I am writing to you from British Columbia, Canada where I live.
I came upon your site and a London Ravens site yesterday by pure chance. I
was stunned by what I saw as I read through the sites and I think you'll
find the reason why interesting...
In 1983 I was a Canadian living in London having just moved there after
completing High School in Canada a year earlier.
One day I was shopping in a store called Slick Willies. At that time, Slick
Willies catered to North Americans and sold various American sporting
gear like hockey sticks, jerseys, footballs, etc... On
that day I purchased a football, a little nostalgic
reminder of home.
As I went to pay at the counter, the clerk at the cash register asked me in
a cockney voice if I was American. I told him I was Canadian, which for
his purposes equated to the same thing.
He then asked me if I had ever played football. I explained that i had
played some football in school which prompted him to tell me about a few
English 'lads' who wanted to get together to learn to play football.
I was intrigued by the idea.
He then went on to ask me if I would be interested in coaching them and
invited me out to Hyde Park that Sunday where they would be gathering for
the first time.
I accepted his invitation and that Sunday morning made my way to Speaker's
Corner where I met up with a small group of English young men, none of
whom had ever even touched a football before.
Also with the group was an American named Lou (his last name escapes me now
though he had played some semi-pro ball in NY as I remember it), and a
young English fellow named Rowland Pickering.
The three of us hit it off immediately that day, especially Rowland and I
who were similar ages.
'Rowli', as it turned out, originated the idea of bringing together a bunch
of young Brits to learn to play football. Having become obsessed with the
game almost immediately following Channel 4 airing the first games from
the US, Pickering had the bright idea of turning a
bunch of English 'kids' into football players and
starting uyp a legitimate team to take on the US forces
teams around the UK.
The idea seemed far-fetched to say the least. BUt that's exactly what we
did, and that team was the London Ravens.
There's much more to the story, from practicising with towels under our
shirts because we couldn't afford pads, to the story of Pinky to subway
rides back and forth to Rowli's flat in South London as we developed our
first playbook, but to tell all those stories would take far too long for
To jump ahead, we eventually secured an eight thousand pound grant as I
recall for equipment and uniforms from the GLC and formed the team
We managed to get a scrimmage game against a US airforce team which we lost
8-0, or it could have been 6-0, I don't recall that too well.
In 1984 I was forced to leave the Ravens and return to Canada which I did.
And until yesterday I hadn't given a thought to the London Ravens since,
assuming the team amounted to nothing and disappeared into oblivion weeks
or months later.
Which brings me to yesterday.
Having put the memories of the London Ravens behind me, I never realized
that the same team went on to spearhead a whole league in Britain and
eventually help spawn the World League of Football.
Having come across the site yesterday, and shortly thereafter stumbling on
the British American Football site, I was dumbfounded!
Anyway, I dug through some old boxes and managed to come across our old
playbook, the very first one we used when we started the Ravens up in
I was compelled to write to your site only because I didn't know if the
original Ravens story had ever been told fully and thought you might find
Anyway, I feel kind of odd writing this email, not even sure if it will ever
even get seen but I just find the whole thing so fascinating I couldn't help
Hope I didn't waste too much of anybody's time, but I did appreciate the
websites and the trip down memory lane they provided for me.