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Planes, Trains and Automobiles




To say that the past week has been a whirlwind would be an understatement. From Oakland to Providence, Rhode Island, to Foxborough, Mass., to Boston to London  - planes, trains and automobiles for yours truly, and the Oakland Raiders.

We departed from Logan International Airport a few hours after the heartbreaking 16-9 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. We flew through the night and landed at London Gatwick Airport early in the morning local time. After clearing the border checkpoint, we loaded onto coaches and headed for Pennyhill Park.

The fact the vehicles are right-hand drive instead of left isn't jarring on the highways or freeways, but it's disconcerting on surface streets. Traffic is comparable if not worse than the Bay Area. Let's just say it was a long, scenic ride to Pennyhill.

We spent the better part of the week at Pennyhill Park and it was very much a training camp environment with practices, meetings and media we've never met and probably will never see again.

Several Raiders and Raiderettes participated in a Play 60 event in England.

The Play 60 event in Surrey was fantastic – 11 players, 10 cheerleaders and 150 of the most enthusiastic children you'll find anywhere. They were so excited to learn the game of American football and interact with the Raiders.

Pennyhill Park was an experience unto itself.

According to the official web site:

"The earliest reference to the hotel property in Bagshot, Surrey, is found in the Tithe Land Registry of 1609. It was known as Pennyhill field and thought to have been common land used as a beacon-warning site aiding a national system, warning the arrival of the Spanish Armada in 1588."

The grounds and architecture were spectacular with old world charm. You definitely had the sense that the buildings had history to them.


The team departed Pennyhill after three practices, countless meetings, numerous interviews and several attempts at a British accent – some more successful than others. The staff at Pennyhill was wonderful, and I'd like to thank them personally for their service.

The Raiders arrived in downtown London Friday afternoon and a welcome reception was held Friday evening.

The team got its first look at Wembley Stadium Saturday afternoon with a walk-through. The place is decked out in Silver and Black and we're very much looking forward to the game day atmosphere.

After walk-through, the Raiderettes, QB Derek Carr, T Menelik Watson, LB Khalil Mack, and Head Coach Dennis Allen took the stage at the NFL Experience event at Regent Street where 600,000 fans were expected to attend.

There has been precious little time for sightseeing but the famous landmarks are close by – London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, St. James Park, St. Margaret's Church, and Buckingham Palace are within walking distance and close together. The architecture is nothing short of spectacular, the pomp and circumstance and history are all on full display. London is everything you've read about and seen in the movies. Truly one of the world's greatest cities.

The pace in London is ridiculously fast. The speed at which people move, the traffic, the Underground, makes New Yorkers look like they're moving in slow motion.

I'll check in with another entry after the Raiders take on the Dolphins and wrap up this travel experience. It's been fun and I can't wait for the game.


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