Sunday, 26 November 2006

Sorry Norm, You're Wrong

I don't say this very often - indeed, never before, because Norm is a clever, humane, thoughtful person; but something he has written has got right up my nose.


The Barmy Army, I see from the press, are moaning: because their trumpet player has been prevented from playing; because they have not been able all to congregate in the same area of the ground. The conceit is that the Army are only supporters having a bit of fun, and I have to agree that the banning of their trumpet player is stupid. He disturbs nothing. But the Barmy Army, supporting the England team as may be, are an infestation. They intrude on the enjoyment of those (or at least many of those) who are not of their number, being an outfit dedicated to the pure production of noise - I mean, unpleasant noise. Not all supporters go in for that. And, by and large, watching cricket at the Gabba these last few days has been a more peaceful experience than some I've had.

By which I can only think that Norm objects to the noise because, by and large, it's taking the mickey out of the australians: which, to judge by the ridiculous seating and "security" policies at the Gabba, is what the Australian cricket authorities really can't stand. As a former trooper in the Barmy Army myself I can assure everyone that they are as friendly a bunch of drunken blokes as you'll meet; that their banter is generally funny and not threatening; that the Australian fans usually reply in kind and they end up in the bar together.

Describing paying supporters as an "infestation", just because they're noisy (I can't see any other complain against them here), is unfair and unjust. They are not yobs, or hooligans, they just suppport their team vociferously (like West Indian fans have been doing for 30 years).

Before I am accused of being a whinging pom, let's just run through the recent Australian whinges, shall we?

The Aussies lost in 2005 because of:

the weather
the ball
the umpires
the Barmy Army
extremely unlucky injuries (as if England have never had these before)
unfair sledging
unfair use of substitutes
England playing the game not in "the spirit of cricket" (a wholly fictitious entity created to ensure Australian dominance of a game they rose to supremacy in partly by intimidating and barracking opposing teams)

Apart from these, other whinges included:

insults to Jason Gillespie being "racist" (bzzzzt, you lose)
insults to Matthew Hayden being stage managed by the England team
constant barracking by home fans, even the non-Army elements
the English media being awful (er, and?)

I can't be bothered to find links for these, but I've heard them all. This time, by forcibly preventing England fans from being a group of fans, the Aussies have got their whinging in first. Well done, lads.

NOTE: Even after today's vaguely improved performance, England are still crap. No whinges on this score from me.

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