Striker (comic)

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Striker is a comic strip and former magazine which has been featured in the tabloid newspaper The Sun since 1985, aside from two intervals between 2003 and 2005 (when it was an independent magazine) and September, 2009 to January, 2013 (when it was unpublished, apart from a nine-month run in the British magazine Nuts). It was created by Pete Nash.

Since its inception, the strip has revolved around the life of striker Nick Jarvis, who began his career as an apprentice footballer with First Division side Thamesford, before joining Warbury Warriors in 1994 as player/manager. The club were then a non-league side and Nick eventually led them to the Premier League. Several promotions and relegations have followed since then. Although Warbury won the European Champions League in 2009 (beating Chelsea) they have never actually won the Premier League.

Although Warbury Warriors is a fictitious team (as was Thamesford) the comic strip features them playing against real teams and players from England's Premier League and Football League every week. Unusually for a comic strip, the players and characters generally age in real time.

Nick's own playing career was ended in 2003 by a shark attack off Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia. In May, 2013, with Warbury in Division 2, Nick briefly made a playing comeback at the age of 45 to help them reach promotion to the Championship.

History[edit]

Publication

The strip first appeared in Britain's Sun newspaper on November 11, 1985, in a black-and-white pen and ink format, changing to colour in 1990. It retained the drawn style until 1998, when it was relaunched as Striker VR in a 3D-rendered format. While praised for its new style (3D-rendered art was rare at the time), Nash was not satisfied with the results and for the rest of the year reverted to the drawn format, with John Cooper temporarily taking over as artist while Nash remained as writer. The 3D format returned in early 1999, with the strip renamed Striker 3D. The strip's popularity was evident; by 2001, all but two of The Sun's other comic strips had been dropped to allow space for the enlarged Striker.

In late 2003, Striker broke away from The Sun and became its own magazine. While it still maintained a loyal fan base, it was not stocked by many larger retailers and it suffered from financial problems throughout its run. It nearly folded in mid-2004 but was saved by a share issue to its readers, who contributed nearly £200,000. The magazine lasted for another year before ceasing production in 2005. In the meantime The Sun replaced Striker with its own 3D football strip, called The Premier. The Premier was derided for its poor-quality art (which was initially compared unfavourably to Striker VR, although it later improved somewhat) and predictable, ludicrous story lines.

In October, 2005, after an uncertain few months (when strips from the comic appeared in the Daily Record), it was agreed to bring Striker back to The Sun (replacing The Premier). Striker's return to The Sun was to last for four years until September, 2009.

In January, 2010, Striker appeared as a full-page comic strip in the weekly UK lads' magazine Nuts, running for nine months. From late 2010 to the end of 2012, it was unpublished.

Striker returned to The Sun for a second time on January 7, 2013. It now appears seven days a week.

The Thamesford Years 

When the strip started in 1985, Thamesford Football Club were based in London and managed by Jim Cassidy. Shortly after Jarvis joined the club, another striker (Gary Lewis) decided Nick was a threat to him and framed him for rape. Lewis' plot failed when the accusing girl proved to be mentally unstable at trial, claiming to have slept with a host of First Division players. Lewis' involvement in the affair remained unknown to most, but he soon found himself in trouble when he drunkenly crashed a car he was driving. In a panic, he swapped his unconscious girlfriend (who was also Jarvis' ex-girlfriend) into the driver's seat told the police she was the driver. Nick eventually proved that Lewis was the driver, resulting in Lewis' imprisonment for subverting the course of justice and ending his footballing career.

Other plot lines included Jarvis being framed for drug possession; a club chairman from America fleeing a guilt-ridden past; Jarvis being forced (at gunpoint) to marry the pregnant daughter of a Mafia boss; helping a Russian player and his wife defect to the West; and getting involved with a juvenile delinquent with promising football skills and an abusive father. Many plots revolved around Jarvis' relationship with manager Jim Cassidy (who frequently called for aspirin for the headaches Jarvis and others caused him, and desired his players to appear more on the—sporting—back pages of the newspapers rather than the headlines in front.

In 1992, Jarvis bought a house from the club's newly appointed chairman, and the chairman's father (also his predecessor as chairman) had stipulated in his will that the owner of the house also owned his estate and the football club. After attempting to murder Nick, the chairman drained the club's bank accounts and nearly bankrupted it, before fleeing the country. Nick sold the property to pay some of the club's debts, but a disgruntled former director of the club persuaded their bank to initiate bankruptcy procedures. Nick and Cassidy were forced to sell every player except Nick and a few younger players, filling out the squad from cheap (or free) transfers from lower-league clubs. Shortly after an FA Cup victory in 1994, Nick sold his stake in the club and left. By this time, however, he was considered past his prime; the only club interested in him were the Conference side, Warbury.

During the Thamesford years, the position of club chairman seemed to be cursed. Several died, two fled the country to escape prosecution and Nick had a hard time as club owner; the chairman with the smoothest ride was rock star Rod Stewart.

Warbury era

Jarvis joined the Warbury Warriors as player-manager, under a brief from chairman Eric Openshaw to get the side to the Premier League by 1998 (which would have meant getting promotion every year afterwards). Openshaw had a bet with the owner of a supermarket chain that he could do this; if Warbury failed, he would bankrupt the club and hand their ground over to his rival. Openshaw was nearly successful, since the side lost the 1998 Division One play-off final. By that time it was irrelevant; a former player burned the stadium down the previous year, invalidating the bet.

Warbury reached the Premiership the following year, struggling before finding their feet in their second season. Openshaw's refusal to spend money on extra players took its toll during their third season, and the side was relegated. Toward the end of that season, two corrupt businessmen (Charles Bullion-Browne and Jeremy Grubbet) purchased Warbury to close the club down, since they only wanted the land Gasworks Road stadium sat on. Jarvis was forced out, and the club went briefly out of business. Their plan eventually failed when it was discovered that a 1-foot-wide (0.30 m) "ransom strip" around the whole ground was owned by an old lady named Ethel, who would not give permission for the ground to be used for anything other than sport. Without the stadium, they lost interest in their acquisition and sold it back to Openshaw. Jarvis played for an Australian club until his leg was severed in a shark attack.[1] Although his leg was reattached, his playing days were over. He returned to Warbury near the end of the season, but since the players were out of condition, the training facilities dilapidated, and the club having forfeited any points from the matches they didn't play, they were again relegated.

In Division Two the side won promotion easily, but the season was marred by two events. Openshaw's wife Vanessa was kidnapped by a gang who forced the club to lose 9-0 to Manchester United in a League Cup match. The criminals' ineptitude made it easy for the police to catch them, however, and the result was voided (although United won the rematch). Due to injuries to their main goalkeepers Jarvis signed an American goalkeeper, Chuck Rivers. Rivers suffered from depression and abused drugs; he committed suicide after some of his former drug dealers nearly killed one of his teammates.

In the Championship (the former Division One), Openshaw sold part of the club to a Russian gangster known as Boris Anokov. Gary Lewis (now managing a nearby pub) hatched a new plot: he would fake his own death at Jarvis' hands and claim the insurance money. Anokov found Lewis useful; he made him turn the pub into a brothel, giving Lewis the money to buy the pub and transfer it to Boris. Lewis never bought the pub, fleeing to the Cayman Islands with Boris' money. Jarvis was nearly convicted for the murder, but Lewis eventually confessed to the crime (after Anokov was killed by a rival gangster) and was imprisoned.

After a poor start to the 2005–2006 season (and being refused permission to sign Joe Rock, a player from The Premier), Jarvis attempted to resign and become manager of Portsmouth. However, Openshaw recorded an insulting phone call made by Jarvis, edited it and replayed it to Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric; Jarvis seemed to be turning down the job offer and insulting Mandaric. A Chinese businesswoman (Li Ming) bought the club to turn them into the country's top side, and Openshaw remained in charge. Desperate to receive a £10 million payout promised by Li if Warbury was promoted to the Premiership, Openshaw convinced Jarvis to sign Ramiro Alvarez (a player from Juventus). Alvarez, however, spoke no English, played badly and went AWOL when Jarvis refused to play him in the first team (as promised by Openshaw). Alvarez' high salary caused unrest between Jarvis and the players. Li Ming was unhappy with her investment, telling Jarvis he would be fired if Warbury filed to reach the Premiership at the end of the season.

As the season continued, Jarvis and Li Ming began to fall in love, and during a session of martial arts they decided to pursue a relationship. When Openshaw vanished under mysterious circumstances, Vanessa discovered that he arranged a DNA test for his son Todd which had proven he was not the boy's father (Jarvis was). Meanwhile, Warbury won the play-off final and would be returning to the Premiership after a four-year absence. Li Ming's father discovered her relationship with Jarvis, and demanded its end. Her rivalry with Vanessa for Jarvis' affections led her to fire him.

Openshaw returned several weeks after he disappeared; he had gone hiking to Devon to clear his head after finding out about Todd's lineage. He then walked the moors for some time, before being bitten by a snake (and claiming it was an adder, though he suffered no ill-effects from the bite). Looking for help, he found a pub run by a woman called Doris. Eric and Doris fell in love; when they returned to Warbury, Eric told Vanessa he would divorce her and marry Doris.

Li Ming was unable to find a new manager, as none of the candidates (including Sven-Göran Eriksson) were suitable. She rehired Nick, telling him she did not want to restart their relationship. When she informed her father she would not be handing over control of the club to her brother, her father slapped her and told his daughter that he would cut off her trust fund. With the club in dire straits (and favourites for relegation at the end of the season), Li Ming found herself under pressure to raise money to buy new players. With the transfer window about to close until January, Li Ming secured an investment fund to buy players; the conditions were that she was only given a limited selection of players to choose from and if they were sold, the fund would take most of the profits.

Due to bad blood between Li Ming and her father, the Warbury chairwoman was attacked in the Warbury club car park and then kidnapped. Li's captors demanded a £2 million ransom from Li's father. As Li's father and brother finally reached the hideout, Li was escaping. She heard a shot and ran outside, to see her father lying motionless on the floor. Her brother, Chan, told her the captors had shot him; he then turned the gun on Li, saying he had to kill her because their father favoured Li . Li tried to reason with Chan; their father woke up and distracted him, and he dropped the gun. However, after punching Li Chan grabbed the gun. About to shoot, he slipped, fell down a well and died. Li's father then told her he was sorry for trying to control her decisions and left everything to her.

Warbury managed to scramble to mid-table with a late run of good results, before they achieved their highest-ever finish of fourth place in the 2007-08 season, entering the UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history. Despite mediocre league form in the 2008-09 season (mostly due to club captain Kurt Panzer suffering mental health problems caused by his being blackmailed by a German couple whose son he had unwittingly killed in his youth), Warbury progressed through to the Champions League final, where they were victorious.

Amid the backdrop of Warbury's European adventure, Nick and Li Ming had begun a relationship and by the summer of 2009 had agreed to get married. However, Li Ming announced at a formal dinner (without consulting him beforehand) that Nick would leave his job as Warbury manager to become manager of the Chinese national team. Nick was so outraged by this action that he ended his relationship with Li Ming, who in turn withdrew her financial support for Warbury and attempted to have the club bankrupted. She eventually sold the now almost-worthless club to star French player Fabian De Guisson, who in turn sold it on to dunce defender Scrapper Griswell. Just as it looked like Scrapper had bought a dud, a saviour appeared at the last minute in the guise of Sheikh Mustapha Futti Khalub.

At this point, Striker parted company with The Sun a second time, and the story was continued in weekly magazine Nuts. The Sheikh bought the bankrupt club from Scraper and with Eric's help was able to persuade the Premier League not to expel them. Despite the heavy points deductions imposed on the club, Nick was able to steer them to Premier League survival on the last day, only for he and Eric to be sacked days later for not being high-profile enough for the Sheikh's liking. After a nine-month run in Nuts, Striker went on hiatus for two-and-a-half years.

When the strip returned to The Sun for a second time - on January 7, 2013 - it was revealed that Warbury had suffered successive relegations to League One in the intervening years, and that they were threatened with bankruptcy and expulsion from the Football League due to an unpaid tax bill. Nick and Eric had both retired from football in the meantime, with the former having become a television pundit (a job which he quickly lost after repeatedly staring at his female co-host's legs). It subsequently turned out that the Sheikh's kingdom had fallen into a financial crisis, and in order to raise enough money to prevent it from being annexed by the United Arab Emirates, he sold the club back to Li Ming, who had since come to regret her actions in attempting to destroy the club four years previously, and quickly moved to re-hire Nick and Eric. Taking over a poor team which had been assembled by the Sheikh and a succession of intervening managers, Nick managed to haul them up from an unimpressive mid-table spot to promotion via the play-offs, during which time he temporarily came out of retirement due to the team's strikers being injured, inexperienced or talentless. In the summer, he began reassembling part of his old squad for the upcoming campaign in the Championship.

Characters[edit]

Nick Jarvis is the main character of the strip.

Li Ming Wong is the owner of Warbury Warriors, in her second spell in the role, having originally brought it from Eric Openshaw in 2006, and then Sheikh Mustapha Futti Khalub in 2013. After an attempt on her life by her brother a few months after buying the club, she spent the next two years mostly running her late father's businesses, but returned to the club to take an active role during the season which saw them win the European Cup. She attempted to bankrupt the club following the breakdown of her relationship with Nick, though she re-purchased the club four years later and the two rekindled their romance, despite Nick still not entirely trusting her. She was killed in an explosion on her yacht while on honeymoon with Nick whom she married days earlier.

Eric Openshaw is the club's chief executive. He made his fortune from a pork factory, where he started as a carcass-griller. He was forced to sell the factory to raise money for the club's second stadium in 1997. Eric has a strong northern accent. He often seems like a buffoon. Openshaw is tight with his money, and argues with Jarvis over his unwillingness to pay for players. He questioned his son Todd's paternity; after discovering his true parentage, he attempted to divorce his wife Vanessa and met a woman his own age, Doris, though quickly took Vanessa back due to Doris's voracious sexual appetite. After spending three years out of the game, he attempted to buy back Warbury Warriors in 2013 (largely because Vanessa was nagging him to spend less time around the house), and while Li Ming outbid him, she swiftly re-employed Eric in his former Chief Executive role.

Vanessa Openshaw is Eric's wife. She has cheated on him with Nick and most of the team, making little secret of the fact that she married Eric for his money. As a result of a liaison with Nick she conceived a son, Todd. She told Eric that he was the father, although the baby shared neither Vanessa's nor his hair colour and their sex life was almost nil. Eventually, Eric discovered the truth, leading to their marriage temporarily breaking down. Despite still being married to Eric, and Nick being in a relationship with Li Ming, Vanessa makes little secret of the fact that Nick is the man she truly desires.

Celia Montgomery is a relationship counsellor who counselled Fabian de Guisson and Vanessa Openshaw in February and March 2007. After mediating between Fabian and Vanessa, Celia asked to see each of them separately. During her first session with Fabian he came on to her, prompting her to scream for help and accuse Fabian of sexually harassing her. The case was dismissed when Fabian's lawyer lied that he had acted as he had because of a mental condition, and Fabian spent time in a mental hospital. Montgomery reappeared at the Gasworks Road stadium in September 2007 as the club's sports psychologist, continuing to appear in that role for the next three years. When the strip relaunched in 2013, it was revealed that Sheikh Mustapha Futti Khalub laid her off shortly after sacking Nick, and she has not been seen since.

Dave Boreham is Nick's assistant. He had an undistinguished playing career, the highlight of which was nearly winning promotion to Division Two with Newport County in 1983. Dave has managed the team on a few occasions, including in 2002–2003 when Nick quit and again when Nick was jailed for Gary Lewis' apparent murder in 2005. Dave has a beautiful daughter named Alex, who worked as a lap dancer.

Rufus Lebonque is the side's first-choice goalkeeper. Nick spotted him in Haiti after his holiday in Barbados went awry, and signed him after a court order forced the club to sign more non-white players. As a result of this, Teflon Davis was transfer-listed and went on a drinking binge that resulted in his death. Rufus' performance was poor until he started wearing Voodoo face paint. The team once had their summer break in Haiti at a hotel owned by Rufus’ uncle, an Elvis impersonator. He has a Jamaican accent, and believes that it may be because his relatives come from there. During the strip's hiatus he was forced to return to Haiti due to work permit problems, and while there he entered into a polygamous marriage, which he was only too happy to escape when Nick offered him the chance to return to Warbury.

Tim Cavendish and Ryan Evans are the side's two reserve keepers.

Scrapper Griswell plays defence. He had anger-management problems, and was a target for opposing players (despite his great stature). He has had two stints in prison: one when he was falsely accused of rape, and another when he broke into the office of the club's owners in 2002 to find out what their plans for the club were. His wife is Bertha, a stewardess at the club and a bog snorkelling champion. Their wedding ended in disaster when a flood forced their guests to swim to safety. After selling Warbury in 2009 he became a multi-millionaire, only to be swindled out of his fortune by a corrupt investment banker, forcing him to return to the club in 2013.

Mehmet Hassan is a Turkish fullback, signed in summer 2006.

Phil Austin is a homosexual defender. His partner is named Lance. He is currently Warbury's longest-serving player, having played for the club continually since around 1997, and being one of the few former members of Nick's team to remain at the club throughout the Sheikh's ownership.

Gerald de Courcey is another defender, and formerly captain of the club. He has a degree in ancient Greek philosophy, but took up football after finding out that his degree was not helpful in finding a job. He is an intellectual snob, and will sometimes make intelligent-sounding arguments on subjects which have no truth behind them. He was once spotted reading The Joy of Sub-particle Physics in bed. de Courcey appears to have retired from football, having not been seen or mentioned since the strip's return in 2013.

Kurt Panzer (a.k.a. Klaus Gerber) plays midfield, and is the club's no-nonsense captain. He is nicknamed "The Tank" and has an interest in military history. His favourite phrase is "Zat is very silly". During the strip's hiatus he played for various clubs in Germany, and was working for a sportswear company when Nick re-signed him in 2013.

Groucho Mendoza is an Argentinian defender, known for his greasy mullet and unpleasant odour. His girlfriend, Eva Gerron, was forced into performing sex acts on Boris Anokov as an act of blackmail. Another of the few players who stayed at Warbury throughout the Sheikh's ownership.

Joe Rock is a utility player, who generally prefers midfield. He was originally one of the main characters in The Premier and left the club after its new owner, a Mafia boss, had him assaulted for questioning the running of the club. Joe was Nick's first signing after Li Ming took over, though after a few years found himself surplus to requirements, and was sold in the summer of 2008.

Danny Brooks is a midfielder, signed from Manchester United in summer 2006. In late 2006 he accompanied Vanessa Openshaw, who was dating Fabian de Guisson at the time, to the cinema. Vanessa discovered Fabian there with another woman; he then accused her of cheating with Brooks.

Callum Angelo is one of the team's main forwards. He had a troubled life due to his poor background (his mother, Donna, worked as a dominatrix in order to make ends meet, and continues to do so despite Callum's sizable income providing her with a comfortable lifestyle), but is one of the team's best players. Callum and Scrapper were sent to prison for breaking into the office of the club's owners in late 2002 to find evidence of suspicious goings-on. He was briefly set to transfer to Newcastle in 2004, but was stabbed by Chuck Rivers' former drug dealers and the transfer was called off while he recovered. He eventually moved to the Tyneside club, implicitly leaving Warbury in protest of Nick's dismissal by the Sheikh, but agreed to return to the club in 2013 out of loyalty to Nick.

Fabian de Guisson is the side's other main forward. He joined from Paris St. Germain for £500,000 during Warbury's first Premiership season. He regards himself as too good for the club, and constantly talks of moving to a bigger team. He has a son, Romeo, from a one-night stand. He considered giving Romeo up for adoption, but changed his mind upon discovering that Romeo was a good footballer. In March 2007, Fabian's sexual-assault case brought by Celia Montgomery was dismissed when Fabian's lawyer lied about his mental condition. Fabian spent time in a mental hospital, where he argued with the patients and had sex with a doctor he thought was his; his real doctor diagnosed him with a severe case of narcissism. During the strip's hiatus he moved to LA Galaxy, though fled the country after a scandal in which he unknowingly took in a teenage runaway, and returned to Warbury on a cut-price contract. Fabian's trademark goal celebration is 'The Peacock Strut', which both the opposition and his own team mates see as him showing off and being arrogant, this celebration is particularly used after he has scored a solo effort or wonder goal. His son Romeo has also used this celebration.

Ewan Merenghi is the side's first-choice forward. He was signed from Cowdenbeath, Scotland (also known as the Blue Brazil) and Nick signed him on the recommendation of a former teammate from Thamesford. He has dropped out of favour in the side, with new player Mikael Torvern preferred in front. On the team's trip to Los Angeles in summer 2007 Ewan got drunk and married Cindy, an American girl his teammates called a gold-digger. Cindy then revealed to Ewan that she had substantial money of her own, clearing up his doubts about her. Cindy was planning to divorce Ewan for half his money. Before she could do this she was murdered by her American ex-boyfriend, Kyle Banner. Despite falling out of favour, Ewan remained at Warbury during the Sheikh's ownership, and was restored to the team by Nick when he returned in 2013. As the side's lone competent striker his goals proved critical to Warbury's promotion challenge, thus it was a major blown when he suffered a season-ending injury with a month of the campaign left (though fortunately Warbury won promotion anyway).

Mikael Torvern is a striker, signed in 2006. He soon began to score plenty of goals and firmly established his spot in the team, replacing Ewan Merenghi.

Plot lines[edit]

Li Ming Wong kidnapping

When Li Ming took over at Warbury, her father was unhappy about it. When Li began a relationship with Jarvis, her father ordered her to end it and fire him. She did, but eventually gave him his job back. During summer 2006, her father visited Li at Gasworks Road with her brother Chan. Li was attacked by thugs in the car park but fought them off, believing the attack to be orchestrated by her father. A short time later, Li was attacked by the same thugs at her house and kidnapped. The kidnappers demanded £2 million from Li's father. Li's father and brother went to the place where Li was being held with the ransom. Meanwhile, Li hatched a plan to escape from where she was being held. As Li's father and brother arrived she killed one of the three kidnappers, escaped and knocked the remaining two kidnappers out. She heard a single gunshot, and raced up to find her father lying on the ground. She turned to Chan for help, only to see that he was pointing the gun at her. Chan revealed he had shot their father and would do the same to her, as he was sick of being made to feel worthless by them both. Li pleaded with him; as he prepared to shoot, their father distracted him by calling out. Li kicked the gun out of her brothers hand; when Chan recovered his gun and prepared to shoot again, he stumbled and fell 150 ft down an unused mine shaft to his death. Li made peace with her dying father, who left his £15 billion fortune to her.

Scrapper and Bertha's wedding

During summer 2006, Scrapper Griswell married his girlfriend Bertha. Since Bertha was a champion bog snorkeller, the wedding was held at a peat bog in Wales where the annual bog-snorkelling tournament took place. Rufus's Uncle Luis provided music and entertainment for the wedding. During the reception Fabian first made advances towards Vanessa Openshaw, taking her outside to a portable toilet for some privacy. However, Fabian's nanny Mona discovered what they were up to, and pushed the portable toilet over. Meanwhile, due to Scrapper's negligence the party was disrupted by a flood and the guests had to swim to safety through the bog. Fabian and Vanessa's portable toilet drifted out into open water; they were airlifted to safety, with a news report suggesting they used the toilet as a makeshift boat.

Fabian in court

During February 2007 Fabian de Guisson began attending relationship counselling with his partner Vanessa Openshaw, with both claiming the other was cheating on them. The counsellor, Celia Montgomery, decided to see them both separately. At their first session, Fabian made advances towards her, Soon after, Fabian was signing copies of his autobiography Je Suis Magnifique at a Warbury bookshop, when he saw Montgomery. He asked her whether she would be pressing charges. As she struggled to get away, her dress caught in the door and came off, leaving her in her underwear in the street. Fabian ended up in court, accused of sexual harassment. The case went badly, however, Fabian's lawyer lied that he had acted because of a mental condition. As a result, Fabian was sent to a mental hospital. There, he made a plan to seduce his doctor so that she would sign his release papers. However, after he made love to the wrong doctor his real doctor arrived, diagnosing him with narcissism.

Los Angeles trip

In summer 2007, Li Ming Wong organised a tournament in Los Angeles. A few days into the trip, Jarvis arranged for him, Eric, Scrapper, Gerald, Fabian, Phil and Callum to have a plane tour of the Grand Canyon. However, plane trouble soon forced the pilots to crash-land in the water. Scrapper took the others on a raft to go for help. However, the strong current blew the raft off course, leaving the five in the raft in danger and Jarvis and the two pilots stranded. With a flare gun and a rope from the cockpit, Nick and the pilots were able to pull themselves to safety. The players' raft went down a waterfall, leaving the five stranded in a clearing. Scrapper and Callum went to find food, as Gerald told Eric, Fabian and Phil the legend of Bigfoot. The anxious players hear a gunshot from the woods. Three hillbillies emerge and engage in conversation with the players before Scrapper returns with Callum, attacks the hillbillies and escapes with the rest of the team. They find refuge in a cave, and Scrapper volunteers to search for the nearest town. When the others awaken, they find a large, gorilla-like monster standing at the cave's entrance. Gerald screams, only for the "monster" to pull off its fake head and reveal itself as Scrapper. The hillbillies, he explained, wanted him to wear this costume to bring back tourists and make people think a Bigfoot-type creature lived there. Openshaw wanted to leave, and looked for Scrapper. When he sees a gorilla-type monster searching through a bin and calls it, Scrapper asked why he was shouting. They turned to see the real monster, and ran for their lives.

Jim Sykes

Ewan Merenghi's agent, Jim Sykes, arrived early one season. Ewan's wife Cindy wished to be his agent and talked to Sykes about doing so. Sykes rejected Cindy's offer, but the two met at a hotel later on with Cindy attempting to bribe Sykes into accepting. During an investigation by the FA, it was discovered that Openshaw bribed Sykes during Merenghi's signing. Openshaw met Sykes and asked him for help, which Sykes refused. Openshaw went to church to pray for a way out; soon after, Sykes was found dead in his apartment from a gunshot wound to the head. Openshaw was arrested and questioned; his lack of an alibi and clear motive made him the prime suspect. Kyle Banner (Cindy Merenghi's ex-boyfriend), it turned out, killed Sykes to keep him from warning Merenghi about Banner.

Story's conclusion in 2009

During the 2009 preseason Warbury toured China, during which Jarvis and Li Ming planned to marry. During a banquet, Li Ming informed the guests that she had arranged for Jarvis to become manager of China's national team so they could win the World Cup. Angry at not being consulted, Jarvis turned down the job offer. The wedding was called off, with Li Ming vowing revenge. She sold the club to Fabian, who thought he had a bargain until Jarvis and Openshaw told him the club no longer had a stadium or any players; instead, they had a points deduction for going into bankruptcy and failing to provide a team. The only asset the club had was a piece of farmland which could only be developed as a football stadium. Fabian sold the land to Scrapper, who thought he could use it for housing since Fabian did not disclose the football-stadium provision. As Scrapper and his wife surveyed their seemingly-worthless land, a wealthy sheik offered to buy it.

The second ending of Striker[edit]

After a strip failed to appear in the Saturday, 8 August 2009 issue of The Sun, Pete Nash sent an email to those complaining about its absence:

Dear Reader,

RE: MISSING STRIKER ON SATURDAY

Thank you for your email. Please forgive the non-personal response but there have been so many queries about the missing strip on Saturday that I shall have to reply to them in the form of a circular.

I have contacted The Sun and it seems the problem can be attributed to the fact that in a few weeks I shall sadly be bringing Striker’s long run as a newspaper strip to an end. I know my decision will disappoint Striker’s fans but I feel strongly that the saga has gone as far as it should go and I have always promised myself that I would end Striker on a high rather than risk seeing it become stale.

I would be happy to consider relaunching it in the future and have offered to produce a new strip for The Sun in the meanwhile. To date, I have not had a response.

My intention is to work on new creative projects but I also want to develop the Striker story into other formats, including a series of books and, hopefully, the first of a sequence of animated movies. I shall post updates about this on our website, www.striker3d.net, which will be relaunched in September.

Because Striker will be ending in around five weeks’ time, The Sun have decided not to run the full-page football strips on Saturdays. Unfortunately this decision led to Striker being left out completely on Saturday, which, as far as I am concerned, should not have happened.

I am sorry to give you such disappointing news but I hope you will understand my reasons.

With apologies and best wishes,

Pete Nash

Striker ended its second run in The Sun on 18 September 2009.

Debut of Striker in Nuts[edit]

On 26 January 2010, Striker returned in Nuts magazine.[2]

End of Striker in Nuts[edit]

On 13 September 2010, Pete Nash announced on the Striker Fans Forum that Striker would cease publication in Nuts magazine effective 5 October. There were no plans for a return in another publication, since Nash wanted to focus his attention on "other projects".[3]

On Saturday 5 January 2013 front-page promotion appeared in The Sun stating "Striker returns on Monday". On Monday 7 January 2013 Striker returned to The Sun newspaper.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Striker's here to stay, The Sun.
  2. ^ Brook, Stephen (19 January 2010). "Striker comic strip transfers to Nuts magazine | Media | guardian.co.uk". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2011-11-17. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]

External links[edit]