The Investec Ashes 2013 July 6, 2013

Trent Bridge silence Cooper's trumpet

ESPNcricinfo staff

The build-up to the start of the Ashes, already reaching a fevered pitch, now has its cause celebre, after several current and former England players took to Twitter to express their disgruntlement at the decision by Nottinghamshire not to let the Barmy Army trumpeter, Billy Cooper, play his instrument at Trent Bridge.

The first Investec Test will begin on Wednesday but the strains of Cooper's trumpet - playing "Jerusalem", or the Countdown theme music during a review - will be absent. Cooper revealed on Friday that he had been refused permission to play, tweeting: "Just to clarify that Trent Bridge have said I can't play at the 1st test. Very disappointed. ECB were supportive but it's up to the ground."

Kevin Pietersen called it an "absolute DISGRACE" on Twitter, while former England captain Michael Vaughan encouraged his followers to tweet the hashtag #LetBillyBlowhisTrumpet in an attempt to get the decision overturned. Matt Prior and Charlotte Edwards, the England women's captain, also voiced their support for Cooper, while the majority of fans were voting in his favour on ESPNcricinfo's poll.

Cooper, a professional musician, has become a fixture with the Barmy Army group of supporters who follow England home and away, with his well-judged interludes becoming popular with spectators. On England's last Ashes tour of Australia, he was an audible presence at all five of the Tests and the decision to ban him four years earlier sparked similar controversy.

However, a Nottinghamshire spokesman said on Saturday that there were no plans to change the county's policy, which was in force in 2005 when England just held their nerve to beat Australia in the dramatic fourth Test. "It is not personal against him or his trumpet," he said. "It is just a long-standing policy position. There is no chance of a change of mind."

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  • Harvey on July 8, 2013, 7:29 GMT

    I was at the Champions Trophy Semi Final at Cardiff and the horrible deafening music played between overs and after every wicket or boundary completely killed what should have been an amazing atmosphere and wrecked my enjoyment of the occasion. The issue of Billy's trumpet is different though. I firmly believe that creating the atmosphere at sporting events should be left to the crowd, and if the crowd want to bring musical instruments or sing and chant, then there should be at least one or two sections in the ground where they're allowed to do it. Billy is part of the crowd and will be in a part of the ground that has been designated a Barmy Army section. In other words singing and chanting in that section is being actually being encouraged by the Trent Bridge authorities. I therefore can't for the life of me see why they're not allowing him to play.

  • Antony on July 7, 2013, 12:37 GMT

    There's always great music at West Indies home games - but that music actually adds something to the atmosphere. The Barmy Army trumpet guy is an earsore. Imagine being next to that stuff blasting into your head the whole time, put you off cricket for life.

  • Eddie on July 7, 2013, 9:05 GMT

    I would hate to be sitting near it, but as a viewer watching TV I like it. He obviously has a good sense of humour with some of his music choices as well as good timing. As others have said, many other nations have drums and other musical instruments. What will Trent Bridge do next, a dress code? no cheering? Gotta get past the old fashioned tradition that is holding cricket back

  • John on July 7, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    @Someguy on (July 7, 2013, 5:53 GMT) )and others - Surely they could be a bit more proactive and try segregation first before banning this altogether. Obviously if it's in your face then I empathise with you but these guys follow England all over the place. Have done for years , through thick and thin. Surely there's room for both sets of fans?

  • Sab on July 7, 2013, 7:51 GMT

    Let him play. He doesn't trumpet often enough during the match to be a pest (at least when I've heard him). Like the WI matches (in WI) and the Sri Lankan brass (who aren't as polished as Billy), it adds to the atmosphere which is always good for cricket. If I wanted to just watch the cricket I'd stay at home and watch it on TV.

  • Mark on July 7, 2013, 5:53 GMT

    @JG2704 - I think you will find that there are lots of people who go there just to watch the game that are stuck in close proximity to the Barmy army that have no choice but to put up with the constant loud, annoying chants, people standing up and blocking their view of the game and general nuisance they cause. When you buy a ticket they don't let you know what seats other people are sitting in so you have no way of booking seats away from them.

    A lot of people do enjoy the atmosphere they create, but I am not one of them.

    Then again, I am one of the apparently dying breed that think you should wait until the end of the over to get up and move around or come back to your seat. I have missed more than a few wickets because of some inconsiderate person walking in front of me as the ball was being bowled.

  • Sean on July 7, 2013, 5:07 GMT

    So fireworks & loud random music at T20 is ok but occasional, appropriate musical interludes that unite the best supporters on earth isn't allowed? To the "sit in silence" fans who dislike it, my advice to you would be to get used to it.

  • mitch on July 7, 2013, 2:58 GMT

    I didn't realise how "prim and proper" England still are at cricket games. Certain grounds ban music and even dressing up? Good way to restrict any new fans from wanting to go to matches. Big culture difference from Australia.

  • Kenso on July 7, 2013, 1:09 GMT

    Australian grounds are happy with it cause they only have to deal with him every 4yrs. Lets face it no one actually likes the trumpet sound consistently... He should pick a test match day and get permission to play on that day only.

  • Dummy4 on July 7, 2013, 0:33 GMT

    if 20 fans bring vuvuzelas & blow them to celebrate wickets & boundaries etc trent bridge will by begging for the trumpeter soon enough in my opinion lol

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