Recky Carter: Bromsgrove Rovers legend
Local hero ~ Ed Upright remembers watching his favourite Bromsgrove striker fire his side up the divisions
For several years in the 1990s I spent every January 1 at either the Victoria Ground or Aggborough. Bromsgrove Rovers against Kidderminster Harriers was always on New Year's Day and the Worcestershire derby was not an occasion to be missed.
I quickly decided to favour Bromsgrove. There could have been several reasons for this – I liked the chip shop outside their ground, have never minded green on a football shirt and admired the boar on Rovers' badge. But the real reason for this was down to one player – Bromsgrove striker Recky Carter.
These were golden days for Rovers. After winning 15 home games in a row in 1991-92 to gain promotion to the Conference, they finished runners-up to Martin O’Neill's Wycombe Wanderers the following season. In 1993-94, Rovers travelled to Northampton in the first round of the Cup. Carter’s excellent run and finish won that game and Rovers then beat Yeovil at Huish Park. Barnsley eventually knocked them out but Bromsgrove were 1-0 up for most of the game, prompting Tykes manager Viv Anderson to describe his side as the "luckiest team in the world".
All this is documented in an excellent YouTube compilation. Other highlights include a cheery policewoman describing a Rovers win as "Just what people need in Bromsgrove. Cheer them up before Christmas" and extended footage of the Cup draw, showcasing Lancaster Gate's foul colourscheme of marrowfat pea and apricot.
Carter's strike partner Steve Taylor, who scored 22 goals in 1994-95 and then moved to Crystal Palace, deserves honourable mention. But, to my eyes at least, Carter was at the centre of Bromsgrove's success. He worked hard, constantly chasing and harrying. Carter scored goals and was very quick, strong and technical. Above all, he was loyal, staying with Bromsgrove in the face of inevitable "interest from higher up the leagues" to score 83 goals for the club. I can still remember the tune to the "Ooo Recky Carter" song.
Bromsgrove continued to make history, winning the Bob Lord Trophy (now the Conference League Cup) consecutively in 1995 and 1996. After beating Kettering 4-1 in the first leg of the final in 1995, Carter seemed upset at the efforts of his opponents. His prediction for the second leg was: "I'm quite confident that we can go there and get the same result." Rovers did better than that, winning 6-1 at Rockingham Road for a 10-2 aggregate victory.
I’ve since looked for updates on Carter but apart from an Independent match report from 1996 – which mentions nights working as a security guard and being "renowned for sleeping on the bus to away fixtures" – there is very little to be found. From snippets of information from local West Midlands leagues, however, Carter has since gone on to represent Barnt Green Spartak, Warley and Smethwick.
In 1997 Bromsgrove were relegated from the Conference. Their decline was terminal. After a series of financial troubles, Rovers were dissolved in 2010 and the local council granted the Victoria Ground lease to a new not-for-profit organisation, Bromsgrove Sporting FC. On January 2, 2012, Sporting beat Northfield Town 4-0. It still seems somehow right that Bromsgrove win convincingly in the first days of a new year. Ed Upright
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