The Scottish Claymores are Britain's only professional American Football team but it wasn't always so.
When the NFL first brought American Football to our shores in 1991 the first team were the London Monarchs and I followed their progress avidly via televised games.
The World League of American Football ( WLAF ) was a fledgling league of the NFL with teams based in Britain, Germany, Spain, America and Canada, it brought fans the action they had craved (especially outside America) for so long. As you can imagine the action was long distance for many fans due to the immense distances between stadia (more of this later) but for many of the fans who had a team on their doorstep it was a dream come true.
The teams produced some great rivalries and the best of these were between the European Teams of London Monarchs, Frankfurt Galaxy and Barcelona Dragons.
We knew we were not getting NFL stars but rather stars-in-waiting and many of them subsequently proved their worth by claiming posts on NFL teams later, so it made it interesting being able to see future stars hone their skills, of course not all the players were American as each team had 'nationals' in their side and it engendered considerable excitement to see them being able to take on and sometimes beat the more experienced Americans, some of whom had been allocated from NFL teams to gain game experience.
During the first year of the League, London proved to be a powerful force and the team to beat as they forged ahead of their opponents winning game after game, which must have been very disappointing for teams based in the States, their teams were, New York/New Jersey Knights, Orlando Thunder, Sacramento Surge, Montreal Machine, Birmingham Fire, Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks and San Antonio Riders.
London continued their winnning streak only being halted by Barcelona Dragons in week 10, a defeat they avenged with a vengeance when they met again in front of a 61,108 crowd in the World Bowl Final on 9th June 1991 whitewashing the Dragons 21-0 to lift the first World Bowl .
In the second year 1992 the attendances in America continued to remain poor, the Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks folded to be replaced by the Ohio Glory, while the game in Europe flourished, the title that year went to the Sacramento Surge who beat the Orlando Thunder 21-17 in the final played in Montreal, but the league folded that year bringing dismay to fans who must have thought that was the end of American Football especially in Europe.