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
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
against the 2-0 Miami Dolphins.
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.