International Fan of the Week



Jon Winstone at Jack London Square during his trip to Oakland in 2007.
Back in the mid-1980s there was me, a 7- or 8-year-old boy living in London, religiously watching a hazy TV on Saturday mornings to catch a glimpse of the NFL highlights from the previous Sunday. There was one team that intrigued me the most as a youngster and that team was from Los Angeles - the Los Angeles Raiders!  The name to me was so cool -- the colors just said attitude!  My dad, on a work trip to California, brought me back home tons of my most recent fascination, which was a lot of Raiders gear!  That fascination has turned into an addiction.

My one and only trip to California happened in October 2007. Unfortunately, my pilgrimage to the Black Hole wasn't as spectacular as I wanted because the Raiders were out of town that weekend playing in San Diego!  However, as I had always promised myself, I waited to buy my first (and only) Raiders jersey while in Oakland. Getting it sent by post just wasn't the same to me.

I am now living in Kielce, Poland, where I am without a doubt the only person to be seen wearing an NFL jersey, let alone a Raiders jersey. However, the reputation of the Raiders is worldwide and I have received a few shakes of the hand and people regularly nod their heads in appreciation at what is the greatest jersey in sports.

My proudest Raider moment came last year, October 2010, when at the International Series at Wembley Stadium, I went to the game between our bitter rivals the Broncos and our nearest but not so dearest, the 49ers. Wearing my Silver and Black proudly with torrents of abuse coming my way, I didn't care because I was swollen with pride to be wearing my colors, showing London that the Raider Nation is truly international.

I seriously cannot wait for the new season to start. We have without a doubt the most exciting offense in football - so young, so full of potential, and with Jason Campbell as our QB, I am so sure we will make the playoffs in 2011. And once in the playoffs, you just never know! In 20 years time, we could have people talking about Campbell, McFadden, Ford and Reece like we talk about Plunkett, Allen, Bo Jackson and Brown today!

Oakland Raiders and the whole Raider Nation - I love you! We are truly unique and always will be. And in the words of the great Al Davis, Just Win, Baby!

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