Melchester Rovers were back in the First Division, but not everything was going to plan. A pre-season charity cricket match led to injuries to key men, Vernon Eliot, Charlie Carter and Mervyn Wallace. Star winger Eliot sadly would never play again, while Walter Williams, the natural replacement for Carter was also struck down. The goalkeeping problems meant a recall for Rovers legend Tubby Morton. Morton played well but the directors and fans seemed preoccupied with his age and unable to recognise the contribution he was making to the team.
Roy Race was particularly angry with the constant interference from Sam Barlow after he continued to pick Morton even when Carter was fully fit. Tensions came to a head as Tubby retired forcing Roy to select Carter for the match against Redstoke. Roy was not confident in his star goalie. Following a minor knock and a serious error, Roy inexplicably substituted his goalkeeper, preferring to keep himself.
Rovers won the match thanks a Blackie Gray free-kick after sub Mervyn Wallace's superb wing-play. But Barlow was not happy, openly criticising his manager's decision-making. This was the last straw for Roy, who having received a massive offer to manage London side, Walford Rovers, RESIGNED...
League: Lower half
League Cup: Unknown
F.A. Cup: Unknown
G - Carter, Williams, Morton
D - Baxter, McKay, Guthrie, Naylor, Gosden, Knight
M - Gray, Slade, Wallace, Cassidy
F - Race, Diaz, Ritchie, Logan
Glen Ritchie (Highland Warriors), Tubby Morton (Retirement)
Roy Race (Walford Rovers), Tubby Morton (Retired, again), Vernon Eliot (Retired, injury)
- Blackie Gray was captain and wore 9 after Roy left
- Taffy Morgan took over as caretaker manager.
- Late in the season Gosden moved to centre-back, with Wallace coming into midfield
- 2 unknown scorers for Rovers against Tynecaster and Holverton (a)
- The Walford Rovers matches are not included because so little info is given about the team. I've tried to piece them together, but in the Deans Park match they had 16 visually different outfield players. There is no consistency through the other matches, for example, three players named as left-wingers, two different men wearing number 11 all in one match! I've not even managed a complete XI all named and pictured.
- Walford (82/83) side - 1 ???; 2 Terry... , 3 Jackson/Simpson, 4 Jerry..., 5 Nick...; 6 Alan Shields, 7 Alec..., 8 Joe Bellamy; 9 Roy Race, 10 Nick Johnson, 11 Mike...
- Any questions on the Walford matches/team etc. please ask below...