I got into London at around 2:30PM British time yesterday. It took approximately 6 minutes for me to find my first Eagles jersey sighting and oh, did it feel special. It was an elderly couple just going down an escalator in London Victoria station, but my immediate reaction (other than to scream GO BIRDS!) was “If there are Eagles fans here…then how many are scattered around London?!”
Later that night I would find my answer.
The official Eagles bar for the weekend, Admiralty, has already seen some great sights. From Brent Celek and Mr Dorenbos parading the Super Bowl trophy, to the drum-line and cheerleaders both making appearances, fans have been spoiled by the Super Bowl champions. But the biggest present of all was the ‘Brotherly Love’.
I knew Eagles fans travelled well…but this well?!
Eagles fans are the best pic.twitter.com/0H9ylnuE4w
— Philly Sports Network (@PhiladelphiaSN) October 26, 2018
The bar was packed all night with fans from across the globe. Philadelphian’s were mingling with just about everyone. I expected there to be a lot of British Eagles fans, but the traveling Philadelphia faithful have made the occasional Jags cap look a little embarrassing.
‘I’ve been waiting for this for 30 years’, one British fan told me donning a Randall Cunningham jersey. ‘To be in London and see the Eagles is one thing, but to share that with their own fans and feel like I’m in Philly? This is special’.
Another British fan, although a lot more drunk this time, said ‘This is the biggest party I’ve ever been to. Who said Philadelphia fans are angry?! They’re lovely and won’t stop buying me drinks.’
Oh…I can safely say this morning that I fully relate to that. My head is spinning like a swivel chair and it’s safe to say that if you had an Eagles jersey on or had some sort of affiliation to the team, you were going to be looked after. Maybe it was a scarf or a plush football, or maybe it’s someone forcing a beer in your hand and recreating the infamous ‘GOOOOO BIRRRRDSSS’ video from last year’s NFC Championship game, but you were treated like English Royalty. Something a rather tipsy Liam tried to explain after wandering into the wrong hotel and having to get an Uber across London because the trains had stopped working.
Eagles fans making the trip from Philly had mostly arrived that day. Jet-lagged, tired and probably half asleep, they still poured into bars and made the E-A-G-L-E-S chant a staple of their night.
Meeting so many fans who once I had introduced myself, had heard of Philly Sports Network, was magical. But hearing their stories was even more so. One teacher from the Washington D.C area had just two holidays left for the year. One was used Friday and another on Monday to ensure she has the whole weekend, JUST to come and watch the Eagles overseas.
Another fan told me ‘I wouldn’t miss it for the world. These are my Birds. Our Birds. They give us a reason to fight so we are sure as hell going to fight for them.’
That stood out to me. It’s not just a fanbase, it’s a family. Football is a way of life for Philadelphia fans and they’re showing Londoners and anyone else traveling for the game how it’s done. They’re not just drinking and singing, they’re including everyone…and I mean everyone. There wasn’t a single person drinking on their own last night, there wasn’t a frown in the room or any ounce of trouble. Drinks were shared, pictures were taken AND THERE WAS A WOMAN DRESSED AS JASON KELCE I REPEAT DRESSED AS JASON KELCE.
Eagles fans aren’t just taking over London, they’re wearing their pride on their sleeve and it’s more than infectious.