CHUCKY’S WEM­B­LEY HOR­RORS

Sunday Mirror - - PUZZLES - BY KEITH WEB­STER

THEY are the no­to­ri­ously dirt­i­est team in foot­ball, coached by a man nick­named af­ter a hor­ror movie char­ac­ter.

Their fans are known as the Raider Na­tion, count Darth Raider among their num­ber and abuse op­po­si­tion quar­ter­backs from a sec­tion of the sta­dium known as the Black Hole.

It is lit­tle won­der the Oak­land Raiders play un­der a logo of a pi­rate with an eye patch. They don’t like peo­ple, and they don’t like to be liked.

Jon Gru­den re­turned to coach­ing this sea­son af­ter a nine-year stint in tele­vi­sion but the man known as ‘Chucky’, for his like­ness to the vil­lain in the Child’s Play movie se­ries, is more con­cerned about sur­viv­ing a trip to Lon­don to play the Seat­tle Sea­hawks tonight at Wem­b­ley than he is about rep­u­ta­tion.

Gru­den, who beat Oak­land in the Su­per Bowl 16 years ago while in charge of the Tampa Bay Buc­ca­neers, said: “I hope I can make it.

“I’m not great trav­el­ling. I get claus­tro­pho­bic. My son was a weightlifter and he won a pow­er­lift­ing com­pe­ti­tion in Be­larus.

“I had to fly 14 hours. I had to fly home 14 hours. I had ver­tigo for a month. I couldn’t even lay down. The house was spin­ning. I’m hop­ing I don’t get ver­tigo. I’m not a great trav­eller.

“I’ll be hon­est with you, I hate it. I’m more wor­ried about that than our goalline of­fence right now.”

A trip over­seas is the last thing the Raiders need. They have made it to the play-offs just once in the last 15 years and have al­ready lost four of the open­ing five games this sea­son.

No­body in Oak­land is happy about sur­ren­der­ing one of their eight home games this sea­son to play it in Lon­don, but Gru­den recog­nises there is a higher pur­pose to what the team are do­ing in the UK.

He added: “You hate to give up a home game, but for the bet­ter­ment of the game, I think it’s ex­cit­ing.

“I’m ex­cited to go over there and make friends. My brother got to go as a Red­skin and loved it.

“My son also got to go as a mem­ber of the Red­skins and he loved it – so I will too.”

UN­EASY RAIDER: Coach Jon Gru­den

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