Did you know there was a British American football scene? It’s not just a gentle undercurrent of NFL fervour, rather a thriving environment comprised of nearly 100 different senior teams across the UK. That’s excluding the partnered junior programmes and university clubs you’ll find.
One of the most successful and historically significant clubs in the country are the London Blitz. Based in Islington and formed in 1994, the Blitz have won five National Championships and they’re a model for success of how to run an amateur sports club in a scene that is criminally under-funded.
Running a pay-to-play model, the Blitz boast a senior programme and a set-up at both under-17 and under-19 level, ensuring a seamless transition from youth to adult level and a constant flow of new talent. Hence, securing the future of the club.
But it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Sponsorship – and thus funding – remains an issue, especially given the rising popularity of American football in the UK still pales in comparison to that of football, cricket or tennis, for example.
Passion trumps, though, and the Blitz are seeing more and more recruits each year. While some harbour ambitions of using the Blitz as a stepping stone to move to a more glamorous European team or – in some very rare cases – an American college programme, the Blitz prioritise the community aspect. Anyone can play, irrespective of talent. You just need to love the game.
Featured photograph/ Oli Stein