The Barmy Army - do they ruin cricket or enhance the spectacle?

Chris Waters wrote a piece on the absence of the Barmy Army from England games at present, in The Yorkshire Post on Saturday, January 23.

Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 10:01 am
England fans 'The Barmy Army' show their support during the Semi-Final match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 between Australia and England at Edgbaston on July 11, 2019 in Birmingham, England. (Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images)

It has elicited a strong reaction.

Here is a cross-section of the letters we have received, both for and against.

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The i newsletter cut through the noise

From: Julian Vallance, Follifoot, Harrogate

Hail Chris Waters! It’s time someone with a platform wrote, correctly of the Barmy Army.

It is plague of noise which damages, in normal times, the attendance of others. His predecessor, Jim Kilburn, would have agreed with him. And me.

From: John Heasman, via email

I read your article based on the Barmy Army in (last) Saturday’s Yorkshire Post and could not agree more with your comments.

I used to enjoy a couple of days at the Headingley Test but will not attend again as long as this group of self-proclaimed entertainers are allowed access. Fortunately, I am a member of MCC and can go to Lord’s to watch cricket. MCC have denied these idiots access by the not allowing the block booking of seats.

Sadly the ECB, the players and I suspect the counties are all in favour of them as obviously they are a large national organisation and bring revenue. Did you see that in the recent Test series in Sri Lanka the England captain had a sticker on his bat supporting the Barmy Army?

I heard some time ago that the Barmy Army trumpeter had “retired” and they were actually advertising for a replacement – apparently this “musician” gets some sort of payment by way of discounted hotel accommodation and/or transport costs. Sadly, the Barmy Army are under the impression that the spectators are attending the matches to see and listen to them rather than enjoy the cricket.

From: Robert Hampstead, via email

I have followed Yorkshire Cricket for years and have been on many overseas trips following England cricket.

I am appalled by the article written by Chris Waters referring to overseas England fans as “creatures.” I find this insulting given I spend my hard-earned money travelling to watch England cricket. I know numerous other fans who are also readers of your paper and find this article deplorable!

The Barmy Army might not be everyone’s cup off tea but they have raised significant money for charity whilst bringing much needed income to local economies where England play. Never mind the relationship that the England players past and present have had with the travelling England fans over the years. The article is clearly bias and written by a man who appears to be stuck in a previous era.

From: Robin Spreckley, via email

It tells us everything about the Chris Waters, whose opinion I shall now avoid, and nothing about the Barmy Army. For Mr Waters, I offer this quote, inspired by a Bob Marley line: “While you broadcast your opinion of others, others are forming an opinion of you”.

I am not a Barmy member, and would sit at the opposite end of the ground, given the choice, but I wouldn’t wish them away like that.

Do you agree?