The Dalston American football season kicks off this weekend with the borough’s premier outfit, the Dalston Raiders, widely tipped to challenge for honours.
‘Yeah,’ said Mr Keith Lombardi, the team’s owner, head coach, offensive coordinator, quarterback, hot dog vendor, stadium announcer, drug mule, kit man, kit lady, general manager and leggiest-cheerleader-with-a-rack-to-kill-for-and-buns-that-just-won’t-quit, ‘the sport is in its infancy here in Dalston, but we’ve been working hard to emulate the full-time professionals of the NFL.’
In between pre-season thrashings by brownie troops, bowls teams and some geese, the Raiders have been practising those skills most essential to the modern game.
‘Well, after those geese ran in six unanswered touchdowns we had to accept that actually playing football is not our strong suit,’ Mr Lombardi told the Mercury, ‘due to our craven cowardice and the fact that we throw the ball like girls.’
‘On the other hand, we discovered we do have a natural talent for sitting down during the national anthem,’ he said. ‘We’re totally brilliant at it, actually. It doesn’t even have to be our own national anthem – we can sit down during anybody’s. Although we did have to get up and stretch our legs during the Italian one, because it does go on a bit.’
The Raiders players have also developed a high degree of competence in letting the air out of footballs ‘which is something only the very best NFL players can do’, according to Mr Lombardi.
The Raiders are currently tipped to end the season as the league’s third placed team, a prediction Mr Lombardi believes is ‘realistic’ despite the fact that they are the only team to have entered. The geese are thinking about having a go so long as it doesn’t interfere with their migration plans.