No Trent Bridge U-turn on barmy army trumpeter ban

09/07/13

Billy Cooper

The barmy army's lead musician says it's unfortunate that he will not be able to play at Trent Bridge during the first Ashes Test.

England's cricketers take on Australia in Nottingham on Wednesday.

A longstanding rule at the ground prevents spectators from taking musical instruments into the stadium.

Officials say they hope Billy Cooper will use a performance space outside the stadium instead.

England fans

The barmy army is a group aimed at helping cricket fans watch and support England across the world.

"A lot of grounds have the rule but because they know who the Barmy Army are we normally get granted an exemption," explained trumpeter Billy.

"Each player has his own song and then there's the English anthems like Jerusalem."

Billy also said he had a few special tunes ready for this year's opponents.

"Because Australia are in town we'll play Home and Away and Neighbours too."

'Absolute disgrace'

Some of the England players are unhappy at the decision not to overturn the ban.

Batsman Kevin Pietersen tweeted: "Absolute DISGRACE that Trent Bridge have stopped our very vocal '12th man'".

Officials at Trent Bridge say it isn't a personal thing with Billy, or his trumpet.

In a statement they said: "By all accounts he's a top bloke and an accomplished musician. We've had a no musical instruments policy for a long time though."

England have won three of the last four Ashes series and begin the defence of the urn at Trent Bridge, before travelling to Lord's.

"I'm not universally popular but I wouldn't play the whole time and the point is to try and pick the players up at various points," said Billy.

The freelance trumpeter who works with various London orchestras doesn't think England's chances of winning the Ashes will be harmed.

"I think the team are so good at the moment we should win this series quite comfortably."

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