Ipswich: Vernon Kay and the London Warriors take on the Cardinals at American football

AFTER watching his first Superbowl on television as a teenager, TV star Vernon Kay discovered a lifelong passion for American football.

That passion turned into a reality when he played for the Manchester Allstars, but his career path turned to television putting his dreams of pads and helmets on the back burner.

But last year he re-ignited his love for the sport, signing for the London Warriors as a defensive back. Yesterday his team travelled to Ipswich to take on the Cardinals.

The 37-year-old radio and TV presenter said: “I started playing American football in 1987 because at high school I was good at soccer, running, cricket and all the sports I used to play and I got a bit bored to be honest, and American football had a presence on TV on Channel 4 after The Wonder Years.

“I got hooked and played in the back garden with friends before joining the Manchester Allstars who I played for up until 1992 before I took a break for college and that’s when life started for me.”

Vernon, who is married to Strictly Come Dancing presenter Tess Daly, then signed for the Warriors who play in the Premier South Division of the British American Football League.

“The rest is history really and I played a full season last year,” he added. “We lost to the London Blitz and it was interesting to see how some people take defeat.

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“We don’t take it as a positive but come out positive by working and training harder than before.”

Yesterday’s game was the first Vernon, who plays in the defensive backfield for the Warriors in shirt number 25, had played against the Ipswich Cardinals and he was full of praise for their home match facilities at Northgate Sports Centre.

“The Cardinals have just been promoted so we didn’t play them last year but coming here for the first time I can say it’s one of the best facilities we have played at. It’s got a great pitch.”

Ipswich Town defender Ibrahima Sonko performed the ceremonial coin toss to get the match under way which was won by the Warriors with a scoreline of 51-0.