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Oakland's happy, L.A.'s sorry, and the players don't really mind

Published Oct. 4, 2005

Fans roared, grown people cried and a stereo system blared The Boys Are Back In Town, as members of the Raiders' faithful got the good news Friday: The Silver and Black is back in Oakland.

"Bring it home, baby!" shouted Tom Fashinell as he and more than 50 other fans watched the announcement, carried live via satellite hookup in Ricky's Sports Lounge, a well-known Raiders fan hangout in nearby San Leandro.

"My team went on a 13-year road trip," he said, his face shining with excitement and his voice at full volume as he launched into a chant of "Here we go Raiders, here we go."

Like other fans, Fashinell was wearing a carefully laundered "Oakland Raiders" shirt preserved from the glory days. Keith Graham of Hayward had dispensed of laundry problems by simply tattooing his allegiance to his right shoulder.

The announcement followed days in which the sense of pent-up emotion about to burst loose was almost palpable.

"Yesssssss!" blared the headline in Friday morning's editions of Oakland's Tribune.

Most Raiders players didn't seem disappointed by the move. Most echoed the sentiments of defensive lineman Nolan Harrison.

"I've always been for the move," said Harrison, a critic of the fan support the Raiders have received in Los Angeles. "I tried to give L.A. a wake-up call before, but now it's too late. Los Angeles is a glitter town where everything must be a blockbuster hit like a movie or the people won't go out and see it. I guess we weren't a hit, so we have to take our show somewhere else. I don't think that the people of Oakland will turn their backs on us."

"Just look around. It's kind of disappointing," said safety Patrick Bates about the lack of disgruntled fans at the Raiders' complex in El Segundo. "If people wanted us to stay, there should at least be some type of group here showing their feelings."

Terri McCurtis had showed up in El Segundo to buy season tickets when she found out about the move.

"It hurts," she said. "It cuts me like a knife. I'm still in shock. I was supporting them. Don't blame it on me. Don't blame it on the fans. It's not fair."

Daniel Pacheco of Lomita walked up to the building's entrance and threw his Los Angeles Raiders cap at the door, then walked away in disgust.

"I don't like the way the fans have been hung out to dry," Pacheco said.