Bucs UK; Still going strong 35 years later

Bucs, GO TO BUCSUK!? Who says dreams don’t come true!

As a Bucs fan, you’d have to live under a rock to not know the UK has a group of diehard Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans.  Bucs UK was born from the National (or international ) exposure of the Bucs during their final year as a legitimate playoff team, and forged over the decade plus of  double digit losses during an unending diehard support of its founder, Paul Stewart.

So integrated was he with the Buccaneers, he has several minutes on the Buccaneers 2011 Video yearbook. But the return to losing took its tool on him; unlike the 80’s, Social Media is a constant torture chamber when your on the other side of popular opinion.

I know I felt it myself, from the onslaught of an unfair bigotry against Raheem Morris, to the highly toxic subject of coaching changes that followed, Being a fan was suddenly doing hard time; so Stewart got                                                                              out.

A lot has changed about the BucsUK over the past few years, maybe more so than the changes going on at One Buc Place in the same time frame. Because when one makes a decision to leave a longtime love, its inevitable the desire to get involved will return. Problem is, sometimes that love has moved on without you.

Now run by Phil Jones, Kieron Hyams and Dave Cambridge all playing integral parts, the group may not appear to be as big as it once was, but what it may lack in Quantity it makes up for in Quality.

The BucsUK are annual visitor and guests of the Buccaneers, and as an honorary member as thanks for supplying live Video Feeds of the Bucs  using slingbox and other contributions, I’ve been a part of many amazing events; the 2009 30 year anniversary of the 1979 Bucs first NFC South Division as one example. Not even the press was invited to this one, and here I am with my teenage Bucs heroes Doug Williams, Jimmy Giles, Gordon Jones, Cecil Johnson, David Lewis and more! (more photos below) It was a dream come true for me, having dinner at the same table with Safety Mark Cotney. The year before I was on the field pregame for the  Seattle night game in 2008 and met the Glazers themselves. They upgraded all of our $86 dollar seats into $500+ Club Seats, so it was no wonder I led the protest against “Glazers are cheap” chants of 2007-11.

THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW

Today, the former head of Bucs  UK plays a ton of golf, and continues to run and feed the best Bucs resource site, Bucpower.com. No joke, the Buccaneers do NOT have as much information as Bucpower.com. Don’t take my word for it, check out every game by team, by season, with photos and video clips (Many donated by Bucstop’s Video Vault, where do you think I got my honorary membership?? ).  In addition to his day job he painstakingly assembles statistics from each season and during his pilgrimage to Tampa each year, gives the Bucs a CD full of current stats.  Sure, the Bucs have their own statisticians and/or get their info from private companies that do that, Brian Ford and Bucs go out of their way each year to make both parties feel welcome as if they were still Brad and Angelina.
So how are the BucsUK doing without it’s founder?
There maybe less than get togethers in the past, but these guys are ALWAYS at EVERY BucsUK event. Tight, Close group under “new management” is inseparable.

Our first article coming back was a ‘Get Together’ at a local Football Club; Aylesbury FC’s Hall. The Hall’s twitter sent out a Thank You tweet with photos thanking the 25 members who showed up for the event. When you go to the Bucs UK website, you see photos of the events while under the old leadership, and I suppose it should come as no surprise the turnouts seem bigger. Paul was extremely skilled at getting the MEGA participation at events, It was the passion he had for the Bucs, born on that fateful night in 1982 when the 3rd game of a strike shortened season had the home Bucs on Monday Night Football

0-2 Bucs desperately hosted 2-0 Miami Dolphins, and beat them in an exciting last second win on Monday Night Football.

against the 2-0 Miami Dolphins.

The Bucs fought and beat Miami to stay alive in a strike shortened playoff race leading future British Bucs supporter to say to himself “That must be a good team, I think Ill support THAT team” as an ever growing fan base in Europe was being exposed to American football for the first time. “Fourteen double digit losing seasons later…” that choice may have changed another man’s mind, but not him. There are few people on this earth who know  more about the Bucs than I do, and without a doubt I give that to Paul. But lets just say I was never allowed to compete for real contest prizes back in the day !! 🙂 But when you hear a guy on the radio talk about the Rams overcoming a 27 point deficit to beat the Bucs and he says “Oh yeah, Dec. 6 1992” you know you’ve got someone special on the team.
THE CROWD..THE NUMBERS
That passion, which infected others, showed in the numbers of people who would show up to Bucs UK events in droves.
While not everyone has money to come to the US for games, he still managed to get people over in to Bucs Games at a time when the economy in either of our countries either wasn’t so great or  when the TEAM wasn’t so hot either.
While the roll call of current Bucs UK seems to be smaller, actual membership is claimed to be higher than what it was under previous regime.
A sort of schism has formed between the two sides, with both claiming the opposite of the other. BucsUK claims the rolls are currently up higher than before with numbers in high 100s compared to just over a C-note for the previous high.
 And while I hear from both sides that this group is not happy and  ‘that group is happier’, your always going to get that from people that have similar viewpoints, in fact in my opinion, they all just support what Ive said right here;
Bucs UK seemed bigger and more visible under Stewart, but it’s current core leadership has in this group maybe a tighter Bucs UK foundation than ever before.
MORE PHOTOS..

 

Phil gets a new Bucs throwback helmet signed by all of the 1979 Bucs who showed. The small helmet got current Buc Chris Hovan and others.
… and Barrett RUUUUUUUD!
Outside of a Tampa Bucs clothing store, origin of my story below and Nickname “SATNAV” by Bucs UK faithful.

So like the Beatles would put another song at end of record, here is a hidden Easter Egg story. During visit in 2011 to see Bucs, the group led by Paul (taking photo?) stopped at Bucs,Bulls, and more clothing store as a meeting place before going to OneBuc. Unfortunately, I was not a big traveler back then, and other than going to the stadium, I did not know Tampa well.  These were the early days of GPS, when it works, but sometimes, it gave you close, but not perfect.

Not knowing how to get to One Buc Place, which is just left of the STADIUM off of Dale Mabry Ave. I put in “ONE BUC PLACE” into my iPhone. (Sorry google fans, there WAS NO ANDROID PHONES back the iPhone was only smart phone) and I followed the directions to ONE BUC PLACE, or at least where it USED TO BE when Tampa Stadium was where the Bucs played.

So here I am, the only one who lives in the area, with 4 guys from Britain, meeting 20 plus others from the U K,  and my car is 10 minutes late because I didn’t know where to go.

Upon arrival, within 5 minutes my nickname was SAT NAV.

 

 

 

 

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