Our Series takes on an international flavor this week with our focus shifting to London, England! The British Bulldawgs Browns Backers early meetings were what you might call highly unusual for a Browns Backers club, while the 2017 game in London was a high point that aided the club’s growth. Vice President Kelly Burgess Taylor provided details about this great Browns Backers club.
“[The Bulldawgs were] established in 2001 by President Steve Maybury and his wife Jane. It was started by a group of fans who had adopted the Browns as their favorite team during the 1980’s. In the beginning, we got together to watch whatever football game happened to be on TV. There was usually only one [televised] game per week in London at that point and it was almost never the Browns. [On occasion], we would convince a pub to play a VHS copy of an old game that someone had received from a friend in the USA. It wasn’t until approximately 2013 that technology made it possible for us to start watching Browns games.”
The club is a “mix of British nationals, expats living in the UK and temporary residents who are visiting the UK for business or personal reasons. We welcome anyone to join us and love hearing why you’re a Browns fan.”
Weekly games are watched at the Hippodrome Casino, but in 2017 the Bulldawgs got to see the Browns play the Vikings in London. The Vikings prevailed 33-16, yet it was an extremely positive occasion for London and the British Bulldawgs. The club hosted several events that October, raised £1,500 (approximately $2,000) that was donated to the Cleveland Browns Foundation and VP Kelly Burgess Taylor was interviewed by Joel Bitonio.
“I knew I was being interviewed, but had no idea it was by a player!”
Bitonio is naturally one of Kelly’s favorite players now. Add Jarvis Landry, who won Kelly over in the first episode of Hard Knocks, Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield to the group of favorites.
The Bulldawgs, behind the leadership of the Kelly and Steve, spent ten months preparing for the London game. They planned a party at a local pub (which grew so large that a second pub was added), designed T-shirts for the game and organized ticket sales. The great Jim Brown, who was in London for the game, showed up at the pub party, drawing gasps from the crowd. Kelly describes the days surrounding the game as surreal. She got to meet Jim Browns and Browns officials.
Kelly’s outlook for the season is tempered. She cites the tough schedule and believes five or six wins plus the tie would be progress. She loves the way Baker fed off the crowd and the crowd fed off Baker, but she is concerned that Hue could flip-flop his quarterbacks for the remainder of the season. Kelly is still on the fence about Hue Jackson. She doesn’t want to see him fired too early. She’d like to give this version of a rebuild a chance to pay off. Calling herself an “eternal optimist”, she hopes Hue Jackson gets at least a few more weeks.
The British Bulldawgs have a trip planned to visit the newest British Backers club, the North Cotswolds Browns Backers in Stretton on Fosse. The Bulldawgs membership is scattered out across the British Isles, so they don’t many meetings apart from watching Browns games together. The club does hope to do more charity work following their excellent efforts to raise funds surrounding the London game in 2017.
Some things we take for granted as Browns fans in the states are obstacles in London, England, but these Browns Backers are loyal to their team. Kelly stayed up until 5:00 AM to watch the Browns beat the Jets Thursday night!
Thanks to Kelly Burgess Taylor for taking the time to talk to me about this excellent Browns Backers club!
For information about the British Bulldawgs Browns Backers, you can contact:
President: Steve Maybury firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice President: Kelly Burgess Taylor email@example.com