Sunday, 28 July 2019

Player Profiles - Tubby Morton

Clarence "Tubby" Morton is without doubt Melchester Rovers' greatest goalkeeper. Debuting in 1958/59 and making his final Rovers appearance in 1982/83, Morton's career at the top level was incredibly lengthy.

Morton had always been a big 'un and first came to attention of Melchester scouts in 1954 while playing amateur football for Tranbridge United, but his transfer to the Rovers nearly never happened. Rovers were on the look out for a new reserve keeper, Morton, who at that time was nicknamed "Hefty" by teammates had been recommended, but the scouts were concerned with his 16-stone weight. In the local cup Tranbridge drew Rovers' A team and Morton's goalkeeping rival Archie Hickworth hatched a plan to regain his place in the side and impress the Rovers scouts himself. The plan half worked as the United trainer caught Morton breaking a promise to diet. However, Hickforth did not show up for the cup match and Hefty was in.

He played the game of his life against a Rovers side including young upstart Roy Race. Tranbridge had taken the lead, but Roy lead the fightback entering a man to man battle against Hefty. Roy equalised with an 88th minute penalty, but with a surprise replay looking likely the centre forward broke through like a greyhound and fired in an unstoppable shot. Like an arrow Morton shot across the goalmouth and plucked the ball from the air. It was an amazing save! However, the joy was short lived as the ball squirmed from the goalie's grasp and into the net. It was pure bad luck, but the scouts recognised one the best goalkeeping displays they had seen in years and signed up the porky keeper.

Now known as Tubby, Morton would not debut for Melchester Rovers until the 1958/59 season. England international goalie, Len Dolland, was hurt in a car crash and in the middle of an injury crisis, Tubby was called into the eleven for the match against league leaders Bamford Athletic. Tubby would concede 3 on debut, but was not at fault for any of the goals are Rovers threw away a 3 goal half time lead.

Tubby would not give up the green jersey for many years, winning many honours along the way, the first of which would come at the end of his first season. Rovers weren't going well in the league, never recovering from a poor start, but went all out for the Cup. And if it wasn't for Tubby, Rovers would never have progressed beyond the 4th Round. A crook had pinched some of the Rovers' boots and young winger Dick Stokes was suffering the most. With Rovers 2-1 down against the mighty Portdean and not long left, Roy made the big decision to switch Tubby with Stokes. Fans laughed at the idea, by the big goalie turned winger provided assists for first Blackie Gray and then Roy to send Rovers through. They would go on to beat Langton United in the final.

In the next two seasons, Tubby would gain two more medals, a League Championship and then another FA Cup after a man of the match performance against Corstone City.

Rovers fans would grow to love their eccentric goalie, not just because of his fantastic footballing abilities, but also his quirky character. Tubby won a load of prize money on a TV quiz show and chose to invest in the stockmarket, initially making huge gains. Of course his luck ran out during the FA Cup match with Linfield and he lost all his money.

Tubby's love affair with the FA Cup was rekindled in 1965/66, as Fourth Division giant-killers Flaxton Town took Rovers to a replay and then extra time. Perhaps recalling the great match against Portdean 8 years before, Roy swapped Tubby with a winger. The move worked again, as the only player not exhausted burst through to lob the winner. Rovers would go on to the win the Cup again.

During his long spell as Rovers' number 1, Tubby was rarely absent, his position never really challenged. Mike Drury deputised for a flu ridden Tubby versus Austrian tourists Flaudermitz, but he was sacked after Roy discovered he had played a part in the fire that almost killed Blackie Gray.

End of Part 1

Name: Clarence Morton
Position: Goalkeeper
Debut: Bamford Athletic (4th October 1958)
Final: Walford (5th February 1983)
Honours: League Championship (1959/60, 1962/63, 1967/68, 1971/72), FA Cup (1959, 1961, 1966, 1970, 1972), League Cup (1967), European Cup (1964, 1969, 1973), Cup Winners' Cup (1967)
Caps: England international, at least 4 caps

Sunday, 21 January 2018

The "Third" Bumper Book of Roy of the Rovers - UNOFFICIAL

Two official Bumper Books were released by Titan Books, they include comic strips, stories and features from Roy of the Rovers Annuals from 1958 to 1971. I've made a third!

DOWNLOAD HERE - 103MB - 118 Pages - CBZ File (