After months of anticipation, the big day arrives. Despite the loud backing of a crowd that seems partial to the Oakland Raiders, they lose by a score of 38-14. This concludes our London Odyssey series by Marcus Marsden.
It is an emotional homecoming for Marcus Marsden, the OFFICIAL London correspondent for the Accidental Travel Writer representing the Raider Nation in Britain.
Marcus flies from his home in Singapore to his hometown of London, England, to root for the Oakland Raiders, a team he has enthusiastically backed for more than 30 years.
Following a sightseeing tour of the city, a party, a street fair, and a mouth watering brunch, it’s time for Marcus to head to Wembly Stadium, where the Oakland Raiders enjoy a home field advantage as they take on their old American Football League rivals, the Miami Dolphins.
Fans awake Sunday morning a bit worse for wear following a fun-packed weekend. They make their ways – decked out head to toe in Silver and Black – to a sumptuous venue, where a hearty English style breakfast awaits.
“So, after many months of planning, by fans from all over the world, Gameday finally arrived, and it dawned warm and sunny, which was a bonus!
“The festivities began with a pre-game brunch in Central London, where many of the Raider Nation congregated to fill up with some good old-fashioned English breakfasts and a settling mug of ale (or two).”
A Road Well Travelled
Following brunch, Raider fans make their ways to Wembly Stadium, a road well travelled by Marcus Marsden.
He has been there countless times before, but this will be the first to watch an American football game.
"From there, we descended on the London Underground and made our way up to the game.
"Walking up the famous Wembley Way with so many Silver and Black-clad fans was a great experience."
Deja Vu All Over Again!
The Oakland Raiders are the official hosts, turning Wembly Stadium into something of a Black Hole II!
“I have been to Wembley many times over the years, but there was certainly something unique about this visit.
“Wembley was sold out – 84,000 people packed in – and it was wonderful for an NFL fan like myself to see so many jerseys from so many teams in the crowd. Everyone mixing and sitting together with not a hint of trouble.”
The Oakland Raiders flopped on the football field, but the passion of their fans never flagged. Many fans said it was like attending a home game at Oakland's notorious Black Hole.
And most fans – including our OFFICIAL correspondent – went home with bitter sweet memories of their London Odyssey.
“Of course, the performance of the team and the result was a huge disappointment; we basically made the 2014 Dolphins look like the 1984 49ers, but honestly, looking around the Raider Nation at the end, the spirit and passion for the team remained as strong as ever.
“We are 0-4 and yet I know for a fact, that at 4 am on October 13th, I will sitting in my Singapore apartment clutching a mug of coffee, shouting at the TV screen, and believing that this just might be the game where we turn the corner: such is the life of a true fan (or madman).
“That brings an end to my little series for the Accidental Travel Writer. I hope you have enjoyed it. It has been great fun, and now my long trip back to Singapore begins.”
Heartfelt thanks to Marcus Marsden for allowing me – and readers of the Accidental Travel Writer – to experience his London Odyssey vicariously through his pictures and his posts.