Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Australia need a Barmy Army

However badly anybody thinks the Australian cricket team has performed, it is nowhere nearly as bad as the performance of the Australian public. All sporting teams have gone through periods with ups and downs, it’s the nature of high level competition. The Australian public have shown a disgraceful side of their character with no words being too strong for the situation. When an Australian supporter goes to a test match he does not go to support Ponting, or Clarke, or Haddin – he goes to support AUSTRALIA!!!

Anybody can show huge joy and support for teams when they are knocking everybody over, lifting cups and winning championships – following a big success teams don’t need support. However the real test or pedigree of a supporter comes when the chips are down and then a team really needs the support of all patriots. Everybody understands disappointment, but, to leave their own players void of virtually all support, as it was in Melbourne, is inexcusable. History has shown, if Bill Lawry was not employed by television, he would be the first person out of the gate!

It’s clear that the English players outplayed and outclassed the Australians, but not by as much as the Barmy Army showed the way against the Australian public! Whether winning or losing 5 – 0 the Barmy Army are always there for England, making them the world’s best supporters and the Australians the worst in world cricket.

We don’t know what Sydney will bring, but, if the Aussies players are able to turn things around, they will have success that the Aussie public will not deserve. Well done England, and the brilliant Barmy Army, you deserve it!

However, if the Barmy Army really want to promote themselves, and do themselves some good, they may need to market themselves in a slightly better way. Their praises and gratitude have already been sung by the England players but they are still not accepted at Lords as I fear that the MCC regard them as sailing close to the wind. For much of the after match coverage in Melbourne the Barmy Army came across more akin to a football match crowd than cricket supporters and this is something that the MCC would abhor. The trumpeter, the good humoured singing and some exuberant interviews were all good patriotic stuff, welcomed, I am sure, by all the World's authorities.

On the last trip to Australia, when England lost 5 – 0, I was in Sydney talking to an experienced stand attendant. He said “Your Barmy Army are fantastic, they create such a super atmosphere at the ground, they behave themselves and I sure wish we had something like them!!”

The travel and merchandising opportunities that exist, makes the Barmy Army into a substantial business, to which nobody objects. Providing they can curb the unruly element and not let the alcohol carry them into grounds of unacceptability, they will and deserve to go from strength to strength, with every country in the world wishing they had a Barmy Army too.

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