Thursday, 13 November 2008


The debacle that was the RAIDERS' home game versus Atlanta was all the more painful to watch here at The Pond, as The Pond was, well, across the pond.Sat overlooking the Black Hole watching all the unmitigated horror unfold,it became all the more apparent in the flesh, that right now this is a terrible football team.A team looking longingly for the end of the season, so it can go away, far away and do anything else.Nnamdi Asomugah and Shane Lechler should be going far away too, to Hawaii, but gaining pro-bowl berths on this team is going to be tough.

With a few of these notable exceptions this looked like a group of players that can't be bothered, that simply don't care about the organisation or more importantly the fans .

Yes Raider players - THE FANS, REMEMBER THEM?


THE RAIDERNATION that travels from far and wide, country-wide, worldwide, NATIONWIDE.

I don't say this because we were there from thousands of miles away, although believe me it was taken personally, but I say it for the fans that were there from Chicago, Ohio, Connecticut, Seattle, fellow Brit's one and all.This RAIDERNATION pilgrimage happens week after week, every year, different states and different countries, which becomes increasingly amazing considering the futility of the past six seasons, with a few false dawns thrown in for good measure.

More importantly Raider players, consider the RAIDERNATION from Oakland, San Leandro, Hayward, Dublin, Walnut Creek, Richmond, San Jose, L.A., CALIFORNIA.Who share their love of the team and come together with a common pride in being Raider Fans.Consider them Raider players when you walk out onto a field in the first quarter of a game with already sloped shoulders.Imagine what some of these people have sacrificed to be there to see that.Imagine what effort these people have put into that day, what they do to make the experience around Alameda County Coliseum one of the greatest on the planet.

THE RAIDERNATION puts you to shame, in the existing financial shitstorm there are fans who are losing their jobs who are still coming to the game.They still show their loyalty and love both for their team, and for their extended Raider family.All this deserves some respect, all this demands that you, the Raider players give something back, something other than disappointment.

The problem with a game like the one against the Falcons is it sucks the rationale right out of some people, so much so that they start to chant TUI, TUI, TUI before half time.It also sucks the energy from everyone else in the stadium which is replaced largely by gallows humour, you know things are bad when fans can see the funny side of an arse-kicking.There's always next week though right?

There lies the next problem, when the next opponent looks better than the one that just shut you out at home.The performance in the Panthers game was better, there was an improvement across the board, the Defense picked Jake Delhomme four times, and the freshly cut DeAngelo Hall wasn't missed at all.If only Hall's future money that was saved could be used to convince a certain No.21 to stay, but sadly it seems from recent comments, that is starting to look unlikely.The other side of the ball though improved statistically, with what subsequently was revealed to be the Tom Cable called offense, still spluttered and failed to yield touchdowns.True the figures say that the team went from 77 total yards to 259, 3 first downs to 17, and 14 minutes T.O.P. to 37 as compared to the Greg Knapp inspired effort in the Atlanta game, but it only yielded two Seabass field goals.Six points in eight quarters in two back to back home games.

It's not good enough, not by a long way.To be fair to Cable though he has been given an almost impossible task of turning around an already struggling team, with a QB who is struggling to adapt to life in the NFL, an injured star potential RB, and an OC who couldn't put points on the board.Lets hope that his taking on of play calling duties together with the return of some of his injured players sparks some progress.The news that John Wade is due to step in at center is also a possible cause for optimism, as that terrible O-line needs a veteran leader, which Jake Grove doesn't seem to be.Let's see what the Tom Cable - Head Coach/Offensive Co-ordinator/Line coach combination brings us in Miami, the fear is that the more responsibilities that he takes could lead to his own downfall.

There could be that chink of light, we have Russell (lets face it Walter wasn't any better), McFadden, and Burgess involved in practice this week, and if two of those three play on Sunday it could make a difference, especially if McFadden's feet are healed sufficiently and he can go full speed.Miami is a stadium that we went into last year with a bad team and got a win, this years Dolphins are improved since then but still unpredictable and we are still a bad team so who knows.

With the odd exception these will be the same players representing the RAIDERS on Sunday that have bailed on us the last two weeks, any level of forgiveness is far away at this moment in time.But without a hint of optimism the remainder of the season would seem pointless, and a 10,000 mile round trip to see two field goals puts me in the mood to see anything resembling a football team.

Down the line, in the aftermath of this year regardless of the coaching staff that is in place, the team is in need of major change.We need ballers plain and simple, ballers - not the fastest, not the best athletes, just plain ballers, and the turnover needs to be sweeping.The RAIDERS need to get a better standard of player in, we need more players on the roster that aren't stained by the recent festering wound of a team.Free agency aside, because look where that got us this year, we need some extra picks in the Draft collected via trades.We may have to let Aso go, because if we tag him again he walks away for nothing the year after, and whats the use of having the best corner in the game if we are falling to pieces around him?Bush or Fargas, Huff, and Burgess could also bring in picks.But all this would only be productive if we had someone within the organisation to find the right guys, a GM.Al Davis alluded to looking to make a move in the off season to bring someone in, it has to be done, we need to make changes that will help turn this around now, it has got bad enough, and maybe that penny has dropped with Al if the release of Hall is anything to go by.Time will soon tell.

During the water torture that was watching our eighth consecutive loss as paying customers at the Coliseum, the thought may have crossed our collective minds that maybe we could take a year off and go somewhere else next year, like Afghanistan.But somehow I see us back in California once again, because the team and it's failing does not diminish the bright light that is the RAIDERNATION, plus what if they started winning and we missed it.....

With that I need to say to Ricky and Tina Ricardo,the family Thurston, the Mighty South Shield, the Mighty Raiderhed, the Mighty Raiderfanradio, Steve, Chi-Chi, Rick and Misty, and all the RAIDERNATION that we shared a laugh and a beer with.We thankyou all for the welcome and the friendship, until next year GO RAIDERS.


Calico Jack said...


All things considered, I hope you had a wonderful trip to NoCal.

Sad to say but I don't think we hit rock bottom. If it takes hitting rock bottom for a light bulb to go off in Davis' cranium, all the better.

We are at the point where bold, decisive changes need to be put in place to reignite the flame of hope.

kigleigh said...

I would also like to say thankyou to all the people Martin just mentioned all of whom make the trip to the bay worthwhile even when our beloved RAIDERS are so dismal.I would also like to add Arthur Guinness to the list for making the losses JUST bearable.
Sorry it's taken me so long to add my thanks but i've been ill/depressed since our return home.Not only about returning to our wet cold reality but also the sad state of affairs that is our SIXTH consecutive losing season.
I really hope we have bottomed out CJ and if the players showed the same committment,brotherhood and enthusiasm that we see from the fans we meet each year we would be just fine. Here's to the future !!