FAN-TASTIC WEMBLEY - MIAMI VS OAKLAND
Report by Peter W
The weekend of the 26-28th September was great if you were a Dolfan. It all started on Friday when the Miami Dolphins landed in town and went to the home of the Saracens rugby club for a 1 hour walk through session. Ten lucky Miami Dolfan members we were invited to watch the training session, I was one of them. On arrival I stood outside the gates with fellow members waiting for the players to arrive. The coaches turned up with most of the players seemingly asleep, they all got out and went straight onto the pitch. We got ushered into the stands and watched the training unfold. It was a basic walkthrough and it seemed as though they were mimicking the plays the Raiders run just to get familiar with the formations they may face. It was all broken down into timed segments with music playing in each session.
While sat watching we were interviewed by Sport Illustrated, asking questions about whether an NFL team could ever be successful in England. Just before the end of the hour we were beckoned down to the edge of the pitch waiting in anticipation for the players to come over. What happened next was surreal as the majority of the players came over to meet us and sign autographs. For 15 minutes we got a chance to collect autographs and chat with the players, it was great to engage with them and they seemed genuinely interested. Unfortunately they were on a tight schedule and had to move on. It was something I had never had the opportunity to do before and I will always look back on it.
Saturday evening was the annual DolFan UK club do, a time for members of the club to get together, catch up and talk everything Dolphins. A Question of Sport quiz was held, taxing the knowledge of the most die hard Dolphin fan, the highlight being the “what happened next round”, nobody had a clue but there were plenty of laughs. As is tradition the club raffle was held with a number a great prizes won, the top ones being a signed mini helmet by Dwight Stephenson and Jim Langer together with a commemorative 347 win Don Shula plaque signed by the great man himself.
Sunday brought the day of the game and everybody made there way to Wembley, some enjoying the hospitality of The Green Man up the hill from Wembley, others going to the fan zone to test their football skills. Before to long the gates opened and the stadium began to fill up. By the time Def Leppard had rocked out Animal, Let’s Get Rocked and Pour Some Sugar On Me and the national anthems had been sung Wembley was full and waiting for the game to start. A huge cheer went up as Brian Griese and Dan Marino come out to join in the coin toss. The Dolphins won and chose to defer.
Over the next three hours Miami took apart the Raiders and came out 38-14 winners, a much needed win going into the bye, during the fourth quarter the stadium started to empty, the majority being Oakland fans as they had seen enough for one night. The game belonged to Miami and all DolFans went home happy at least for another week. After the game I went round to the congratulate the Dolphins as they came out to get onto their coaches before the long trip home, getting a few more autographs for my game day programme to round of the weekend. What a great experience, one that I won’t forget in a hurry.