Investec Ashes 2013 July 9, 2013

Trent Bridge confirms ban on Billy's trumpet

George Dobell and David Hopps
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England's players' plea to Nottinghamshire to lift the ban on the Barmy Army trumpeter, Billy Cooper, in the first Investec Test at Trent Bridge, appears to have fallen on deaf ears after the club reiterated their stance.

The vocal support of many England players, led by home town star Graeme Swann, had encouraged hopes that the county might yet relax its stance at the eleventh hour. Swann said he spoke for the England team in saying that it was "a real shame" that his home club would not allow Cooper - nicknamed Billy the Trumpet - to play as the England side consider him "the unspoken 12th man."

However, Lisa Pursehouse, the Nottinghamshire chief executive, said there will be no change in policy. "I think there's been some hugely emotive language around this whole issue but the truth is, this is nothing new," she told TalkSport. "Although I've only been chief executive for a year, I've been at Trent Bridge for almost ten years and the ground regulation was in place then.

"Billy knows that this is not personal to him - we had exactly the same conversation in 2005. We just don't let musical instruments into Trent Bridge. Billy's not banned and he knows that, but it's about the musical instrument. Billy's been here before and he'll sit and watch the cricket at Trent Bridge and I'm sure he'll enjoy it."

However, the feeling among England's players has been strong enough for ECB officials to broach the matter unofficially with Nottinghamshire to see if a compromise can be reached ahead of the start of the Ashes series.

Swann said: "The players are all in favour of Billy blowing his trumpet wherever we are. He is the unspoken 12th man for us when we are on tour and in big series at home, so I think it's a real shame he's not allowed to play here."

Nottinghamshire have long contended that their blanket ban on musical instruments is stated on match tickets and, that being so, they could face requests for refunds from supporters who object to Cooper's playlist.

The ECB, however, is thought to have some sympathy with Cooper's commitment to England's cause - as well as respect for his professional playing ability.

Compromises so far floated include Cooper playing from the balcony of the Trent Bridge Inn behind the ground, something which Nottinghamshire could not control, or even an official guest spot during an interval. Neither solution would recapture the feeling for England players that he plays when they most value it, during good times or bad.

As a Nottinghamshire player, Swann might have been expected to have an influence on the decision. But he admitted that he had tried to persuade the authorities to no avail.

"I know all the team are behind Billy the Trumpet," Swann said. "The Barmy Army are a massive part of the English team. Nottingham have their rules as Lord's do. It's a shame in this day and age they can't bend them for such a big event but so be it, it's not my decision.

"We don't make the rules, we have just got to go out there and play our cricket now it's been decided it's not the right thing to do and I think that's real shame. I have tried to have my say but I have been batted down."

A poll carried out by ESPNcricinfo on the County Cricket Live blog attracted more than 500 votes with only 15% opposing Cooper being allowed to play his trumpet at Trent Bridge.

Nottinghamshire have also pointed out that Cooper was also been refused permission to play his trumpet at the 2005 Ashes Test when England secured victory on their way to regaining the Ashes. Since then, though, his presence has become a more recognisable part of England's Test scene, at home and abroad.

Pursehouse said: "There are lots of people that enjoy watching cricket without musical instruments. If you want to go to a ground where there's drums and trumpets and big crowds you're able to do that. There are other venues that offer that. At Trent Bridge we offer something different and that doesn't make it wrong. It's just different and people have always had a good time.

"We've got a great atmosphere at Trent Bridge. We're not stuffy or boring or any of those things and our feedback on the customer experience is fantastic and people do enjoy coming to Trent Bridge to watch the games. We're an intimate ground, and the atmosphere is all created by the cricket."

The club aims to identify more with the traditional Test atmosphere at Lord's in contrast to other Test grounds such as Edgbaston and Old Trafford and believes that this policy is justified by ticket sales. The match is sold out for all five days.

This story was updated on July 9 with Lisa Pursehouse's comments

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nutcutlet on July 9, 2013, 5:35 GMT

    Billy playing his trumpet, always skilfully & with feeling, in my amateur opinion, adds to the England Test match experience, & I am firmly in traditional camp when it comes to Test cricket. The authorities at Trent Bridge probably think that they are protecting the special atmosphere of Test cricket by banning Billy & his trumpet, but I would ask that they think again. Seriously. Billy picks his moments carefully & is invariably in tune with the play in his choice of tunes & it's very clear that the players enjoy his contributions, besides the vast majority of the crowd. What we don't want is piggy-backing by less accomplished musicians, let alone the inane & sanity-challenging vuvuzela noise (or similar) that would be entirely inappropriate to any activity that engages the brain.

  • lillee4PM on July 10, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    Good to see Swann blowing somebody else's trumpet for a change, instead of his own!

  • gimme6 on July 10, 2013, 5:28 GMT

    Can't we ban him from everywhere? You're sat watching some cricket, then all of sudden he plays his trumpet (for no reason other than his own) of 1 his handful monotous choice of tunes time and time again. Hear a joke once and its funny, but after a coupe of 100 times its not so funny. And what if like me you don't like the sound of a trumpet, then there's no escaping it. I love loud cranked up heavy metal guitar, which I'm sure loads of people in cricket grounds can't stand, but should I not be allowed to blast out some riffs and to hell with other people in the crowd don't like it.

  • kondadude on July 10, 2013, 5:17 GMT

    These cricket administrators allow the cacophony of sounds that emanate from the stands in the Caribbean and that ruin the viewing experience for both stadium and television spectators alike, but not this. I don't understand these stiff upper lip poms who seem so archaic in their attitude - let's all don our hats and watch the game while we sip on our tea, along with some biscuits. We shall do a slow clap for any significant achievement - for this is all a gentleman's game! You want more crowds to come in and in the same breath say no to the entertainers who enhance the viewing experience.. *Slow Clap* for the powers that be.. Robin Hood and his merry men should be let loose on this bunch!!

  • china_cricket on July 10, 2013, 5:12 GMT

    Swann and Broad can always go and join a club that isn't so far up itself......

    I hope the Barmy Army have some appropriate response to the humourless drones at the bridge, most other grounds seem to have no prob.

    I predict an England win and hopefully lots of songs about trumpets being stored in 'suitable locations' in Nottingham.

  • lisadb99 on July 9, 2013, 23:36 GMT

    I live in Sydney and the trumpeter / Barmy Army is THE reason that I won't be going to the Sydney Test in January.

    As for him being a 'professional', does that mean that any professional musician can bring any instrument into the ground?

  • JG2704 on July 9, 2013, 20:27 GMT

    @RichardHeade on (July 9, 2013, 16:23 GMT) Out of interest are you known by any other 1st name?

  • AJ_Tiger86 on July 9, 2013, 19:56 GMT

    @5wombats: Nice you see you still around sir! Cracking series coming up despite this Trumpet nonsense :)

  • iwatcheditwhenwewasrubbish on July 9, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    I could respect this decision if the same ground also banned all that awful canned muzak you have to endure in one day games etc, I suspect it does not.

    Although personally the trumpet has never bothered me, and I consider my self something of a cricket purist.

  • 5wombats on July 9, 2013, 18:32 GMT

    @Sir_Freddie_Flintoff - hey guy!!! NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN!!! Looking forward to the series!!!. 5wombats certainly are! :-)

  • Nutcutlet on July 9, 2013, 5:35 GMT

    Billy playing his trumpet, always skilfully & with feeling, in my amateur opinion, adds to the England Test match experience, & I am firmly in traditional camp when it comes to Test cricket. The authorities at Trent Bridge probably think that they are protecting the special atmosphere of Test cricket by banning Billy & his trumpet, but I would ask that they think again. Seriously. Billy picks his moments carefully & is invariably in tune with the play in his choice of tunes & it's very clear that the players enjoy his contributions, besides the vast majority of the crowd. What we don't want is piggy-backing by less accomplished musicians, let alone the inane & sanity-challenging vuvuzela noise (or similar) that would be entirely inappropriate to any activity that engages the brain.

  • lillee4PM on July 10, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    Good to see Swann blowing somebody else's trumpet for a change, instead of his own!

  • gimme6 on July 10, 2013, 5:28 GMT

    Can't we ban him from everywhere? You're sat watching some cricket, then all of sudden he plays his trumpet (for no reason other than his own) of 1 his handful monotous choice of tunes time and time again. Hear a joke once and its funny, but after a coupe of 100 times its not so funny. And what if like me you don't like the sound of a trumpet, then there's no escaping it. I love loud cranked up heavy metal guitar, which I'm sure loads of people in cricket grounds can't stand, but should I not be allowed to blast out some riffs and to hell with other people in the crowd don't like it.

  • kondadude on July 10, 2013, 5:17 GMT

    These cricket administrators allow the cacophony of sounds that emanate from the stands in the Caribbean and that ruin the viewing experience for both stadium and television spectators alike, but not this. I don't understand these stiff upper lip poms who seem so archaic in their attitude - let's all don our hats and watch the game while we sip on our tea, along with some biscuits. We shall do a slow clap for any significant achievement - for this is all a gentleman's game! You want more crowds to come in and in the same breath say no to the entertainers who enhance the viewing experience.. *Slow Clap* for the powers that be.. Robin Hood and his merry men should be let loose on this bunch!!

  • china_cricket on July 10, 2013, 5:12 GMT

    Swann and Broad can always go and join a club that isn't so far up itself......

    I hope the Barmy Army have some appropriate response to the humourless drones at the bridge, most other grounds seem to have no prob.

    I predict an England win and hopefully lots of songs about trumpets being stored in 'suitable locations' in Nottingham.

  • lisadb99 on July 9, 2013, 23:36 GMT

    I live in Sydney and the trumpeter / Barmy Army is THE reason that I won't be going to the Sydney Test in January.

    As for him being a 'professional', does that mean that any professional musician can bring any instrument into the ground?

  • JG2704 on July 9, 2013, 20:27 GMT

    @RichardHeade on (July 9, 2013, 16:23 GMT) Out of interest are you known by any other 1st name?

  • AJ_Tiger86 on July 9, 2013, 19:56 GMT

    @5wombats: Nice you see you still around sir! Cracking series coming up despite this Trumpet nonsense :)

  • iwatcheditwhenwewasrubbish on July 9, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    I could respect this decision if the same ground also banned all that awful canned muzak you have to endure in one day games etc, I suspect it does not.

    Although personally the trumpet has never bothered me, and I consider my self something of a cricket purist.

  • 5wombats on July 9, 2013, 18:32 GMT

    @Sir_Freddie_Flintoff - hey guy!!! NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN!!! Looking forward to the series!!!. 5wombats certainly are! :-)

  • CricFan78 on July 9, 2013, 18:00 GMT

    Its a cricket match ... doesnt matter whether anyone plays trumpet or not.

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on July 9, 2013, 17:21 GMT

    From the couch, it's great the trumpet player. He certainly has a good sense of humour with the song choices at times

  • AJ_Tiger86 on July 9, 2013, 16:54 GMT

    @RichardHeade: 1. Billy is not an amateur. He is a professional as has been pointed out on a few occasions already. and 2. Yes I WOULD love him to play the trumpet when I visit a test ground. In fact I have had the pleasure of sitting near him in a test match, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere he created.

  • RichardHeade on July 9, 2013, 16:23 GMT

    If I wanted to listen to someone playing the trumpet, i'd have bought tickets for a BBC Philharmonic Orchestra concert, not, an international cricket test match, get some perspective here folks, would you pay hundreds of pounds to listen to some amateur playing an instrument outside for 6 hours, in this heat, I wouldn't.

  • AJ_Tiger86 on July 9, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    I think Notts have figured out they need to cater to a more wealthy audience who are not fond of much noise or atmosphere. That sort of audience earns them more revenue through food and drink purchases etc. It's a pure business decision. But it's bad for the overall popularity of cricket in this country.

  • SettingSun on July 9, 2013, 9:09 GMT

    @jmcilhinney - Yes, that's exactly what I was saying, having made it so obvious in my not-at-all deliberately exaggerated comment. Well spotted, Senor Condescendo!

    @Nutcutlet - It's been banned along with Billy's trumpet. How about yours?

  • AshesErnie on July 9, 2013, 8:33 GMT

    Nutcutlet is right again. Billy's innate timing and choice of tune add humour to the day (except for those without a SOH). His broad repertoire and top class playing transform the Barmy Army from a fairly unsophisticated chanting mass to a tuneful, varied, witty and entertaining collective. How about getting Billy in on day 1, banning him playing on day 2, and then deciding which you prefer? And to Trent Bridge and all other grounds, stop belting out your own ghastly 'music' during one day games.

  • JG2704 on July 9, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    @Hodra99 on (July 9, 2013, 0:15 GMT)/ Vilander on (July 9, 2013, 5:21 GMT) - There have been plenty of Ashes threads on the selection/playing side of the game. Mostly filled with oft repeated , fairweather jingoistic comments no doubt. There have been 2 threads on this subject so I hardly think that makes it the hottests cricket topic does it?

  • JG2704 on July 9, 2013, 8:18 GMT

    To me - as I've said before - the trumpeter is a key part of the Barmy Army songs and the Barmy Army is a key part of the atmosphere. I think there have been a few sourpusses on here moaning about it. If it's offensive why not watch it at home where you get a better view of the game and no one to interrupt. I wonder what would happen if a few/load of the BA took Kazoos along to the game? Is there legislation for barring those?

  • Nutcutlet on July 9, 2013, 7:23 GMT

    @jmicilhinney: thank you for clarifying my imprecisely expressed opinion. Nonetheless, I've tried to argue in favour of the Billy (& no other) playing his instrument & wouldn't it be just dandy if the committee at Trent Bridge gave him written permission to carry on playing in his inimitable way? Billy could frame the missive! What a treasure! @Setting Sun: where's your SOH?

  • disco_bob on July 9, 2013, 7:05 GMT

    @Vilander on (July 9, 2013, 5:21 GMT) OR... they have so much angst that they fear the loss of any motivating home advantage.

  • jmcilhinney on July 9, 2013, 6:18 GMT

    @bobbo2 on (July 8, 2013, 23:11 GMT), I look forward to your publishing your research that led to that statistic because I know that you wouldn't just pull a number out of the air based on nothing more than your own opinion and the fact that a few of your friends agree with you.

  • jmcilhinney on July 9, 2013, 6:16 GMT

    @SettingSun on (July 8, 2013, 23:21 GMT), seriously? I think you're the one being absolutely ridiculous. Do you really think that England are giving more attention to this issue than they have to their Ashes preparation? Do you really think that Swann has practised even one minute less than he would have had this issue not occurred?

  • jmcilhinney on July 9, 2013, 6:12 GMT

    @Nutcutlet on (July 9, 2013, 5:35 GMT), they're not banning Billy and his trumpet; just the trumpet. In fact, just the playing of the trumpet.

  • Vilander on July 9, 2013, 5:21 GMT

    Lol if this is really pre ashes then Aus have to feel very bad, the Poms are so not having even a bit of angst in them that they are going to face Aus, they are more worried about billy the trumpet..lol

  • SirBobJones on July 9, 2013, 4:05 GMT

    I'm an Aussie but I say let Billy play.

  • jmcilhinney on July 9, 2013, 1:21 GMT

    I think that it's rather funny that the rules were changed because Steven Finn knocked the bails off the non-strikers stumps occasionally, a batsman will back away if there's a hint of movement behind the bowler and yet none of the players seem to consider a trumpet playing to be distracting. I guess cricketers aren't as soft as golfers after all.

  • disco_bob on July 9, 2013, 1:08 GMT

    Like second hand smoke some people, myself for example find trumpets and horns to be intrusively irritating unnecessary nonsense that is foisted upon those who merely want to watch the cricket. Like beach balls, it does nothing to heighten the atmosphere and in fact diminishes the sense of occasion. I salute Trent Bridge and hope they can show the way forward so that Australian grounds will have the courage to do likewise and not be afraid to be branded parochial.

  • SettingSun on July 8, 2013, 23:21 GMT

    WHAT IS GOING ON?! What is wrong with everyone?! The flaming Ashes are about to start and all anyone cares about is Billy and his damn trumpet. Swann should be busying himself preparing himself for playing cricket rather than worrying about whether some irritating trumpet parper is going to be present in the crowd. It's absolutely ridiculous!

  • bobbo2 on July 8, 2013, 23:11 GMT

    Crazy decision. I love the trumpet. I don't understand why cricket authorities always ban things at cricket that give the place atmosphere. They did the same at the West Indies' World Cup. For the odd old codger who doesn't like the trumpet, there are 50 people who want it.

    Atmosphere is important to the game of cricket and if authorities take that away there can be no surprise that people would rather watch the game at home on TV.

    If the players don't mind what is the issue?

  • Bonehead_maz on July 8, 2013, 23:10 GMT

    Wish the Sth African staging of the World Cup had have been played at Trent Bridge. (my ears are still ringing). One trumpet is surely ok !

  • Bonehead_maz on July 8, 2013, 23:10 GMT

    Wish the Sth African staging of the World Cup had have been played at Trent Bridge. (my ears are still ringing). One trumpet is surely ok !

  • bobbo2 on July 8, 2013, 23:11 GMT

    Crazy decision. I love the trumpet. I don't understand why cricket authorities always ban things at cricket that give the place atmosphere. They did the same at the West Indies' World Cup. For the odd old codger who doesn't like the trumpet, there are 50 people who want it.

    Atmosphere is important to the game of cricket and if authorities take that away there can be no surprise that people would rather watch the game at home on TV.

    If the players don't mind what is the issue?

  • SettingSun on July 8, 2013, 23:21 GMT

    WHAT IS GOING ON?! What is wrong with everyone?! The flaming Ashes are about to start and all anyone cares about is Billy and his damn trumpet. Swann should be busying himself preparing himself for playing cricket rather than worrying about whether some irritating trumpet parper is going to be present in the crowd. It's absolutely ridiculous!

  • disco_bob on July 9, 2013, 1:08 GMT

    Like second hand smoke some people, myself for example find trumpets and horns to be intrusively irritating unnecessary nonsense that is foisted upon those who merely want to watch the cricket. Like beach balls, it does nothing to heighten the atmosphere and in fact diminishes the sense of occasion. I salute Trent Bridge and hope they can show the way forward so that Australian grounds will have the courage to do likewise and not be afraid to be branded parochial.

  • jmcilhinney on July 9, 2013, 1:21 GMT

    I think that it's rather funny that the rules were changed because Steven Finn knocked the bails off the non-strikers stumps occasionally, a batsman will back away if there's a hint of movement behind the bowler and yet none of the players seem to consider a trumpet playing to be distracting. I guess cricketers aren't as soft as golfers after all.

  • SirBobJones on July 9, 2013, 4:05 GMT

    I'm an Aussie but I say let Billy play.

  • Vilander on July 9, 2013, 5:21 GMT

    Lol if this is really pre ashes then Aus have to feel very bad, the Poms are so not having even a bit of angst in them that they are going to face Aus, they are more worried about billy the trumpet..lol

  • jmcilhinney on July 9, 2013, 6:12 GMT

    @Nutcutlet on (July 9, 2013, 5:35 GMT), they're not banning Billy and his trumpet; just the trumpet. In fact, just the playing of the trumpet.

  • jmcilhinney on July 9, 2013, 6:16 GMT

    @SettingSun on (July 8, 2013, 23:21 GMT), seriously? I think you're the one being absolutely ridiculous. Do you really think that England are giving more attention to this issue than they have to their Ashes preparation? Do you really think that Swann has practised even one minute less than he would have had this issue not occurred?

  • jmcilhinney on July 9, 2013, 6:18 GMT

    @bobbo2 on (July 8, 2013, 23:11 GMT), I look forward to your publishing your research that led to that statistic because I know that you wouldn't just pull a number out of the air based on nothing more than your own opinion and the fact that a few of your friends agree with you.