Personal Memories - Gary Botteley
When the game was first announced, my first thought being the cheapskate that I am, was that after 24 years of trips to Tampa, The Bucs are coming to see me. ! That will save me a fortune.!!
As the weekend approached I had no idea of what was to happen especially as the team were only flying in late in the week. Had they been coming in earlier the chances of something being organised were obviously much greater. As soon as I heard that they would only be here for a couple of days, I had resigned myself to the game on the Sunday and not much else. How wrong I was.!
When the flag footie match was organised I knew that at 53, much as I would have loved to play I was never going to. As I said to Paul, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is very weak”. When I got to Richmond Park though it was obvious that it was going to be a much bigger event than I had thought. I knew about NFL films being there, but that was all.
No one I think had any idea what was going to happen next. I was chatting to Lee Bromfield, when he looked over my shoulder and said as though it is an everyday occurrence, “Lee Roy Selmon is standing over there.”
Well at that point everything went into one big blur. I vaguely remember standing with my arms round four cheerleaders, have an even more vague memory of telling Mike Alstott that he had a crap game against KC a few years back, but a very vivid memory of LeeRoy signing that back of my tee shirt with everyone around laughing their heads off. (Can’t imagine why!)
In the flag footie game I did my world famous impression of Michael Clayton. One play only where I stood out wide somewhere. At the snap, ambled slowly up the field getting nowhere near the ball, then retire to the pub.
Enough has been written already about the game on the Sunday. Suffice to say the whole day/weekend was unbelievable. The result was expected I think, and made me realise all the more that despite the “potential” of our head coach, with the quality of a Cowher or a Shanahan on the market, we have do what it takes to get a coach of this calibre.
My final thoughts are to agree totally with Paul about a London franchise. This isn’t going to happen, and to offer some hope that we might see the Bucs in London again. This event is going from strength to strength and will obviously be continued even possibly expanded. We probably won’t see the Bucs in London anytime soon as the “home” team, but what about as the “away” team?
My final final thought concerns Paul. We all knew the passion he has for the Bucs and for the Bucs UK. Without him we would still have watched the game at Wembley, but from much worse seats and without any of the other activities. Speaking personally I am immensely grateful to him for all he does, and on this occasion for the autographed ball I was presented with. It has pride of place on my bookcase and I will treasure it always. Cheers Paul, for everything………….