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They're Singing: 'You Had It Coming to Ya' : Raider Move Has Oakland Smiling

August 28, 1987|DAN MORAIN and MARK A. STEIN | Times Staff Writers

OAKLAND — David Self could hardly contain himself.

The former Oakland city manager, like a lot of people here who fought hard to keep their beloved Raiders from moving to Los Angeles, cannot hold back that certain I-told-you-so smile every time he thinks about the team's plan to move to Irwindale.

"The old . . . song comes to mind--'Goody, Goody,' " Self crowed before breaking into the first few lines. " 'Hurray and hallelujah, you had it coming to ya.'

"It was a great song. I could sing the whole thing for you, if you want."

Raider fans, still bitter about the team's move south, will shed no tears over managing general partner Al Davis' plan to jilt Los Angeles in favor of the gravel pit capital of Southern California. To many fans hereabouts, it serves Los Angeles right for "stealing" the East Bay's team in the first place in 1982.

"I don't see how the people in Los Angeles could possibly object to what he is doing because they encouraged him to do exactly the same thing to Oakland," said Robert T. Nahas, who was a member of Oakland-Alameda Coliseum Commission that tried to keep Davis from moving south. "It's a question of being hoisted by your own petard."

But lest the 1,000 soon-to-be die-hard fans of Irwindale get too cocky over their apparent coup, Richard Duey has a little piece of advice for them.

"Don't get too loyal," warned the Oakland druggist and ex-Raider die-hard. "What happened to the people of Oakland and now to the people of Los Angeles could also someday happen to the people of Irwindale. . . . They should see that (team owner) Al Davis has no loyalties to anyone but Al Davis."

Although the team has long since left, the Oakland Raiders live on here, even as the city tries to attract an expansion National Football League club.

A San Francisco CBS affiliate airs Raider games. There are two booster clubs, including one that offers $200-per-person trips to Los Angeles Raiders home games. This weekend, several thousand die-hard fans will pay $10 a ticket to watch a flag football game at the Oakland Coliseum between middle-aged ex-Raiders led by quarterback Ken Stabler and retired Pittsburgh Steelers.

But nowhere is Oakland Raider fan loyalty more alive than at Ricky's Sports Lounge, Appetizer Bar & Restaurant. A banner welcomes patrons to "Raider-Land," Ricky still serves Coach Madden's Macho Nachos, and passes out Oakland Raiders annual schedules.

"The reaction here is that the sword cuts both ways. See, that's what you get for taking our team. What goes around comes around," proprietor Ricky Ricardo Jr. said.

Dan Ferreria, 37, a general contractor who was soaking up an Oakland A's game on one of Ricky's five television screens, finds little to laugh about when the subject turns to the Raiders.

He held season tickets for a dozen years when the Raiders played in Oakland. Now, he is bitter about Davis for "taking a great team from us" and cannot bring himself to root for the team.

"Al Davis just wanted his big payoff . . . like a brat kid who is going to get his way, no matter who gets hurt," Ferreria said.

Indeed, emotions are still pretty raw among Raider devotees. Fans recall how they went to Kezar Stadium in San Francisco before the Oakland Coliseum was built to cheer the silver-and-black at a time when their Raiders were a newborn team in the fledgling American Football League and routinely crunched by six or seven touchdowns.

Davis' decision to quit Oakland for the greener possibilities of Los Angeles left fans here "disappointed and bitter," Kent Herkenrath, who runs a Raider memorabilia shop in Mountain View and an Oakland Raiders fan club, 500 strong.

"It's like somebody taking your church away," he said, "or your television."

"If fan loyalty isn't important in Oakland," Nahas noted, recalling the protracted legal battle waged by the city to keep its team, "then it's not important in L.A. He can move wherever he wants. That was the thing that was established by that whole miserable trial. . . .

"How in the world can L.A. complain? We have shed all of our tears. There is certainly no more left for the city of Los Angeles."

Litte Respect for Irwindale

Among Oakland Raider fans, there is little respect for the Raiders' new proposed hometown.

"Has anybody confirmed that there is an Irwindale?" asked Edwin Heafey Jr., another attorney who fought to keep the Oakland Raiders from moving to Los Angeles.

"Irwindale? That name belongs in Iowa. The Iowa Raiders," Herkenrath said.

But there is, surprisingly, some compassion for Raider fans down south--if only because they still have to put up with the team's no-nonsense owner.

"This is what I feel bad for, the fans who went out of their way to fill the (Los Angeles) Coliseum for Al Davis and now get this (the Irwindale move) for their trouble," said Duey, who once sued Davis on behalf of all Northern California season ticket-holders in a bid to prevent the Raiders from leaving Oakland.

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