The Barmy Army are disappointed. They feel unwanted.
‘We are at our best when England have their backs to wall, when they are struggling in the field with bad body language. That’s when we step up,’ says Andy Thompson, their ‘Officer Commanding’ (officially the travel manager of the famous travelling supporters group). ‘We always try to lift the team with our songs and our banter… but they haven’t needed us here, have they?’ he said.
‘It’s been a great performance and now we are off to the Durban Hilton. It’s going to be swamped soon,’ he said as he watched the eighth Proteas wicket go down.
‘Mind you, we can’t make out why they started in Durban. Normally the home teams start in their fortress, like the Wanderers. But then we heard there aren’t any people in Joburg because they are down here… They should have started in Port Elizabeth. We love it there. Billy The Trumpet could be a guest artist with the band there.
‘And we were quite surprised how few local people turned out for this match in Durban,’ he said. ‘Not that England needed extra support from us.’
The Barmy Army, so named because of their undying devotion to a team which has in years gone by struggled to new depths, estimate they will have around 6,000 followers at the Newlands Test. They are setting up headquarters at Ferryman’s Tavern at the Waterfront. You have been warned.
They have been singing a song which starts, ‘One rand to the pound, we get one rand to the pound’… and continues to ‘R22 to the pound, we get R22 to the pound, we are so unbelievably rich.’
‘It’s a song that takes forever because there are so many numbers. It started in Australia when it was three dollars to the pound, but it goes on a bit here, and it is a bit cruel, because we do understand the difficulties of the people here. We are all just cricket supporters in the end.’
And from here? ‘It was actually a good Test match, with good moments for both teams. But it is difficult seeing South Africa come back from here. England look extremely good. I think it will be a good trip.’