jueves, 30 de diciembre de 2010

The Ashes 2010: The Barmy Army's time has come at last - Telegraph.co.uk

With their bedraggled flags, their football colours, and their endless, vuvuzela-like bawling, the Barmies have not always been to everyone's taste – my colleague Matthew Norman chose only this week to attack them in this paper. Yet, even he must have put aside his distaste at their evident pleasure. Chaps of undistinguished dentistry and ruddy complexion queued up to tell the cameras that this was a moment they never expected to see. One man had followed England's defeats for more than 20 years, and wasn't quite sure what to do now. Though you suspect alcohol might have been involved.

This is the glorious point of the Barmies – indeed, of this nation more generally. Lovely as triumph might be, the purpose is not the pursuit of winning. The blokes pinking up in the Victoria sun represented a strain of sporting support that is gloriously, wonderfully and uniquely British.

Only among our fans is there such stubborn insistence on maintaining loyalty in the face of defeat. Only our followers exhibit such levels of wilful masochism. It was evident throughout the World Cup in South Africa, where English football supporters – once the game's hooligan pariahs – astonished the hosts with their good-natured backing of a team that was so supine in its uselessness it would have drained the resolve of Hercules.

No one else does it like this. In Italy, Argentina, Brazil they turn on their failed sportsmen in an instant. Even in Melbourne, the heartland of a country largely defined by its sporting prowess, the stands drained of home support the moment things started to turn against the Aussies. For the Barmies, it would have been the time to up the volume.

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