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24 September 2014

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    Sports Features

    American Football

    Gridiron is back!

    Do you remember a time when Luton Flyers meant more than just Easyjet? Or when MK Bucks was more than a shopping centre?

    That’s right... American Football is making a return to the Three Counties after more than a decade!

    Bedfordshire Blue Raiders is the team hoping to join the British American Football League (BAFL) and continue a great tradition in the area. Steve Guy from Bedford and Dave Pankhurst from Luton are the driving force behind the idea and hope to recruit at least thirty players to the new team. 

    Steve, who played American Football for Cambridge University during the early 1990's, told us: "The Three Counties region as a whole has such a fantastic American Football history.

    "There were successful teams in Bedford, Luton, Dunstable, Milton Keynes, Hertfordshire and even up into Northamptonshire. The Blue Raiders want to build on that tradition and bring this exciting sport back to the area."

    American Football

    The team hopes to enter the British American Football League (BAFL) at the earliest possible opportunity.

    Dave explained,  "We need to recruit and register at least thirty brand new players as part of the application process. That means players who have not played for an existing BAFL team during the 2006 season and complete newcomers to the sport."

    “We want to attract players of all ages, shapes and sizes. A winning team on the field starts with a strong management off it, so we are also looking for anybody interested in helping.”

    There is a proud tradition of American Football in the three counties. The idea of an American Football League was first mooted in the Post House Hotel in Bedford in 1984. After a further meeting in London, two leagues were formed and it wasn’t long before the Three Counties got involved. The St. Albans Kestrels and the  Herts Stags to name just two.

    However, the most successful teams were the Luton Flyers and MK Bucks, later known as The Pioneers. MK Bucks were acknowledged as the second best in the country after attracting seven-thousand fans to one of their matches. They eventually won the Conference in 1985 but collapsed soon after that.

    The Flyers played at Kenilworth Road and won the Conference in 1986 and 1987. They managed to beat Manchester Allstars (think Man. City), but lost out to the Manchester Spartans (yes, the Man.Utd of American Football)! Hopefully Bedfordshire Blue Raiders will have more luck!

    If you think you've got what it takes and are interested in playing for the Blue Raiders, contact Dave Pankhurst at: email:
    last updated: 03/08/06
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    Shocked that they forgot about the Herts Phantoms - Bud Bowl Winners in 1988, based in Hertfordshire

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