Monday, 14 October 2013

1983/84 Season Review

Roy Race returned for a pre-season match, leading an International XI, in Vernon Eliot's testimonial. It was then that he discovered that the Melchester faithful still wanted him. But he promised he knew that he could never work with Sam Barlow again.

Roy's Walford side began the season well, as the players adapted to play "The Rovers" way. But the match between Melchester and Walford at Mel Park proved the turning point for Roy. His chairman recognised, after Roy missed a penalty, that Roy had some sort of mental block, he just could not beat Melchester. Sam Barlow resigned as chairman of Melchester and Roy returned the next day on an open top bus.

His return kick-started Melchester's season. Blackie Gray had been made permanent manager in the summer but the side were struggling, missing the inspiration of Roy and Paco Diaz. But not for long. A great run of comprehensive victories led Rovers to the F.A. Cup Final where Roy would face his nemesis from Walford, Joe Bellamy.

A massive injury crisis meant Rovers ran out at Wembley with an severely weakened side. Carter, Baxter, McKay and Logan all injured. Young Erol Bridger made his debut (and only documented appearance) at right-back. But of course Rovers won.

1983/84 Melchester Rovers matches, line-ups, scorers, results
League: Upper mid-table
League Cup: Second Round (L to Shefton)
F.A. Cup: Winners

Squad:
G - Carter, Williams
D - Baxter, McKay, Naylor, Guthrie, Gosden, Bridger
M - Slade, Gray, Jones, Wallace, Cassidy
F - Race, Logan, Ritchie, Richards

Line-up (4-3-3):
1983/84 Melchester Rovers Line-up Formation Players
      
Players in:
Rob Richards (Youth), Neville Jones (Youth), Roy Race (Walford Rovers), Erol Bridger (Youth)

Players out:
Paco Diaz (Varagosa), Cyril Knight (Unknown)


Racey Returns - Roy Race returns to Melchester


Notes:
- Roy Race's first match back as player-manager was Carford City (h)
- Nat Gosden retired after the F.A. Cup Final
- We learn more about the Walford team this season but still there's no consistency, lots of player names who appear only once.

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