About Bucs UK
The Bucs UK Fan Club was formed by Paul Stewart in December 1984 with an initial six members. Since that date, we have been officially recognised by the Buccaneer franchise and have enjoyed huge support and a fantastic working relationship with them for which we continue to be grateful.
Bucs UK membership is by annual subscription and members are entitled to take part in regular club events and competitions, as well as book game tickets and join in the regular club trips to Tampa. Non-members are welcome to join our message board and join in the discussions and game threads. Go Bucs!
The main function of the club for many years was its' monthly magazine, "There's Always Next Year". But after 197 issues, we switched to a website and our sister site BUCPOWER.COM was born in January 2002. It quickly established itself as the leading NFL-fan site on either side of the Atlantic and continues to grow in terms of information and resources about the club, matches and player. Please do take a look!
The Bucs UK fan club now boasts members all across the British Isles and helps to arrange game tickets at Raymond James Stadium, produces its own range of club merchandise, and has regular meetings and events around the country. It is a fan club for the fans run by the fans. We have written a review of the Bucs UK with stories from the history of the club, how it all began, who was involved and some of the memorable moments of the organisation.
The current club committee are listed below. We're a friendly and welcoming bunch - so please do sign up and join us.
Phil is the head honcho who runs the Bucs UK.
He has been a member of the Bucs(UK) since 1991 when he heard Paul Stewart rambling on a US radio station about the club. He has assisted with the running of the club for the last 20 years particularly with tickets and merchandise. Phil is also a fanatical Manchester United supporter and has been since 1963 - not since the takeover as some people suggest!
David has a great relationship with the Bucs Front Office and helps plan trips to Tampa. He started following the NFL back in the 80s when it was on Channel 4 and remembers trying to follow games on a very bad radio Armed Forces Radio signal! His allegiance to the Bucs started in 1997 when he went to his first live NFL game. Unfortunately that day the Bucs were mauled by a 3TD display from Barry Sanders. He was three rows from the back in the old sombrero but the Ray Jay was being built in the background.
He is a regular visitor to see the Bucs in Tampa and in 2012 clocked up his 38th NFL game. Highlights have included Michael Spurlock's TD KO return (the first in Bucs history), Matt Bryant's 62-yard FG to beat the Eagles and Mike Alstott's two-pointer in a memorable comeback against the Redskins.
Kieron runs the Bucs UK website, forum and social media pages. He's normally quite shy but doesn't mind being poked! He first saw the Bucs whilst on holiday in Florida in 1990, having turned up to see the Bucs scrimmage the 'Fins at Pepin-Rood. He promised to support the winner, and here we are. The rest is history!
He spent most of his youth refreshing teletext on a Sunday night to find out the Bucs score and then waiting until First Down or The Buccaneer Magazine would arrive in the post so he could find out what actually happened. He is strangely proud of the fact this his wardrobe only contains three non-Buccaneer items of casual clothing! He used to play for the Kent Exiles 'Britball' side and now helps out as club photographer.
The History of Bucs UK
Based on original text by Club Founder Paul Stewart.
1984 to 1987
The original idea for the formation of the Bucs UK came in 1984. Paul Stewart had become a Tampa Bay fan in December 1982 having seen them beat the Dolphins on one of the early shows on Channel 4 and had yet to meet anyone else who followed the orange and white. Touchdown was the first British gridiron magazine, followed shortly afterwards by Gridiron UK. One of the early issues of Gridiron had a picture of Bart Starr scoring for the Packers against Dallas in the famous Ice Bowl game but the caption was wrong. A call to the new editor Ross Biddiscombe later, and Paul was contracted to cover an early Britball game featuring the Crawley Raiders. It was following one of the these reports that Ross and I got talking about my support for the Buccaneers and we decided to put a letter in the December 1984 issue asking if there were any other Tampa Bay fans out there in the UK. I wrote to the Bucs asking if starting a potential UK booster club was a feasible idea and began drafting an initial issue of a Bucs-related newsletter.
The Bucs give their approval The arrival of a package air mail from Tampa that included a media guide, background information, a GameDay magazine and other details gave the go-ahead from the Bucs themselves. Rick Odioso was the team PR director at the time and he could not have been more supportive of the idea. Five replies to the letter in Gridiron UK came back and the Bucs UK was formed with Ron & Charles Proctor, Chris Marchant, Steve Barry and Anton Baker joining me in forming the initial half-dozen members of the club. The initial newsletters were pretty basic in terms of information and appearance. Six or seven pages of typed A4 on single-sided copies with only the most basic details of results and news. There was no internet, no USA Today available in this country and definitely no merchandise.
The link with the Clearwater Bucs Bunch started in March 1985 after Paul had written to all six of the official Bucs' booster clubs in Florida. Incidentally, after all of these disbanded in the mid 1990s, we are the last one left. We also had our first piece of media coverage in issue 5 of The Buccaneer as it was known as Bob Henderson, now of The Tampa Tribune wrote about the formation of our club in The Clearwater Times.
The first club meeting By issue 6, we were up to 11 members, with Gary Sutton joining the ranks of the club. He remains a member to this day. We also had our first meeting planned for August, as the inaugural BritBowl was scheduled to take place at Villa Park. The London Ravens might have beaten the Streatham Olympians 45-6 on the field that day, but the get-together of half-a-dozen Bucs UK members outside the ground was a memorable one.
Chris Marchant had designed the first Bucs UK shirt which was proudly worn by all in the club, and we also had a big feature in The Clearwater Sun . The membership continued to grow and Alan Needham became the 18th member in November 1985. Rick Odioso continued to send us merchandise and magazines, the most notable of which were some of the Bucs' official 10-year patches that were given out to all the members. Rick also fondly remembers Paul calling him after the Bucs' first win that season against the Cardinals, and he made a point of letting all the Florida newspapers know of our support in the process.
The first anniversary of the Bucs UK brought the membership to 27 with current-member Peter Parsons being one of the newest converts to the Bucs' cause. Channel 4 had a Super Bowl party at The Video Cafe with live links hosted by Nicky Horne. Producer Gary Franses invited myself and three friends for a night of Bears, Patriots, free food and free beer. Paul staggered across camera during the first quarter much to the delight of other Bucs UK members watching.
Issue 15 in March 1986 brought an interesting interview with the Bucs' Director of Player Personnel after I called him in his office one afternoon. Jim Gruden was his name. Perhaps I should have asked him about his son Jon at the time! July 1986 and Ross Biddiscombe ran a full page feature entitled "Me and My Team" which gave the Bucs UK some fantastic publicity. It also led me to agree to never again print the picture of Dan Marino teaching him to throw a pass during a UK coaching session from earlier that year! Bob and Lil Timoney came to the UK in the summer and brought over a bunch of souvenirs for the club and the membership reached 30 for the first time.
The first American Bowl The first American Bowl game took place at Wembley in August 1986 with the Bears playing the Cowboys. Alan Needham and Paul Stewart invited the US Ambassador to a tailgate party out of the back of my Mini - he declined, but invited the two of us to his official residence to meet the players and coaches of the team at an official lunch. Result! Alan spent 10 minutes trying to convince the legendary Tom Landry to join the Bucs UK. Alan also managed to get 200 copies of his fanzine Third and Long confiscated by Wembley officials outside the stadium before joining Paul, Chris Marchant and Richard Lambert at the game. The highlight was when an inflatable doll did a lap of the stadium in the fourth quarter.
This was however to be the highpoint of the Bucs UK for sometime however. The firm for which Paul Stewart was doing PR work at the time went bust and I reluctantly handed over the reins of the organisation to Alan Needham. He was unable to sustain it at its previous level and just two more magazines were produced over the next two years, one in July 1987 and another in March 1988. The likes of Phil Carter and Gary Botteley were past of the club at this point, but it seemed as though the Bucs UK was about to die a death like so many other UK fan clubs would in the future.
1988 to 1991
Trips to Tampa begin In the meantime, Paul's interest in American Football and the Bucs had continued and in October 1988, following continued correspondence with Bill Thompson, Paul was planning his first trip across the Atlantic. He decided to try and reinvigorate the club and created an initial issue of The Buccaneer which was sent to all the club contacts. Around 20 people got back in touch, and another issue followed before Paul arrived in Tampa in November 1988.
The Buccaneers used Paul's Bucs UK visit as a huge publicity stunt and the 10 days were simply a blur. He was guest of honour at a Clearwater Bucs Bunch meeting, spoke at a business luncheon with Coach Ray Perkins, and then was invited down to One Buc Place to meet all the team on a Saturday morning. There he was presented with his own playing shirt with No.9 and his name on the back and he was invited to watch the game the following day against the Bears from the team sideline. If you think you've seen football at close range from the stands then you haven't lived! Until Mike Singletary has gone barrelling in front of you tackling a Buc receiver, you don't realise just how hard these guys hit.
Paul was interviewed by TV, radio and newspapers galore, and ended the game having his picture taken with Vinny by an old friend from the early days, photographer Wayne Paolo. He was also able to return to the UK with a ton of free merchandise for club members including media guides, posters and badges. The club even managed to persuade a certain Mr. Nick Halling, then editor of Gridiron UK magazine, to run a feature on the trip in return for one of the cheerleader posters. And who said bribery and corruption never works?
Phil Carter was becoming increasingly involved in the running of the Bucs UK and printed 1,000 coloured headed paper and magazine cover sheets for the club. Current members Steve Reeder and Neil Ferguson joined the club in early 1989 and First Down's Allan Lees began a series of great references to the club in his weekly column. The American Bowl game that year featured Philadelphia and Cleveland and a bunch of us met at Wembley to form a small orange contingent in the stands.
The 1989 club trip Phil joined our own Allan Lees (not to be confused with the First Down editor of the same name) and Gary Botteley on a club trip to Tampa in November 1989. The trio saw home games against Minnesota and Cleveland and also addressed the Clearwater Bucs Booster Club one evening. The trip also resulted in one of the great practical jokes of the club's history when Phil and Gary convinced Allan to stand on a bridge at Busch Gardens to take their picture. Anyone who has been to Busch will know exactly which bridge too, the one over the Tidal Wave ride. Allan naturally got totally soaked and the other two were left helpless with laughter for the rest of the trip.
In March 1990, Lee Berry of First Down ran a full page feature on Paul Stewart that included a brief history of the Bucs UK and also a great piece from Rick Odioso of the Bucs whom they had got in touch with. The membership continued to grow and Mick Luckhurst became a good contact thanks to his weekly column in First Down.
August 1990 brought nearly 25 club members to Wembley for the American Bowl game between the Raiders and Saints, and also a meeting in Walsall to discuss the long-term future of the Bucs UK. The quartet in charge of such momentous decisions were Paul Stewart, Phil Carter, Gary Botteley and Gary Hughes. No-one recalls many great decisions being made but quite a lot of alcohol was consumed!
Of course in these days, there was just blind faith that the Buccaneers were going to be successful the next season. Then we would lose a few games and the cry of "There's Always Next Year" would echo around the club leading to the change in name of the magazine.
The 1990 club trip In October 1990, Paul made his second trip to Tampa joining Phil Carter for a pair of home games against the Packers and Cowboys. They ended up guests of honour at a Clearwater Bucs meeting when Harry Swayne didn't show up, but then joined him the following week instead when he insisted on buying us beer all evening to say thank you for covering him. Little did we all realise he would end up playing in four Super Bowls over the next decade as one of the NFL's best offensive tackles. Rick Odioso and the Bucs gave us boxes of merchandise for other club members and we were able to give all 48 club members, media guides, cards and an individual prize on our return. Phil Carter and Paul Stewart were also interviewed by Buccaneer Radio during the Dallas game, the one where Troy Aikman hit Michael Irvin in the final minute for the game winner. Listening to that radio broadcast in another part of the stadium was another Brit who decided to get in touch with me when we all returned to the UK. "My name's Phil Jones" said the caller one evening. "Can I join your club?"
The club gained some added publicity late in 1990 when Paul Stewart appeared on a couple of UK TV shows, a BBC quiz show when he had been out celebrating the Bucs' win over the Vikings the night before a little too heavily, and Sky TV's version of Blind Date. First Down just could not wait to get the pictures and ran the story the following week with much hilarity all around.
1990 ended with Ray Perkins being fired and Paul's legendary "eight-hour abandonment" of the Buccaneer cause. He was just fed up with the losing, and at 4-8 that season, took all the pictures down and gave up. Next morning, he put them all back and has never wavered for so much as a minute since!
The Bucs UK touch football team The 1991 American Bowl saw the first touch football game arranged at Wembley as the Bucs UK took on the Steelers' fan club in the car parks before the game. We lost 24-12 but Paul Stewart threw a TD pass to Peter Parsons and Spencer Whybrow added a rushing score for the Buccaneer cause. Mick Luckhurst took great delight in watching from the sideline and commenting that a Buccaneer team losing was nothing new to behold!
September 1991 saw the magazine nearly double in size thanks to Geoffrey Hall taking over the printing at a greatly reduced cost. Phil Jones produced his first Bucs UK shirt for the club and Andy Frampton became involved in game videos too. Membership exceeded 50 for the first time and thanks to a good relationship with Channel 4's teletext operation, the club was getting membership enquires on a far more frequent basis. Rick Odioso was always helpful in supplying Buc information for the magazine and in arranging game tickets, although the Bucs were far from the point of selling out Tampa Stadium.
1992 to 1996
For 1992, we made the decision to increase the membership fee but to include a Bucs UK shirt with it. This solved the problem of Phil being stuck with unsold supplies of shirts and proved to be one of the best moves the club ever made. The American Bowl game at Wembley that year featured the Redskins and 49ers, but more importantly, featured a whole host of fan club events arranged by Paul Stewart and Nick Barnes of the Atlanta club. We lost again to the Steelers club at touch football but this time Paul threw three touchdowns instead of interceptions, but the Bucs UK team won the American Football quiz competition, defeating the Redskins, Seahawks and London Olympians on the way. For the record, the other three members of the team were Gary Botteley, Richard Chester and Gareth James, with Phil Jones proving to be no use at all apart from drinking more than the rest of the club.
Phil Jones, his brother Mark and their respective other halves, were part of many club members at the two season-opening wins under Sam Wyche in 1992. Phil was asked to address 5,000-odd Buc fans at a pre-game rally whilst a little the worse for drink, and asked everyone to:- "Give me a B, give me a U, give me a C, give me a K, give me an S - what have you got?" Err, the Milwaukee NBA team and a dyslexic Bucs UK fan to be honest!
1992 also saw the launch of the Bucs UK Fantasy Football League. I had read an article about the subject in a magazine the previous November and had drawn up plans for a club league almost overnight. 10 franchises took part in that first season and it was so small and insignificant to the highly-detailed and specialised league that it went on to become.
Charles McRae Day September 1992 brought the 75th issue of the magazine and the news that Bucs' offensive tackle, Charles McRae, would be visiting the UK the following spring and was happy to meet up with club members. McRae Day arrived the following February and around 50 people gathered at Phil Jones' home in Congleton to meet the former first round pick and his wife. First Down ran a full-page feature on the event and all concerned had a really great time.
1993 saw the arrival of the infamous Bucko's Column in the magazine. This was a monthly piece, written by Paul Stewart under an assumed name, that took a satirical look at the game. You either loved it or hated it, but seeing as he wrote it, there was no way it was going to stop overnight. Around three years later, he ran out of ideas and Bucko disappeared - only to make a much-vaunted return recently! June 1993 saw Gary Botteley appear on ITV's game show Busman's Holiday but with about as much success as the Bucs were having under Sam Wyche.
The final American Bowl game between Dallas and Detroit proved to be a disaster and Wembley was only half-full leading to no more pre-season games being scheduled in the UK. The magazine continued to grow thanks to weekly press releases being sent by Rick Odioso and Scott Smith of the Bucs, and the first appearance of Nick Pugliese occurred with the initial appearance of "Pugo's postcard from the Bay", a weekly piece from The Sporting News.
Sam Wyche offered to let the Bucs UK design a play to be used by the team, and the winning three entries were sent across to Tampa for inclusion in the 1994 Buccaneer playbook.
We ran a Buccaneer Mastermind during 1994 and Gary Botteley took the honours ahead of Rob Shaw Jr and Keith Burrows. It was also the year that Paul got married; Phil Jones and Gary Botteley were amongst the ushers, and all three wore Buccaneer orange cravats for the occasion. Paul travelled across to Tampa in October 1994 on a delayed honeymoon and again was invited to meet the players at One Buc Place and watch a training session.
The Baltimore Bucs? Late in 1994, Hugh Culverhouse died and speculation began as to the future of the Buccaneer franchise. A trust ran the team through 1995 until the sale of the franchise had gone through, but stories were rife that Peter Angelos who owned baseball's Baltimore Orioles, was going to buy the team and move them to Maryland. Eventually the sale of the Buccaneers went through to the Glazer family but the future of the Bucs in Tampa Bay appeared to be far from secure.
May 30, 1995 was a sad day as Bob Timoney passed away in Clearwater. Bob was the life and soul of their Clearwater Bucs Booster Club and all those people who met him, got to know what a wonderful person he was. The Bucs UK decided to name its Buccaneer of the Year Award after Bob, the award being given to the person who most summed up his spirit and enthusiasm for the team in that period.
Sky Sports had begun broadcasting in the early 1990s and in 1995, the Bucs were finally shown live in the UK for the very first time. Naturally we lost to the Bears, and again later in the season to the Packers, a game livened up by Keith Webster holding up a copy of There's Always Next Year on screen in a blatant attempt to win the club's Writer of the Year Award. Either way, the membership exceeded 80 for the first time in the club's history. The World League of American Football returned in 1995 and the highlight was the Bucs' Casey Weldon playing for Barcelona and acknowledging a TD pass to the club's contingent in the stands.
The Moon on the Mall In 1996, Paul Stewart was approached to do some work for The Big Breakfast on the London Monarchs and was also writing for Extra Point having met Steve Careford the previous season at a game against the Claymores. The monthly get-togethers at The Moon on the Mall began, this probably being the best years of fan support for the game in this country. All the UK fan clubs would meet at the London venue, and the only time Paul ever pulled a sickie from work the next day came after one great night with Steve and Darren Conway of the Bears' fan club.
Facelift and New Technology The magazine was full of stories about the potential funding of a new stadium which would secure the franchise in Tampa Bay. This came about in 1996, the first year under Tony Dungy and the 14th straight losing season for the Buccaneers. And to be the last. The Glazer family also announced plans to change the orange and white colours and Buccaneer Bruce logo. "These colours must definitely stay" wrote one John Davies in the letters page of There's Always Next Year. The internet also heralded a turning point in the magazine and reporting on the club for Bucs UK members. No more re-typing every word from other articles. Suddenly a whole new world opened up and the content and appearance of the magazine changed almost overnight.
Nick Pugliese of The Tampa Tribune became an honorary member of the club and Paul Stewart made another TV appearance on a quiz show called "Sports Anorak of the Year". His specialist subject was naturally the Bucs, but I was beaten into second place by the eventual series winner answering questions on the England soccer team.
1997 to 2008
New Beginnings 1997 was a year of change and the first big club trip to Tampa - the glory days of the Buccaneers were about the begin. The new colours of pewter and red had been launched with great delight in April and there was a renewed optimism around the Bay area. Construction of the new stadium had begun next to the existing Tampa Stadium and great things were finally expected of the team.
When Phil Jones, Gary Hughes, Kev Wheatley and Paul Stewart arrived in Tampa, the Bucs were 3-0. We were invited to One Buc Place to meet Bryan and Joel Glazer and there began a great relationship between the Bucs UK and the new front office. We were given upgraded seats for the game and on-field passes for beforehand. Thanks to this, we got talking to Gary Imlach and led to Paul introducing Channel 4's coverage of the win over the Miami Dolphins. A great night was capped by a tremendous time with the guys from The Tampa Tribune which ended with us hosing down the walls of the rival St. Petersburg Times, a stunt still talked about fondly to this day. It is only a scandalous rumour that the four of us then went into The Mons Venus until around 4 in the morning!
The following week, Gary and Paul joined Neil & Julie Ferguson in watching the Bucs go to 5-0 with a win over the Arizona Cardinals and we ended up on the front page of the following morning's Tampa Tribune. One of my proudest moments of that trip came when Trent Dilfer came over to introduce himself to us at One Buc Place and the likes of Graeme Reid were left with their jaws hanging in disbelief.
1997 saw the Bucs featured pretty frequently on Channel 4 and even on the German DSF channel too. We ended up in the playoffs for the first time since 1982 and the likes of Rob Shaw, Simon Butt and Paul Stewart piled into a West London pub to watch the games against Detroit and Green Bay live. Simon and Paul did a great impression of 50 Buc fans in a bar from the inside of my car for Tampa radio and the club membership continued to grow.
The new stadium Phil and Paul had promised the Glazers that we would be back for the first game in the new stadium, and there we were on September 20, 1998. Mike Newquist, the Bucs' new ticket director, did us proud with a block of seats in the very front row behind the Bucs' bench and all the great aerial pictures of that first game against the Bears show us sitting proudly in the best seats in the house. Paul extended his stay with Bill Thompson to the best part of three weeks and also got to see the win over the Giants the following week.
1999 gave the Bucs UK a chance to repay some of the great hospitality when Nick Pugliese came over to the UK during the off-season. We had a small club get-together in London and then Phil took him to Old Trafford to see Manchester United clinch the Premier League title against Tottenham. That night we all went out for a meal and Tony Smith met Phil's sister-in-law Kath. Two years later, they got married. The power of the Bucs UK!
Phil now had the ticket arrangements under control with Mike and the Bucs UK were able to secure tickets for home games at a now-totally-soldout Raymond James Stadium. The magazine passed 150 issues and the membership went into three figures for the first time. In 2000, Bill & Linda Thompson came to the UK on a vacation and Phil and Paul both put them up for a week as we were able to say thank you for their great friendship and hospitality over the years.
Sky feature the Bucs UK During 2000, Paul Stewart was contacted by Sky's new producer of their NFL show, Karl Baumann. He wanted to do a piece about a UK fan club and naturally the Bucs UK were the prime choice. The five minute piece aired during the Bucs' playoff loss to the Eagles. From that initial Sky piece, came Paul's first appearance as a TV presenter as the Bucs ended their 2001 season with another loss to the Eagles. This brought some great publicity to the club at a time when we were making the biggest change in the organisation's history.
Bucpower.com For after 197 issues of There's Always Next Year, it was time to give up the magazine and switch to a website. The printing, collating, enveloping and stamping of some 150 copies of each magazine was growing tiresome. The first Bucs UK website was the creation of Clive Williams in January 2001. It had some basic details on the club, details of merchandise etc. I had been able to send Clive various documents and files which he converted to web format and posted on the site. It was a good start for the club on the internet but there was more to come. In November 2001, Paul bought myself a beginners' guide to HTML programming, the basics of web design. The ideas for BUCPOWER.COM soon took hold and the site went live on January 5, 2002 to rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. Publicity followed in the American press and the news of our site quickly spread. The membership cost of the Bucs UK had shrunk overnight as there were no more printing costs, and the overwhelming reaction of club members was that this was the way forward.
When Phil Jones made his annual vacation to Tampa in August, he was invited to meet Malcolm Glazer at half-time of the Miami pre-season game. News of the site had gone around One Buc Place quickly. Phil and Paul were invited back over in October 2002 to meet with the front office and Paul came back with reams of information on the early years of the franchise to complete the historical research of all things Buccaneer. Two further appearances on Sky as the Bucs marched towards the post-season helped to continue to promote the club, and further features in The Tampa Tribune and The St. Petersburg Times led to nearly 40,000 hits on the site in a single month alone.
Super Bowl XXXVII Reward for the hard work detailing every game, player, pick and statistic in Bucs history was a ticket for the Super Bowl in San Diego and Paul was able to watch from one of the best seats in the house, as the 20-year odyssey of patient support came to a magnificent climax as the Buccaneers became World Champions.
The club celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2004 with special merchandise and the website went from strength to strength. The site smashed the half-million hit barrier in 2004 and continued onward towards the magical million mark at an ever-increasing rate, eventually hitting the seven-figure mark just before Christmas 2005.
All our game tickets for the 2005 season were upgraded by the Buccaneers to club level seating as a means of a thank you for the loyal support, and Paul began a regular appearance on the Ron Diaz & Ian Beckles Show on 620 Sports Animal which gave the club and website added publicity across the Bay area.
Further club trips in 2006 and 2008 continued to add to the renown of the club and during the latter season, Paul was asked to write a two-page history column for the gameday magazine, Buccaneers Review. This, combined with switching to a weekly slot on JP Peterson's show on 1010 Sports, continued to see the club's reputation grow around the Bay Area.
2009 to 2012: When the Bucs Came Here, and again, and then we went there, and...
2009 - Just.... wow Nothing will ever in the history of the Bucs UK will compare to the events of October 2009 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers played in the International Series game at Wembley Stadium. The Bucs may have lost 35-7 to New England but the result was insignificant in comparison to the events of the weekend. We had hoped to arrange a couple of events for the Bucs UK to coincide with the trip but no-one could have expected what actually transpired. The Bucs UK team played a pair of touch football games against the UK Patriots and won both in front of many members of the printed, photographic and video media. The images went round the world the following day. The Buccaneers brought along Lee Roy Selmon, Mike Alstott and Shelton Quarles, together with cheerleaders and the team mascot. Any club member who was there that day will never forget it.
A club meal that evening was followed the next day by a club get-together for NFL Films at the pre-game tailgate event. NFL UK had come through in helping the club secure two blocks of tickets behind the team bench ensuring the view of the game was simply magnificent.
2011 - Wow again! To Bucs UK members, 2009 would have been enough. We'd had the chance to host the Bucs at Wembley and had got involved thanks to our many friends there. But in 2011 there was double the fun as the Bucs came back to Wembley for the International Series again... and later in the year the Bucs UK went en masse to Tampa thanks to an extraordinary offer by the Buccaneers.
The 2011 Wembley experience for club members included exclusive 'behind the scenes' access to the Buccaneers training sessions, the best seats in the house for the fan rally in Trafalgar Square, a Club Meal with around 50 member attendees and a pre-game touch match against the UK Bears Fan Club (Beardown). The game was filmed by Sky and featured Captain Fear and Sky host Neil Reynolds playing receiver for the Bucs UK. Oh, and he was catching passes thrown by Brad Johnson. Who was flanked by legends Jimmie Giles and Shelton Quarles who was happy to let us all try on his Super Bowl ring. All posed for photos and spent was must have felt like an eternity for them signing autographs and talking to us all. Oh, yes and then there was the match too but it was almost incidental by that point
The Buccaneers had very generously reach out to the club earlier in the year and invited us over for a game in Tampa. The response by Bucs UK members spoke volumes at the gratitude of our special relationship with the club we love. We were treated to a private guided tour around One Buc Place, enjoyed a club meal at Selmon's restaurant and had a great time at the game despite the loss to the Houston Texans. Paul Stewart and family were proud guests of the Glazers, taking in the game from the owners box. We also bombarded (sadly the late) Bucs'n'Bulls Heaven for our merchandise fix, others took in a tour of Raymond James Stadium and various other local sporting fixes.
In 2012, some fortuitous scheduling meant that the Bucs UK could meet up in New York for the Bucs and the Rays. Allegedly there was also a bit of alcohol consumed, but no-one can really remember enough to vouch for this.
At the end of 2012, Paul Stewart stepped down having established the Bucs UK as the UK's premier NFL fan club, having cemented a solid relationship with the Buccaneers' Front Office, and having reached out to Bucs fans around the world forming strong and lasting friendships.
2013 onwards: Under New Management
Enter Phil Jones, David Cambridge and Kieron Hyams. Following Paul's resignation the club has been taken over by the current committee who are, along with the club members, keen to ensure the club continues to go from strength to strength. The Bucs UK now have their own dedicated club website, and BUCPOWER.COM continues to be the one-stop shop for all things Buccaneer.
As lesser known Tampa Bay Bucs fan Sir Winston Churchill put it: "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning". We agree - there are great things ahead for this club so long as there are fans out there that care enough to read this far down the page....!