For many "American Football" fans in Great Britain, William 'The Refrigerator' Perry is Football.
Out of the dark days of 1986—long before the Internet and instant access to all things sports, where ever you are the world—walks or should that be lumbers William Perry.
The fledgling TV station, Channel 4 was in its infancy and had been showing American Football on Sunday afternoons with all it's glitz and razzmatazz, but it was recorded from the week before. It was always a great match up between the best teams of the time but it wasn't live.
The NFL seeing that the United Kingdom was a market ripe for some marketing in the days before NFL Europe desided to start the "American Bowl." A curtain raiser for the regular season with two invitational teams to play it our in exotic locations (well exotic to American audiences).
The inaugural match up was the Chicago bears against the Dallas Cowboys. The Chicago Bears on the back of their Super Bowl XX triumph were seen as a huge draw and NFL fans in Britain waited expectantly for the Champs to arrive. Their opponents, "America's Team" the Dallas Cowboys were seen as one of the true greats of the NFL by the expectant British fans.
It was the larger than life, William "the Fridge" Perry, as we called him that stole the show before the game had started. The exuberance that he demonstrated, embodied the American game, it was intoxicating and it gripped the British nation.
The game was not a great in any shape or form, but as a live spectacle it was fantastic and did the sport nothing but good in Britain. We got a chance to see two of the best teams in American Football duke it out live, with the Chicago Bears reigning supreme, winning 17-6.
It is with these memories that I was shocked to hear that "the Fridge" had been taken ill with Guillain-Barre syndrome in his home town of Aiken, South Carolina. Guillain-Barre syndrome is a debilitating condition that affects the nervous system and can cause disability.
My best wishes go to him and his family at this trying time and I am sure that thousands of British fans of Football share my sentiments. Get well soon.