Monday, 26 November 2007


So let me get this straight.Christmas is December 25th isn't it?

Because I swear someone just moved it to November 25th.Any RAIDER-hater out there would possibly suggest that being this excited about improving to 3-8 is a sad reflection of the way that this season has turned out, and you know what, I don't care, all of you powderblue, orange, or ketchup and mustard wearers can kiss my Silver and Black behind.Christmas has come early, not only did we break a six game losing streak, but we also broke a 17 game AFC West losing streak too, on the road in a stadium that had seen only three RAIDER wins since 1990 prior to this Sunday.Merry Xmas RAIDER NATION.

Due to the fact that here in England the game wasn't broadcast by our NFL satellite channel and our usual webcast option was also down, we could only see pictures of the second half, and that was from El Salvadorian TV in Spanish, thankyou El Salvador, TOUCHDOWN RAIDERS is a universal satement.

Having only seen a half, others will be able to break down the game more accurately, so my reflections of Christmas Sunday will be just that.

The game seemed to be heading the way of so many that had come before.We were making another no-name running back look like a superstar, we were struggling to convert in the red zone again depending on the new Mr. Reliable Seabass.Whenever we seemed to get ourselves back in the game, we would give up a big play and the pattern of being in a game long enough to find a way to lose it looked like it may continue.

Then strange things started to happen.Not only did Lamont Jordan score a TD, but Jerry Porter also pulled his finger out and hauled in a nice catch to set up Fargas' go ahead touchdown.The big play, and I mean the BIG play, came with 4:26remaining in the fourth quarter with the RAIDERS holding a slender three point advantage.The Chiefs, faced with a 4th and one at the RAIDERS 23 yard line, decided that, considering their rookie RB had already amassed 150 yards on the ground, one more yard would be easy enough and more of a sure bet than a forty yard FG attempt by Dave Rayner who had missed an earlier 33 yard try.

As the two teams walked to the line of scrimmage for that fourth and one play, time stood almost still, things were moving in super slow-mo, and a voice inside was saying WWWWeee DDDoooonnnttt SSSStttaaannddd AAAAA CCChhaannncee OOfff SSSttooppiinnnggg TThhhiisss.

Enter Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard, BOOM.I have rarely been so happy about a one yard loss.

The sight of The Pimpmaster, Huggy Jnr. taking that 3rd and eleven for a 21 yard gain to kill the game was a thing of utter beauty.Not only had the players finally closed out a game, our young Head Coach had done it as well, in a traditionally tough place to get a win.

Special mention should go to Justin Fargas for a 139 yard day at over 6 yards per carry, to Kirk Morrison for a ten tackle day, to Mike Huff for finally snagging his first INT, and to Derek Burgess for a two sack display.

This was a huge monkey off our backs, a big ugly one that had continually sat on the RAIDERS car bonnet in the safari park ripping off our wipers.Now we have a scent of AFC West victory in the nostrils, we have a chance to be unkind to donkeys next week, and that too is far overdue.

Everything is not suddenely rosy in the Silver and Black garden, but this win was a long time coming and should be enjoyed for a while, we are still only a game better than we were last week, but hopefully this was a benchmark for Lane Kiffin and his staff along with the players that will still be around in 2008.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007


Lamont Jordan uttered the words of the great voice of our times Englebert Humperdinck this week, and the news caused ripples of joy here at the Pond.

The RAIDERS should let him go.He obviously will not play a role in the remainder of the season based on his dramatic fall from grace over the last few weeks, and although he has kept his mouth shut this year, that could change as the frustration rises and we need the distraction of a disgruntled former starter like a hole in the head.

Jordan is set to make a base salary of $4.7 million next year, and I would rather see that money be invested elsewhere, in Nnamdi Asomugah's back pocket for instance.There is also the shadow of Micheal Bush looming, today is the day that the RAIDERS must either activate him or sit him until next year.I would rather have Bush suited for the rest of the season, even if he only touches the ball a few times, than have Jordan skulking the sidelines, the experience of just a handful of NFL carries would surely be a boost for Bush looking forward to next year, and who knows he may show flashes of the player he was before the injury which would be a boost for the team, coaches, and NATION.

Jordan has had one good season as a RAIDER but I could never warm to him as a player.I don't doubt that away from the football field he is a nice guy, but as a player he has never given enough for me on a consistent basis, which of course can be said of quite a few RAIDERS recently, but here we have one of them that wants to go and who is clearly expendable.

I say lets cut our losses with Jordan now, and give the Bush you can like a chance.Jordan may be tempted to dip back into the Humperdinck repertoire asking, Am I That Easy To Forget...............................

Monday, 19 November 2007


Its Monday, its a pretty typical 2007 Monday.The feeling from Sunday night has matched the feeling from the previous five.
I was going to talk of how we once again were down early, to come back, to ultimately blow it.I was going to talk of yet more terrible two minute drill play calling.I was going to say how again we were in a game in the fourth quarter and how at least we have made progress in certain areas, and once Lane Kiffin gets better personnel in we'll be better.I was possibly going to mention that considering the yardage amassed by Chester Taylor last night we should be happy that Adrian Peterson was watching with us.

So instead I went with the new Monday Mantra for the RAIDER NATION.Enjoy................

Saturday, 17 November 2007



The Thurston family of Hayward California.Once again you opened your home to us , provided food and drink and friendship, and allowed us to talk rubbish.We apologise for the rubbish.We thank you for the tickets, the tailgating, refridgerator decals, and the welcome that you all extend to us.In the words of the Governator, "We will be back"(It's near enough).

To the South Shield.Thankyou for all your hospitality, food, tequila, and the chance to hang out with some great people.We hope you don't mind us calling by next year and we'll bring the boiled eggs and soldiers.

To Ricky and Tina Ricardo, once again for making us so welcome as you do to so many of the RAIDER NATION, we told you we'd take good care of that barrell of Guiness Ricky.To Steve and Aaron behind the bar for reminding us whose drinks were whose, and where they had come from, Steve you may be Welsh but we like you anyway!

And to anyone who we shared a beer, story, laugh with , if we gave you the Blog address get in touch and say hello.Cheers.

To the mighty RAIDERHED.Probably the finest RAIDER band in the world called RAIDERHED.
Thanks for all the "Manchester in the house" shouts each time we saw you , getting a mention is always great coming from you guys.See you next year and we'll be listening in to RaiderFanRadio as usual.Cheers.
A special mention goes out to John Vella, Mike Davis, Rod Martin, and Derek Ramsey. a) For being Oakland Raiders and b)For taking time to have a chat to us all, and #53 I never saw you in that tree, your secret is safe.
Cheers to everyone...


This week I was frequenting a RAIDERS message board that I visit regularly, mainly for news, but to also see the opinion of a section of the NATION.
It must be said that I was already slightly pre-disposed to a negative view of said board, due to the fact that two prominent members were by far the most self-righteous arseholes I have ever met in my journeys to the bay, and that is a very rare thing amongst RAIDERS fans as we know.
The discussion had turned once again to Al Davis,and the most posted(because most posted means most intelligent , obviously), revealed that Al was the problem, now and for a long time, not the coaches or assistants or players, but Al, and he should step down and any former glories should also be brushed aside as that was yesterday and they want results now, plus he meddles and any good draft picks aren't his and any bad ones probably are etc etc.
In times of need, when any organisation is hurting, the preliminary target is the man at the top.In business, especially, the man at the top is probably put there by his cronies and has little else on his mind other than his own rewards.In the case of the RAIDERS the top man has nothing in his life other than THE RAIDERS and his family.
For me, Al Davis has , and does, nothing to actively hurt the RAIDERS purposely and I believe never will.I do not believe that he has ever done anything that in his mind has been negative for his organisation.
This to me is a position that I cannot waiver from.This said, I fully acknowledge that the big cheese has made mistakes and been stubborn along the way, of course he has.The Marcus Allen situation springs to mind, but for Christ's sake this is Al , he's a one off and so is his team.

Al gave Lane Kiffin a shot this year, just as he gave Gruden and Madden one too because Al is a football guy and must believe in his hunches from a lifetime in Pro Football.But that is nothing when compared to 16,000 posts in a RAIDER forum, now that's experience, thats how you know where to find a player or a coach, that's when you are savvy enough to know all there is to know about the game of football.THAT'S when you can regard yourself as an expert.
To you Mr. I Know Better Than Al Davis, why don't you just wind your neck in for a while, and consider whether without the man in Black you would be a RAIDERS fan, and whether the RAIDERS would be the entity that makes you get onto a forum at god knows what time of night to pass judgement on them.
One day, god forbid, the RAIDERS will be just another NFL franchise, which will suit the NFL just fine.There will never ever ever be another Al Davis or another Oakland Raiders as we have known it or remember it.Then the experts of the forum world will have the RAIDERS they want.We should be careful what we wish for.I don't like losing, I don't like our great history being tarnished by losses to gobshites like the Chargers, but I will not turn on the man that to me is the main reason that I find myself doing this stuff at something A.M.
As far as I am concerned me, you and Al are all RAIDERS fans, except he has more money and better leisure suits, jesus, we might have been convinced by Todd Marinovich, or Robert Gallery et al.
I have just watched the present team in Oakland for myself and blamed a QB here, or a LT there during a game, but never Mr. Davis, that never entered my head, maybe it should have you might say....
But my colours are nailed to the mast - firmly.

Thursday, 15 November 2007


Across the silver and black pond were across the silver and black pond, literally, over the past ten days.This was the third trip of its kind, and once again beer was drunk, friends were made, sights were seen.The only downside to the whole time in California was the football.
The games against Houston and Chicago were a painful continuation of the 2007 season.This time for us the pain and frustration were right in front of our eyes, in our seats at McAfee Coliseum.
The sight of the home field and those first chimes of 'Hells Bells' never fail to raise the hairs on the back of the neck especially after a year away, and surely our pre-game optimism for a win was not without substance.After all, this was a Texans team we were facing without Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson, who had lost five of their last six games.
That optimism was evaporated into a 17-0 halftime deficit, with the only excitement being a Stuart Schweigert interception and an NFL record attempt FG by Seabass, which was good for distance but foiled by the width of an upright.The decision to go for the FG also allowed Houston to get into range to tag on three points of their own before the half.
Things did improve in the second half with a Jay Richardson FG block and two sustained scoring drives from the RAIDERS bringing it to 17-10.
When the stop was needed from the Defense, Andre Davis' 42yd TD all but killed us off.
The memories of the game late into the night at Ricky's would be critical offensive line penalties and Josh McCown interceptions, and of a pretty terrible game all round, the RAIDERS managed to be worse than their bad opponents.
McCown did nothing to improve matters in the Bears game either.He was slow to make decisions and the lack of zip on the ball on each pass attempt was all too visible from section 318.The fact that the RAIDERS had only been able to muster a FG through three quarters only made the lack of an appearance by Daunte Culpepper on fourth quarter drives more bewildering.
There were better showings by the Defense, producing a pass rush all day and a Kirk Morrison sack putting an end to Brian Griese's day (the guy behind us giving the called upon Grossman a hard time must have wished he had kept his mouth shut), and by the Special Teams who kept Devin Hester in check while kicking right at him all but once.
In a game of hard yards on both sides, the big chance for the RAIDERS came locked at 3-3.After consecutive sacks of Grossman by Clemons and Burgess the ensuing Bears punt was fielded at the 50yd line.Fifty yards to probably put the game away = Punt.When the next drive put us up 6-3, I actually felt like we could do it, we had jokingly prayed for a safety for a 5-3 win before then.
The reaction the to the Berrian 59yd TD was one of almost resigned expectation from the RAIDER NATION,Chris Carr ruining a good days work as a starter and that elusive win disappearing once again..The ability of the 2007 RAIDERS to grasp defeat from the clutches of victory is the teams most consistent trait.
In our six seats inside the Coliseum we didn't boo, and we didn't join in with the calls for Russell because we felt that neither was particularly productive, but we did share the pain of fans who want to see a team win one for a change.
After the Houston game, the Monday edition of the Oakland Tribune carried a number of quotes by players relating to the booing of McCown and the teams performance in general.No-one should be surprised by Jerry Porter once again having his say - "Tell them to shut the heck up, and I mean it, write it", heck being the polite version, but the comment that was as shocking as it was mis-guided was from a popular player, a player who has been a rare bright spark over the last couple of years.Thomas Howard should be careful when he states "This is our team, but they feel like it is their team".Thomas, Thomas, Thomas, the reason that the RAIDER NATION feels like it is their team is BECAUSE IT IS THEIR TEAM.
So three visits to Oakland since 2004, and the song remains the same."Knowing our luck they will win in Minnesota" was the prophecy as again we drowned our sorrows in a pint of Guinness (thanks Ricky), and putting aside our wish to see a win on our trip, I will take that right now. With the Vikings injury list it may well happen, and a win is a win.But one day we will share in that experience of leaving the Coliseum with the elation of victory.In the meantime we will have to console ourselves with the fact that the RAIDER NATION is as welcoming as ever, and a full mention will go to those who made our visit to California a time to remember in the coming days.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007



This may have been our third trip to Oakland, notching up a travelling distance of around 39,000 miles, to see our fifth straight loss, but at least we had the pleasure of meeting Art Garfunkel in his Lyle Alzado throwback.............

Tales of the Pond over the Pond to follow.

Thursday, 1 November 2007


The Pro Football Hall Of Fame has released its preliminary nominees for the class of 2008.
This of course is only the first stage of the selection process, and there is a long way to go, but there are once again Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders on that list who should be in the Hall and will again probably be ignored.
The full list of ex Raiders on the list are :
Eric Allen
Cliff Branch
Todd Christensen
Roger Craig
Tom Flores
Ray Guy
Lester 'The Molester' Hayes
Jim Lachey
Jim Plunkett
Kenny Stabler
Pat Swilling
Steve Wisniewski
Albert Lewis.

Looking at that list the players in question began to fall into categories for me.
Firstly the A's :- The men that should be in already, and due to the reluctance of the HOF to turn that place Silver and Black, are not.
Namely : Flores, Stabler, Guy, Plunkett, and Hayes.
The fact that these guys aren't in there is a disgrace, and it's obvious that they won't induct all of them again this time either, so some of them will continue to be absent.Of these Raiders, the one I would like to see get in there first would be Tom Flores, almost a Raider for life (we can forget about the Seahawks thing ), player to coach to front office and 2 Rings, enough said.
They should all be in but if there were a pecking order in my mind it would be headed by Tom Flores with possibly Stabler a close second.Whoever is snubbed this year by Canton, will surely take some solace in the fact that all of them but Lester were in the first round of Pond HOF 'ers ( won't they? ).

Then there are the B's.The players who shouldn't necessarily already be in there, but present a convincing case to be included in any class
These being : Cliff Branch ( almost an A ), Steve Wisniewski, and Todd Christensen.All great players and great Raiders,The Wiz being a personal favourite.These guys would not be out of place in the Hall even now, and surely it is a matter of time for them.Cliff Branch is a debate though, an A or a B?Close call for me and still wavering at the time of writing, Oh sod it, 'Speed Kills' Branch is an A, in fact they should put his bust in-between Stabler and Plunkett, with Bill King playing in the background.

The C's are good players, possibly great players that wore the Silver and Black during their career:-
Eric Allen, Jim Lachey, and Pat Swilling.

And the D's, the players who wore Silver and Black, but quite frankly, does anyone give a shit:
Roger Craig and Albert Lewis.
Craig is and will always be a Whiner, one season in L.A. is not enough to be a Raider.Lewis was a decent player for the Raiders and was a good pick up at the time, but he was a Chief for ten years, so he's a D too.

Looking down the complete list of the preliminaries it becomes clear that some names are laughable at this stage.The are names such as :-

Eric Metcalf, Rickey Jackson, Jay Novacek, Tony Boselli, and Ed De Bartolo Jnr.

These names are on the same page as Tom Flores and Kenny Stabler for christ's sake.
The Pond HOF will be conducting it's second induction during the playoff rounds this year, as there won't be much Raider news at that point, so hopefully the other HOF will follow suit with a bunch of Raiders, but obviously we aren't holding our breath, are we?