Wednesday, October 8, 2014

There IS a Father Christmas (And a Santa Claus Too)

  Buffalo, our nearest metropolis is shuddering with one huge gasp of relief.  Its beloved (American) football team, the Buffalo Bills will not after all be sold to Canada. (That  sort of thing happens a lot in American professional sport, with teams moved at the drop of a hat for financial gain. ) It had been Buffalo's deepest and darkest fear since the team's elderly owner, Ralph Wilson, died earlier this year. Even I was worried. I'm not a fan of American football but I do have a soft spot for the Bills and their fans who sit shivering through game after game,  who drive loyally up route 219 on game days, Bills flags bravely fluttering from their cars. What would our local shops do without their shelves of Bills merchandise? Pickup trucks and SUVs without their leaping buffalo stickers? Losing the Bills would break western New York's heart. Buffalonians' love for their team through triumph and disaster (mostly disaster) symbolises another triumph - of hope over experience. Now they've found their Father Christmas(es), aka Santa and Mrs Claus, come a couple of months early in the shape of  Terry and Kim Pegula....

...who have fished out a handy 1.4 billion dollars and snapped up the team. Or they're about to, as they've now been given the go-ahead from American football's equivalent of the FA.  Mr Pegula, who made his fortune in natural gas and other enterprises, is something of  a local lad, born in neighbouring Pennsylvania though he now understandably lives in Florida. And he also owns Buffalo's ice hockey team, the Sabres (yes, they do spell it right).
  Now the Bills had better win something. Asked if he thought he'd got a good deal, Mr Pegula said, "I got a hell of a deal!"  I hope he's still saying that next year.

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