have all my originals in a trunk.