Time for a new sport, not unhappy with the old one (s) , just fancied seeing something different. We managed to pick up tickets for the NFL International Series at Wembley. This was useful, as I’d wanted to try an NFL game, but didn’t want to waste a days holiday if it was rubbish.
A couple of train tickets and less than an hour later we are in Wembley, and we are at the home of Real Football ™ to watch a different kind of football.
The place was rammed, unlike a football game, there were people there from 11am for a 6pm kick off (punt off?). Anyway, it was busy as you like and full of fanzones and food trucks, and people and cheerleaders, and people (did I mention the amount of people ?). And lots of fancy dress.
Now I struggle to watch a sport of if don’t have someone to cheer for, but I don’t have a team, so i needed one quick. I had decided during the week, that if the Raiders were good enough for Public Enemy and NWA back in the day, then its good enough for me. So, a quick trip to the merch area to kit out and we are good to go.
The main fanpark shut early, so we wandered into the stadium, to see whats going on. First thing was, because it wasn’t a real football game, you could get a beer without too much hassle, and everyone seemed genuinely happy to be there. Odd I know, but hey sports fans, thats how it happens over “there”. This was an hour before kick off and the teams come out to warm up to boos and cheers, and the Cheerleaders were in full flow. And you can take beer to your seat. WIN
Then I noticed some trucks being wheeled on while the warm up is on. ??? Turns out it is a stage, so that Def Leppard (yep?) can knock out 4 hits in what is known as pre-game “entertainment”. As has been mentioned elsewhere, Motorhead would of been better, but it passed the time.
Then we get national anthems? WTF? For an international yes, not for what is a league game in all but location. Anyway, we finish spangling banners and saving queens, and then the main event begins. And do you know what? I enjoyed it, especially as the Raiders scored from the get go. RAAAAAAIIIIIIIDERRRRRSSSSSS.
At this stage, I have a new team, they are good, they are not West Ham, they are not the Knicks, they are not England (or Scotland), they are not even Ebbsfleet, they are winners. Needless to say, they then went backwards at a rate that stunned I think even seasoned watchers of the game. They were 24 – 7 down at half time, and 38 – 7 down at the end of the 3rd.
I don’t think they made 20 yrds in any of their possessions. McFadden tries to carry the team on his own, and struggles. Carr, the young Raiders QB, was woeful with his passing, and his replacement McGloin wasn’t up to much either after fumbling a snap, and giving the ball away for the 4th Miami Touchdown.
The 2 minute warning goes and its time to leave, safe in the knowledge I have picked yet again another team with great support, and some good years ahead, interspersed with some shockers.
The Wembley tubes home were as disorganised as usual, just to remind us that we were in London NW, not Oakland CA.
Would I go again, yes, but only to see the Raiders, I really cannot handle non partisan sport.
Enjoy the photos: