Eleven Little Soccer Boys

A football strip from The Hornet.

© D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd.

Danny Hawke surveys his Ashfield Rovers winning 1963 British Youth team.

See The Hornet issues 273 to 292.

Writer:- The Hornet editorial team. Artist:- Josep Marti.

Main cast:- Danny Hawke, football manager; Joe Kenton, trainer; Silvester J. 'Tight Wad' Tyson.

Time period:- late 1960's.

As a player and trainer/manager, Danny Hawke has experienced the highs of football. As manager of Ashfield Rovers, Danny Hawke finds himself experiencing the lows of football. The Rovers are an inept team, unable even to pass the ball convincingly to another player. The Rovers at the start of the present season do though have a 100% record, played five matches and lost five matches. And are thus firmly anchored at the bottom of the Fourth Division (* See below).

© D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd.

Hawke can't bear to watch as his team concede yet another goal.

Danny Hawke in an attempt to raise morale and try and teach the Rovers players how to play football, hires a film of the match in which the British Youth team won the International Youth Trophy. The players (the eleven little soccer boys), in this team are the squad Hawke trained. The Rovers team find themselves viewing this film time after time, as Hawke lectures them on how a football team should play. It's Kenton the coach's suggestion which sets Hawke off on the trail of locating and re-signing the eleven little soccer boys to play for Rovers. (For the complete story please read the first episode below).

Locating and signing the players to play for Rovers though isn't going to be a simple matter. As the various individuals are scattered to the four winds around the globe and aren't necessarily playing football. There is also the problem of raising the necessary money to sign the players. As the directors of Rovers don't have any money, Hawke has to look elsewhere. Luckily he finds his own Roman Abramovich in football mad Tyson. Silvester J. 'Tight Wad' Tyson, was a former director of Rovers, but once they were relegated from the Second Division, he left the board. Unfortunately for Hawke, unlike Abramovich, Tyson isn't keen on handing out loads of money and is also very crotchety. Hawke has to use all of his psychology skills to forge an agreement with Tyson which will allow Hawke to look for his former team players, but keeping costs to a minimum.

  • Hawke's former youth team - The Eleven Little Soccer Boys which Hawke is determined to track down.

  • Bancroft, Stan - Outside Left - now a youth trainer for street urchins in Rome, Italy.
  • Brown, Colin - Right-half - Double trouble with Colin's double twin Mick, who is out to knock Rovers out of the F.A. Cup.
  • Cope, Alan - Centre Forward - Framed by a gang of criminals and thus can't play football again.
  • Dixon, 'Diehard' Danny - Lost his confidence as a defender.
  • Dodd, Alfie - Inside Right - detained at one of Her Majesty prisons.
  • Jenks 'Stonewall' Brian, - Left Half - conned into signing a contract for a non-existant club.
  • Land, Sammy - Goalkeeper - window cleaner, who has lost his confidence in diving for the ball at an opponents feet.
  • Lasky, Dick - Centre Forward - mercenary soldier fighting in the African state of Basanga.
  • McNeil, Alex - Right Wing - has been cursed by an Indian Fakir (a witch doctor), after McNeil accidentally hit him with a football.
  • Siddon, Jeff - Imprisoned in a jail in Karovia on spying charges.
  • Spencer, Jerry - Centre Half - playing 'football' American style for The High Peak Trotters Football Club.

    Eventually, after many adventures (losing his memory, being shot and so on) and visiting many different countries Hawke achieves his aim of rebuilding his successful Youth Team.

    Another great football strip, with the 'angle' being the search for the eleven football players. The storylines are excellent and with artwork by Marti this is another winner.

    * This series was published in 1970 when the English Premiership and Championship leagues didnít exist. Instead of the Premiership there was League Division One and for the Championship, league Division Two.

    The following adventures of the Eleven Little Soccer Boys are from issues 273, 276, 277 and 292. My apologies for the poor quality of some of the scans. Some of the Hornet comics pages are a little the worse for wear.

    Artist Marti. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist Marti. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist Marti. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd

    Artist Marti. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist Marti. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist Marti. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd

    Artist Marti. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist Marti. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist Marti. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist Marti. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd

    Artist Marti. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist Marti. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist Marti. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist Marti. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd

    © Adrian Banfield, 2009.