The Investec Ashes 2013

Trent Bridge silence Cooper's trumpet

ESPNcricinfo staff

July 6, 2013

Comments: 31 | Text size: A | A

Simon Christie of the Beige Brigade and Barmy Army trumpeter Billy Cooper, Anderson Park, Wellington, March 13, 2013
Billy Cooper won't be blowing his trumpet at Trent Bridge © ESPNcricinfo Ltd/Paul Ford
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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."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by 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.

Posted by Blokker 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.

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker 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

Posted by JG2704 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?

Posted by Aussie_Cricket 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.

Posted by Someguy 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.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy 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.

Posted by derpherp 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.

Posted by kensohatter 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.

Posted by   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

Posted by   on (July 7, 2013, 0:16 GMT)

I was there at the Adelaide Test match in 2010/11, right in the middle of the Barmy Army. That atmosphere was fantastic, especially when England were bowling out Australia cheaply. That trumpet was one of the most important things too. It's just sad that it's gone away now.

Posted by ARad on (July 6, 2013, 23:45 GMT)

A cricket ground is not a library indeed. A cricket ground is also not a place for anyone to be subjected to the incessant and unwelcome intrusion of someone else's musical interludes when you had paid to come and watch cricket. Maybe a middle ground may work. Billy can trumpet during lunch and tea breaks while let those who paid to come and watch cricket their freedom.

Posted by AshesErnie on (July 6, 2013, 22:45 GMT)

Billy is a top bloke and a great trumpeter. On highlights programmes it may seem like he plays all day because he plays at key moments in a day's play which tend to be shown as highlights. If Setting Sun, Old Adam and their like spent a day with Bill, they might appreciate his wit and timing and excellent choices of apt tunes for the situation, and his long silences. Though I recognise they may not understand. And there's a decent chance Bill knows more about cricket than they do. The players love Bill and his commitment to English cricket is second to none. Shame some administrators are so clueless.

Posted by steelbackderek on (July 6, 2013, 22:40 GMT)

fully agree with the banning, gets on my nerves, spoils the atmosphere. Loved KP saying "our very vocal man" . Zola Budd said the same!!!

Posted by mtfb on (July 6, 2013, 21:50 GMT)

Best news I've heard in ages. If only other test grounds would follow suit.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 6, 2013, 21:45 GMT)

Personally I think this is extremely petty by Trent Bridge.

The Barmy Army have brought alot of fun to dreary days of test cricket IMO and the trumpeter often starts off the Barmy Army's innovative renditions.

What I was particularly impressed with the was the trumpetter started off the clown/circus music (I think vs NZ) each time there was a fielding mistake/dropped catch.

Also , surely the fans are seperated so you'd only get those who wanted to be near the trumpetter - ie the Barmy Army and those who want to sample the atmospehere close up. If this is not the case then something should be done to ensure that different types of spectator are segregated but banning a guy who is an integral part in creating an atmosphere is very poor IMO. I reckon another OG scored by the authorities. 2 things which make dull passages of play more bareable are the Barmy Army and Bumble's commentary

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (July 6, 2013, 21:27 GMT)

People on here think that this is something new with the Barmy Army, and musical instruments at cricket games.

In the West indies home games you had steel drum bands playing most of the day while at thier peak, and reggie systems blaring out between overs.

Australian crowds are well known for thier barracking of visiting teams, read about some of the incidents from the hill in Sydney that occurred before 1939.

Indian grounds have drums playing all day.

Then theres the dreaded vuvuzela, from South africa that is less tuneful than trumpet and far nosier.

Posted by   on (July 6, 2013, 19:19 GMT)

Surprised that Trent ridge are standing against 'Team England'. Well done to them. Ive always believes that a cricket match is there to watch cricket, not provide musical entertainment or some other effect. Crowds are getting too involved in the game. This guy + barmy army keep the "English" players at fever pitch intensity (exactly why the former players are getting involved) and its certainly not in the spirit of the game. Of course team England will do ANYTHING to get an advantage somewhere. Expect a change on this one.

Posted by AJ_Tiger86 on (July 6, 2013, 19:15 GMT)

@OldAdam: you shouldn't judge other people's professional skills without knowing all the facts. This is from Billy Cooper's website: "Educated at the GSMD and the Royal Academy of Music, Bill has taken trumpet playing to new and established audiences all over the world. He has played his trumpet everywhere from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the Royal Albert Hall. Based in the UK, Bill freelances with various top orchestras as well as playing at the cricket. He also teaches, plays at weddings and has recently embarked on a blossoming career as an after dinner speaker, offering a unique combination of cricketing anecdotes and associated musical accompaniment." Sounds like a very good professional to me, who also creates fantastic atmosphere in test grounds for free.

Posted by TenDonebyaShooter on (July 6, 2013, 19:10 GMT)

Not in favour of a step such as a ban, but agree with SettingSun in so far as while I find Cooper's playing tuneful, some of his song selections are inappropriate to the context.

Posted by OldAdam on (July 6, 2013, 18:53 GMT)

Well done Trent Bridge. I'm with SettingSun on this one. So, he's a professional is he? Obviously not a very good one or he'd be playing for money in a more suitable environment - like a concert hall or a recording studio. There is enough annoying and unnecessary noise at test matches. I was appalled at some of the bad language at the last one I went to, especially as there were two young children and their mother sitting close to me. But I don't think even the advantage of possibly drowning out the yobs is enough to excuse the awful racket that a solo trumpet can make. By the way, I'm a musician myself. I love music with a passion - but not this guy.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (July 6, 2013, 17:03 GMT)

Agree with both Vaughny and KP. Trent Bridge have surely gotta give way on this one, The world-famous Barmy Army and their trumpeter are part of the England team.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (July 6, 2013, 16:45 GMT)

Test matches are annoying as it is without the added distraction of some guy blowing his trumpet. Having said that, a trumpet is a wonderful instrument and has some significance in the armed forces, scouts etc. Any kind of music is a disturbance and cricket matches can do well without anyof that. So a fine decision by the Nottingham authorities.

Posted by   on (July 6, 2013, 16:27 GMT)

I will not enter a cricket ground if they ban the Srilankan papare trumpets!!! No papare no cricket for lankans!!!

Posted by HatsforBats on (July 6, 2013, 14:05 GMT)

Ridiculous, I'd much rather hear Billy's trumpet then the institutionalised bullying of the Barmy Army. It's all in good fun though so thats ok.

Posted by Partyman on (July 6, 2013, 14:01 GMT)

Only here in Britain that we encounter these kind of pointless upright policies and decisions. Every other country in the world would do anything that would appease their local teams and players. We saw that at Wimbledon last night and now this. Arrogance is the word that comes to my mind.

Posted by EastGlos on (July 6, 2013, 13:55 GMT)

Agree with SettingSun. Sorry if this sounds old and miserable but it just gets on my nerves. Much worse, and far less appropriate, than drums at football.

Posted by   on (July 6, 2013, 13:52 GMT)

Don't be too surprised Trent Bridge's decision ends up being overturned. Seems a lot of the current England players are also in full-support of allowing Bill to play his trumpet, especially with Stuart Broad asking for an enquiry.

Personally, I don't see any problem with it. The ground should embrace the fact that it's a home Ashes series and actually give our fans the maximum opportunity to support our players. Hopefully this'll be resolved on Monday and we get the trumpet quips during the game.

Posted by ruester on (July 6, 2013, 13:40 GMT)

I assume that Trent Bridge are wanting England to do well. In sport home advantage plays a big part in teams performance in many sports. The Barmy Army are magnificent followers of cricket and support England at all stages and help lift the team when they are struggling. I can't believe they are banning the trumpeter! They should be ashamed and ECB should step in, if Trent Bridge won't support England in every way possible then they should not host international matches. When two Ex England captains show their support for the trumpeter it shows how important the players feel the support they get is. Shame a pen pusher at Trent Bridge insists that a stupid rule they introduced should be followed. Trent Bridge administrators get over yourselves and support the national team and the fans who pay extortionate amounts to watch test cricket.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (July 6, 2013, 13:31 GMT)

They have an odd attitude at Trent Bridge which is vaguely understandable at LOrd so we have to wait till 3rd Test to have pageantry at our grounds. This should be a big issue because the trumpet and the fancy dress etc make not marr the occasion. A cricket ground is not a library.

Posted by SettingSun on (July 6, 2013, 13:27 GMT)

Good. It's annoying and I'm sick of hearing the damn thing during matches and I can only feel sorry for the poor souls who have to sit near the racket at the ground. I hope other grounds follow suit.

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