Building a dynasty: The rise and rise of the London Warriors – Part 1

In AFI’s continuing collaboration with Great Britain’s top American football website – Double Coverage – we present the first of a three-part series on the top club in Great Britain, the London Warriors. In this first installment, Nick Wilson-Town examines the early years of the Warriors from the youth squad up to the first appearance in the championship game.

Following the groundbreaking victory by the #BritballNation’s number one team, the London Warriors over Denmark’s Copenhagen Towers, we thought we’d take this opportunity to get to know the premier premiership programme a little better.

Following a rampant victory over the Bury Saints to kick off their BAFA National leagues campaign, Double Coverage was offered exclusive insights into a programme well-known for their tight-knit, tight-lipped ethos that focuses on building the strong internal bonds that have seen the Warriors win four straight National Championships

This is the first in a three-part series to allow you to get to know a bit more about Britain’s top team – who they are, what they aspire to, and today? Where they’ve come from.

In this first installment, we’ll look at the Warriors early days, and their rocket-fast climb to their first BritBowl appearance…

The story of the Warriors begins back in 2005, with humble beginnings as a youth team without a parent programme – aimed at providing an opportunity for young London athletes to play the sport of American Football.

Headed up by legends of the game, Tony Allen and Gerry Anderson, who’d both achieved huge success in the domestic adult game already, the Warriors were initially a youth-only team, and found near immediate success – winning the BYAFA National Championship in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

London Warriors BYAFA National Champions 2007 – via LondonWarriorsAFC.co.uk

With a large portion of the team turning 18 at around the same time, the Cobras made an immediately impactful transition to Senior Football – the close knit group of youth players were joined by a wealth of talent who’d either begun their own development with the youth team, or who’s football careers had similarly been shaped by the likes of Coach Allen and Coach Anderson.

The Warriors, beginning their life in the senior league under the moniker of the ‘London Cobras’ found success right from the outset, entering the senior league in 2008 and going undefeated in their first ever season in the senior game – through thirteen games to a Division Two Championship, they outscored their opponents 486 to 18. It was clear from the get-go therefore, that something special had started.

Photography (c) Violent Silence

Back-to-back promotion followed as the Cobras conquered all-comers in Division One in a similarly impressive fashion in 2009, reaching the top-flight of the British game within two season, a rare and impressive feat.
Initially, life wasn’t so easy for the Cobras in the big league. A 5-5 season in 2010 saw them place fourth in their first year in the Premiership, but it seems this tough year only galvanised the programme to push for greater heights.

Photography (c) Violent Silence

Come the 2011 season, resuming their ‘Warriors’ moniker, and their roster was beginning to blossom – full of some of the talented ballers who have become as close to household-name players as you’ll see in the British game – Jerome Allen, Dwain Jackson, Ariel Mofondo, and of course their very own celebrity spokesperson-come-defensive back, Vernon Kay.

They battled through a tough top tier with only a single loss on the regular season, before taking on a London Blitz side that had emerged as the top dog of British Football.

Under the not-so-bright lights of Crystal Palace National Sports Centre however, it wasn’t to be for the Warriors on this occasion. Their first taste of the biggest game in Britball was a bitter one as they fell to an 18-0 defeat against their London rivals…

But as has become a key trait of the Warriors, this adversity only seemed to make them stronger.

Little did the Britball Nation know this would be but the first of six back to back Britbowl trips and counting so far for the Warriors… But more on that in our next piece, where we’ll look at what it takes to win a Britbowl title!

Original article in Double Coverage.

Double Coverage
Double Coverage is about everything #Britball. Through news and community support we seek to grow British American Football through enhanced media coverage.
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