Investec Ashes 2013

Trent Bridge confirms ban on Billy's trumpet

George Dobell and David Hopps

July 9, 2013

Comments: 31 | Text size: A | A

Billy Cooper, the Barmy Army trumpeter, with Chacha, the Pakistan cheerleader, Pakistan v England, 2nd Test, Abu Dhabi, 4th day, January 28, 2012
Billy Cooper, complete with trumpet, failed to save England from a Test series defeat against Pakistan in the Middle East in 2012. © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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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

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by lillee4PM on (July 10, 2013, 7:43 GMT)

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

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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!!

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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?

Posted by 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?

Posted by 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 :)

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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! :-)

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