Back in the 1980s I regularly used to go off on a Sunday afternoon with my friend Roy to watch American Football. We used to follow the Taunton Wyverns who played at North Petherton: between Taunton and Bridgwater. The Wyverns were enthusiastic but not particularly talented. I remember they lost every game they played in one of the seasons (1987?) that we watched them. At least once we ventured up to Bristol to see a game but I don’t think it can have been to see Taunton play. This was the week after a player had died playing in a league match and it was quite difficult for all concerned. I’m nearly certain that the opposition was the Northants Storm – little did I know that some years later I would end up supporting them.
When I moved up to Daventry in 1990 I wasn’t able to find anybody who was keen on the game so I used to go on my own. This wasn’t as such fun as watching a game with a friend but it was a lot better than not going at all.
The Storm played at a number of different venues. I can remember at least four, Wellingborough, Northampton University, a rugby ground “somewhere in Northampton” and finally at Sixfields Stadium. Throughout this time the paying crowds steadily declined and towards the end would have been in the low double figures. By 1996/97 it had all become a bit of a farce. Far too often either the other team didn’t turn up, or the referees didn’t turn up or the Red Cross volunteers didn’t turn up. Once I drove up to Leicester with my daughter Sally and the Northants Storm didn’t turn up. I think they had just folded – unofficially if not officially.
I then switched my allegiance to the Leicester Panthers for 1(?) season and also made a couple of trip down to see the Milton Keynes Pioneers. One time I very nearly ran out of petrol coming back from the MK Hockey Stadium and another time I spent ages driving around Fenny Stratford looking for the venue.
I look back on this era with much fondness.