Anorak News | Sing When We’re Winning

Sing When We’re Winning

by | 21st, January 2005

‘RAIN in Pretoria may have dampened the spirits of the Barmy Army hoping to witness England’s first series win in South Africa for 40 years.

The lads pass over the picnic blanket

But we have the Premier League to thank for turning down the volume completely on the public slanging match between Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.

Both managers have been told to end the verbal mud-slinging (and pizza-throwing) of the past few weeks or face immediate sanctions from the FA.

And that Guardian says the truce will come as a particular relief to the Metropolitan Police, worried that the managers were stoking up the tensions ahead of the Arsenal-Manchester United clash in 11 days’ time.

But if it was suggested to Ferguson that he follow Clement Attlee’s advice to Harold Laski in 1945 that “a period of silence on your part would be most welcome”, the same cannot be said of England cricket fans in South Africa.

There are people like the Telegraph’s Martin Johnson who get all sniffy about the Barmy Army and what he calls “their child-like desire for attention”.

In a piece in today’s paper, he bemoans their appearance at the Australian Open tennis yesterday where they came to cheer on Tim Henman.

“In cricket,” he writes, “traditional supporters now stay at home rather than run the risk of being seated next to these airheads, and the same fate awaits tennis while Henman remains at large.”

These, one imagines, are the traditional supporters still packing out the county grounds, the same men and women who would be in Pretoria even now were it not for the Barmy Army.

If the likes of Martin Johnson had his way, Test cricket would still be played as it always was – except that there would be only one man and his dog there to watch.

The people who are ruining cricket are not the Barmy Army, they are the dinosaurs at places like Lord’s who believe that anything more than a polite clap is tantamount to hooliganism.

How many of Martin Johnson’s traditional supporters would save up a year’s holiday to follow the England cricket team through the winter?

If the Barmy Army are in full voice over the next five days, that will probably mean that England are winning the Test match.

And that really is something to sing about…’

Posted: 21st, January 2005 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink