If you could be a famous footballer, which one would you choose? Pele? Messi? Ronaldo?

If success is your yardstick it might be wiser to choose Roy Race. His playing career lasted an incredible 38 years and during that time his medals tally made Ryan Giggs’s look mediocre.

Racey won ten championships, ten FA Cups and all the European trophies. The only area where he missed out was as an England player, always being injured for major championships.

Of course Roy Race didn’t really exist but he might as well have done. His name has gone down in football folklore. Whenever a player or club wins against the odds it’s described as a Roy of the Rovers moment.

Roy first appeared in September, 1954, in a new boys’ comic called Tiger. He was a talented young lad taken on by the biggest club in the country, Melchester Rovers.

Melchester was clearly based on Manchester United but bits and pieces of the story were lifted from elsewhere. Mel Park had “marble halls” just as Arsenal’s old Highbury stadium did.

Tiger continued until 1985 although Roy got his own comic in the 1970s. In that time he changed as the game did. At the start it was a children’s picture strip in which Race upheld the highest standards of the game and won almost always.

Later, he married and had children. Sadly his wife, Penny, died in a crash but Roy has proved indestructible, surviving a shooting, a bomb blast which killed eight team-mates, a career-ending helicopter crash, an earthquake at Mel Park, and even the death of British boys’ comics.

Mike Pavasovic – follow Mike on Twitter @CharlieBunyan