Barmy Army

Barmy Army

The Barmy Army is an organised group of cricket fans which organises touring parties of its members to follow the English cricket team on all of its overseas tours. The group acquired its name during the 1994 - 1995 Test series in Australia and has represented the England fans on every tour since. [Staff. [ Crass and corporate - why the Barmy Army are no laughing matter] 1 December 2006]

The Barmy Army has the stated goal "To make watching cricket more fun and much more popular". The group uses flags, banners, songs and chants to encourage the team and crowd participation in their activities.

In contrast to the reputations of some sports fans for hooliganism, the Barmy Army organises itself thoroughly and actively discourages any unsavoury behaviour. The group engages in charity work, and has a good reputation among cricket administrators and among some other fans. However, some cricket followers find the loud, repetitive chanting of the Barmy Army to be annoying, lowbrow and disruptive and veteran cricket writer and commentator Christopher Martin-Jenkins has accused the Army of "demeaning English cricket". [Christopher Martin-Jenkins. [,,426-1456636,00.html Vaughan's men reap dividends of bolder approach] The Times, 26 January 2005]


Originally, "Barmy Army" was a Sheffield United football song sung by fans at Bramall Lane from the late 1980s to early 1990s, and can still occasionally be heard at Bramall Lane today. It later came into wider usage with other northern English football clubs during this time. In conjunction with the increasing appearance of English football shirts at cricket grounds in the early 1990s, the song's repetitive cry of "Barmy Army, Barmy Army, Barmy Army" transferred to domestic cricket arenas at Old Trafford and Headingley. It was particularly apparent during the 1993 Ashes tour.Fact|date=September 2008

Throughout the 1990s, increased spending power enabled fans to take the song overseas when following tours of the English national cricket team. Because of that particular song, and the fact that it seemed to represent English fans' activity of standing in the hot sun drinking lager all day, it became a description as well as a song. Both David Lloyd and Ian Botham used the tag to describe the supporters whilst commentating for Sky Sports during England's tours from 1993 to 1995. Only in the mid 1990s was the tag recognised as an official title for English touring cricket fans and adopted by what is now recognised as the official Barmy Army.Fact|date=September 2008

When the Australian media picked up the label during the 1994-95 tour, the name stuck. The word Barmy was used because the fans were considered to be spending a lot of money supporting a side that was unable to win; England not only lost to Australia and their second team, Australia A, but also suffered the indignity of losing to Zimbabwe and, to cap it all, the Australian Academy youth team. The word Army referred to the gatherings of hundreds of singing and partying fans at each match. "Atherton's Barmy Army" soon became established as the fans' theme song.Fact|date=September 2008

As English cricket results got worse the intensity of the Barmy Army's support increased, and it soon became firmly established at the centre of public and media attention. Eventually the fans' passion and dedication were rewarded with an unlikely victory in the fourth test in Adelaide and it was there that the Barmy Army merchandising business was started.Fact|date=September 2008

200px|thumb|right|The_Barmy_Army_and_police_at_The Gabba, November 2006.

During the last ten days of the series they sold in excess of 8,000 items of merchandise, the profits of which were spent on trademarking the name Barmy Army in both Australia and England. Barmy Army has been a registered trademark since March 1995 and its company name is Barmy Army Limited.Fact|date=September 2008

Since its first foray into Australia it has travelled on all of England's subsequent tours, and the same popularity and media attention has been enjoyed by supporters in South Africa, New Zealand, Sharjah and the West Indies. During this time they have accumulated a mailing list of around 25,000 names who receive regular updates on travel tips for upcoming tours, reunions and merchandise.Fact|date=January 2008

The Barmy Army's current leader is Vic Flowers, nicknamed "Jimmy Savile" because of his resemblance to the former disc jockey.Fact|date=September 2008

Barmy Army Cricket Club

Barmy Army Cricket Club (BACC) played its first fixture against Soweto Cricket Club in Johannesburg in January 1996. The game was organised in order to raise funds for the Soweto club. First National Bank doubled the game's charitable pledges, and the equivalent of £900 was raised.Fact|date=September 2008 Since this inaugural match, BACC has played mainly charity fixtures both overseas and at home. Competitive players have played for BACC, but the club's main aim is to encourage participation rather than achieve high levels of performance.

From 2005, BACC has been sponsorsed by

Notes and References

External links

* [ Barmy Army official web site]
* [,,7-2531087.html Article praising the Barmy Army's behaviour on tour in Australia]
* [,,59-2535962.html Letter challenging the view presented in the article above]
* [ Barmy Army official merchandise]
* [ Barmy Army official ticket exchange]

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