Category Archives: Blog

A London Warrior’s passion for America’s game


Aden Durde, a former NFL and NFL Europe player and now defensive coordinator for London Warriors, talks about his passion for football, his time interning with the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff and his aspirations to become an NFL coach.

“More proof @londonwarriors are doing it right. Best coaches!” Tweeted Vernon.

Watch Aden’s interview here.

Ever wanted to know how Vernon got into American Football? Watch ‘Vernon: How I Got Into The Game‘.

Continue reading ...

Vernon interviews London Warriors QB Jerome Allen

Jerome allen

Vernon chats to his London Warriors team mate and Quarter Back Jerome Allen about all things American Football; from his family involvement in the NFL, his play off predictions and all about the London Warriors Urban Football Programme which works with helping out kids and teenagers in the local community.

Anyone can join the Warriors and if you’re interested in getting involved by checking out for more details.

Continue reading ...

Vernon’s best NFL memories

Vernon Thumb nail

Vernon looks back on some of the greatest NFL matches he’s witnessed and discusses why he thinks American Football is simply the best sport to watch in terms of fan entertainment.

Continue reading ...

Why I Love American Football

vernon National championships

Vernon shares his love of American Football with the Daily Mirror

“I’ve been a huge fan of the sport since I was a kid. For me it was love at first sight. I remember settling down in front of Channel 4 every Sunday at tea time and watching the American Football after The Wonder Years.

As an 11 year-old it was the perfect way to finish the weekend. I could plonk myself down with my homework and enjoy the highlights as I did my maths. It was the mid 80s and football was plagued by the old hooliganism but American Football was completely different. I didn’t have a clue who the players were, but it didn’t matter. I just soaked it up. And I had posters all over my bedroom walls.

Now I play for amateur team, the London Warriors as ‘free safety’ – which is a bit like a full back in a rugby – and we’ve just won the national championship believe it or not.

American Football isn’t just a sport, it’s an entertainment. Everyone knows about the cheerleaders but there’s always something happening. They fire T-shirts into the crowd, there are team mascots going round the place and they show all the action on the big screen with the most incredible camera angles.

Best of all, you can drink in your seat. When we go to a football match in this country we have a few beers before kick off and knock lumps out of each other afterwards. But in American they do things differently. Fans from both teams sit together and you have guys going round selling beer. They walk up and down shouting, “Get your brewskies here”. The only reason you get out your seat in three hours is to pee, because they bring you food, they bring you drinks and they entertain you. What more could you want?”

I remember the first time I went to a big game in America. It was the Super Bowl in 2009 and it was the Pittsburgh Stealers against the Arizona Cardinals. It was everything I’d hoped for. They even had a half-time show by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

But it’s not just about the glamour and glitz. These guys are supreme athletes. There are a dozen players in the NFL who can run 100 metres is less than 10 seconds. That is incredible. These guys are huge, it shouldn’t physically be possible. Forget the padding, it may be there to protect you but it’s also used as a weapon. If you get a shoulder to the chops from one of those guys, even though you’re wearing a face mask, it’s still going to knock your head back.

In this country American Football fans used to be guys with transparent skin who slept during the day and stayed up all night to watch it. But the internet and satellite TV have made it much more accessible and people love going to watch it live. And as a life long fan it’s great to see American Football becoming so popular over here. Last year four million people in Britain tuned in to watch the Super Bowl, that’s a huge number.

Read the rest of Vernon’s Daily Mirror column here 

Continue reading ...

“BritBowl XXV is going to be a spectacle to behold”

After reuniting with the ‘Manchester Allstars’ at the beginning of the year for ITV2’s ‘Under Pressure’, I’ve taken it upon myself to join the ‘London Warriors’ American Football Team. It has been a hard fought season against teams from Tamworth, Bristol, Coventry, London and Farnham and we’ve ended up in the Final of BritBowl XXV 2011. The game will see us go head to head with European champions ‘London Blitz’. It’s going to be a tough contest for the warriors as the blitz are reigning champions and after their time in Europe they must be flying high. But, come the 24th september,  BritBowl XXV is going to be a spectacle to behold.

Cheryl Baker from Buck’s Fizz will be on tomorrow’s All Star Family Fortunes, competing against my friend and fellow Radio 1 DJ Trevor Nelson.  The series is going from success to success, with some of the episodes of this year still to come.

The Radio 1 Teen Awards are coming up and I’ve been on the judging panel of the ‘Teen Hero’ award, which has been humbling, heart warming and exciting.

All Star Family Fortunes returns Saturday 17 September, 7:00pm – 8:00pm on ITV1.

For more information about BritBowl XXV 2011, please vist the British American Football Association website.

To Book Tickets, please visit TicketMaster.

Tune in to the Teen Awards on Radio 1, Sunday 9th October: 1-5pm, to watch the full show online visit

Continue reading ...

‘It’s funny, emotional and entertaining…’

In 1988 I used to play for the Manchester Allstars youth team – which was a local American football team in Manchester. I suggested it to the Under Pressure ITV2 team because I used to play and I love the game.

Basically what we did, we put the Manchester Allstars team back together for one last game, it was like a reunion!

It was an amazing experience, and  yeah it was weird,  but the camaraderie was fab – we had that 21 year gap where we had all gone away and done our own thing, but when we were all back together we basically fell back into exactly the same thing, the same roles again, and it felt just like yesterday.

What was my biggest challenge in doing this? For me, because it was my idea  to get the team back together and I helped with whole production side of it with ITV2, and being put into the team leader role,  – this was not something I am all that used to, so the difficult thing for me was adjusting to becoming a vocal leader –  believe it or not, I’m not very vocal you see, I’d say I more lead by example!

Because I was in America filming Skating with the Stars, we killed two birds with one stone and did some filming for Under Pressure by filming and practising some American football colleges and high schools, which was really good. Although to be honest with you, it was a lot more intense than I had imagined. Over here it’s more of a hobby, a pastime, but over there it’s more of an obsession! It was much more focused and disciplined.

Would I swap now to play American Football full time? I’m good but I’m not that good!

I can’t wait for tomorrow night, it’s funny, emotional and entertaining, so basically it’s a bloody good watch!!!

Continue reading ...

A Bull Rush?

Now if you think back to the days of school when it was all about British Bulldog, hiding in your bib during rugby practice and homework then you will know that there are several different excuses to avoid all of the above. Over the past few weeks training for the Triathlon has become harder and harder. James our PT has really stepped it up a gear with shuttle runs and more difficult circuits. Gordon has been swimming in the serpentine in Hyde Park, he’s also getting more bike training in, I’m yet to collect mine AND he seems to be backing off the beers. Hard to believe I know.

From my point of view getting the training in around a hectic work schedule and a family is not an easy task. Some might say that that is a very good reason to swerve a handful of training sessions. But it’s not an excuse, it’s the truth. However I think I have the best excuse not to train EVER! 

Dear James (Our PT),

Vernon will not be attending his Triathlon training session today as he was attacked by a herd of cows in a farmer’s field and has subsequently suffered a badly sprained wrist!

He has sought medical attention and will be out of action for a minimum of a week.

Many Thanks,

Vernon’s Mum.

Now I know that if Mr Lord my former PE teacher read that he would send me off to get changed and make me do laps of the footie pitch for the whole of PE. But I swear on my life it’s the truth. I was attacked by a herd of cows! I got charged by around 20 of the blighters in a field near our house forcing me to dive over a barb wire fence grazing the whole of my left side and tearing my favourite golf jumper! The result is a very damaged ego and a sprained wrist. I must have looked like a right plum, if Harry Hill gets his hands on this footage it will go down in history as the funniest home video ever!!

Since then the wrist is very sore so anyone who has any tips on how I can get it right for the weekend I would happily accept them! Saturday sees me playing golf with Ian Poulter and Retief Goosen at the golf live event at Stoke Park so I need to be fit… As for the triathlon training it has been legs, legs and more legs!!! No let up from James, the letter from mummy didn’t work. Must have had a word with Mr Lord. OUCH!

Continue reading ...

Damn those little jumps!


Last time I had a disaster in the gym it was all down to a drop of Belgium’s finest ale. This week it’s been the “revenge of the salt and vinegar TWIST!”


I concluded after my last vomiting fiasco in the gym that booze and keeping fit don’t mix. It’s a bloody obvious statement but some people can get away with it….Ricky Hatton likes to drink “The Black Stuff” in his down time and then sheds the pounds weeks prior to a big fight! The Arsenal team of the late 80’s early 90’s liked the pop and still won games! Freddie Flintoff likes to have a pint whilst working on his quads on a pedelo…….All of the above are/were at the top of their game and got away with a beer here and there!!!


I however, have discovered that it ain’t gonna work for me. So after Gordon and I went out to watch Noel G at the Royal Albert Hall and drank the bar dry, the following gym session, as I hope you will have read, was a total nightmare……Puke everywhere!!


Since then I have greatly reduced my beer intake in order to A) Train properly and B) Try and get rid of this pot belly that just won’t go away! Fellas I’m sure you know what I’m talking about… It’s not a big fat belly; it’s not noticeable under a shirt. It’s just there, sat nice and comfortably on top of my belt.


James (our PT) and I are now getting into a rhythm in the gym. Ok I admit that work travels are getting in the way of regular sessions but I feel I’m coming on strong with the stuff we are doing. This pot belly is doing my head in, we are doing lots and lots of core training as the three disciplines in the triathlon require you to have a good strong core, swimming, cycling and running all require a six pack!


So how do we achieve the perfect abs…? Simple – Exercise and a good diet. James is insistent that the right exercises and a good healthy intake of the right foods will almost guarantee the perfect physique for the Tri!


So rewind to Tuesday morning, up early with the girls no time to snatch breakfast as I’m on the school run, so a grab a toasted tuna sarnie with some salt and vinegar twists on the side. I think you will agree a mega tasty snack! However in hindsight I doubt that it’s Lance Armstrong’s snack of choice prior to going into the gym!


Once again the gods of the Triathlon were not happy…45mins into the session (James was really going hard!) I felt a slight twing in the stomach region. Nothing to be worried about, a sip of water and back on to the mat to continue with the circuit of stomach exercises. Job done……


“Let’s move outside onto the kerb and do 50 little jumps on and off”……Sounds pretty easy? You try it!!!!!! I never thought that something I found so easy as a kid would be such a nightmare in my 30’s…As soon as I finished the 50th little jump the twing came back. This time more painful and very messy! Third wretch in and it was time to say hello to the tuna and salt and vinegar twist’s……..ALL OVER THE GYM FLOOR!!!!!


What a nightmare….The smell was grim. It went all over the gym matt, dumbbells and work out bench……How embarrassing!


I’m learning a lot because of this Tri, mainly that if you don’t commit 100% it’s not gonna happen!! No more beer, and no more salt and vinegar twists!!!!



Continue reading ...

“It’s going to be sore, this lark!”

It’s going to be sore, this lark!

 Wonderful words of encouragement from The Sun‘s Gordon Smart as I return from a work trip abroad!

 But you know what…he’s right. 

 It’s getting more and more obvious to us all that the prospect of this Olympic Triathlon is now becoming a reality. It’s all well and good calling up a couple of pals and asking if they fancy it but to actually get on with it and train HARD for it is not that easy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving working with James our personal trainer. The results are fantastic but it’s the fact that shirking away from the gym or training has a massive effect on your progress. I have just returned from a work trip abroad and for the first time in my life I walked into the hotel gym actually wearing my training gear ready for a good session. However, watching the over preened fellas and lasses on the treadmills made me vomit… it just aint for me. I stood watching in non-matching shorts, a T-shirt, black socks (forgot my white sports ones!) and trainers and just did a complete 180 and went back to my hotel room! 

You see, I haven’t been to a gym since 1988, when, as a key member of the Manchester All Stars Youth team(American Football) I was told to go work on my strength conditioning…some things never change! But it was during one of these visits that I dropped a bar bell on my foot and in doing so never ever entered a gym again. It’s the prospect of gym embarrassment that has kept me away for all these years. That’s why I turned around and left, I couldn’t do it, I could not walk in and join the beautiful people working on their toned abs and perfectly sculpted quads. Forget it… I looked like a proper nerd! (IN BLACK SOCKS!!!)

So what followed was something Rocky would be proud of… I turned every piece of furniture in my hotel room into a piece of gym equipment. The desk chair became a bench for tri dips, the bed a gym ball for ‘The Plank’ and other core exercises, the balcony rail became a dips bar and the Phillip Starck chair became my dumb bell…bloody heavy! 

And it worked, every morning I worked out and after having all the right techniques drilled into me by James the results have been fantastic. It goes to show that if you use the right technique when exercising it don’t matter what you use to achieve great results. I think Smarty and I are lucky to have a total BEAST of an instructor looking after us, it’s the only way we are gonna feel happy crossing the finish line come Aug 6th!!!!

Continue reading ...

Get Ready for The Whole 19 Yards

I have recently finished filming a brand new show for ITV1 called The Whole 19 Yards. In my opinion its one of the best physical game shows on TV … Think Total Wipeout meets Who Wants To be A Millionaire?

 Like Beat the Star in the past, TW19Y’S is a game show which takes tonnes of physical strength and stamina plus an extensive amount of general knowledge.

It’s been great fun to make and I’m sure the British public will love it as the contestants are from all walks of life. Firemen, housewives, hairdressers, members of the RAF and Army, book editors the list goes on… The prize at stake is £100,000. A huge amount of cash up for grabs to the winner but our contestants had great difficulty getting there… Which means the contestants had soooo many drama’s and real hard decisions to make when faced with the final “WHOLE 19 YARDS”.

So this is the premise of the show… I ask a series of general knowledge questions and as soon as the contestants know the answer, like all game shows they have to press their buzzers! However the Buzzer ain’t in front of them! Its 19Yards away!?! At the end of a crazy-stupid-bonkers-whacky assault course! This is where the fun lies in the show! The assault courses have be both tough and very very funny! Making the results rather unexpected!

With the help of Caroline Flack, the contestants and their friends and family were made to decide if going for £100,000 was worth risking what they had already won… High drama and some classic game show moments ensue.


The show starts 17th April ITV1 at 7pm . Tune in and I promise you will be entertained!


Continue reading ...