Nothing quite beats the excitement of the first Test. The anticipation has been building steadily since that fantastic victory at the Oval last year, but for the Barmy Army, who follow England everywhere, this is the ultimate trip.
Whilst great to win at home, the biggest prize is to win on Australian soil. Many England supporters now in Australia may not even have been born when we last won Down Under, in 1986/7, but this time we have a great chance to make history, so we highly recommend you do whatever you can to join the Barmy Army at some stage to watch the Ashes.
Optimism is higher than ever before. Iconic Aussies like Warne, McGrath, Langer, Hayden and Gilchrist have now retired. And then of course we have their leader, Ricky Ponting, a man who has already lost the Ashes twice. Things always come in three’s Ricky!
Plus, England are on a purple run of form, have the world’s finest spinner in Graeme Swann and an awesome pace attack. We’re now higher up the world rankings than our biggest rivals, so bring it on!
Whatever happens on the pitch, the Barmy Army really come into their element off the pitch.
We have organised a huge range of Barmy Army HQs and events throughout the tour. Those HQs are dead set to become the major party venues in each city, with every fan being welcome. Whether travelling independently or in a group, this is the best possible way to mingle with fellow supporters and to get into the party atmosphere straight away.
The Adelaide Oval
2nd Test: Friday 3 – Tuesday 7 December
Where to sit: The beauty of the Adelaide Oval is that it still retains a huge grass bank. As the tickets are general admission it is the only Test where we can all group together from day one. The Barmy Army will be congregated in general admission under the scoreboard.
Where to drink: PJ O’Brien’s, on East Terrace. An old-fashioned and stylish pub with a brilliant balcony, which rocks every night to the Barmy Army anthems.
Lunchtime: At lunchtime don’t miss out on the short walk across the park to The Cathedral Hotel. A traditional Aussie boozer that always goes the extra mile to welcome the Army and provide a decent BBQ as well as the strong beers that sadly the grounds no longer serve.
Extra tips: Look out for the free PJs buses that go from the Adelaide Oval to PJs at the end of each day’s play. They are really popular and perfect for carrying on the party.
Anything else? The quietest venue but also the home of the Barmy Army. It was the scene of a famous victory which saw us lead the singing from the England dressing room balcony. It also heralded our first party at Lord Raglans. The pub was already rammed with celebrating fans when the team turned up!
3rd Test: Thursday 16 – Monday 20 December
Where to sit: The Barmy Army will be sat in Block 13.
Where to drink: Whenever you get to Perth there’s only one place to head and that’s theLucky Shag Bar at the Barrack Street Jetty. Never can there have been a more appropriate name for a Barmy Army HQ! It was picked up by David Lloyd from Sky TV and Bumble himself frequented the Shag more than once on the last tour. It is an awesome place to drink. Set on the river, the pub has been extended since we were last there and the atmosphere here is as good here as anywhere on tour. Make sure you pick up one of our special Barmy Army souvenir shirts from here… “We outrank, outsang and out shagged the Aussies!”
Anything else? There’s a nine-day gap between the end of the Adelaide and the start of the Perth Test. Either head straight to Perth or take your time crossing the Nullarbor. Taking the Indian Pacific train is a great option. Others use the time to check out the wineries of either SA or WA (never a bad idea).
1st Test: Thursday 25 – Monday 29 November
Where to sit: The Barmy Army will all be sat in Stand S31.
Where to drink: The Pig and Whistle in Eagle Street, Riverside. It’s a great venue and well known for being the most popular English pub in town. The pub will be absolutely rocking the night before the first day and it’s pretty much guaranteed that there will be many sore heads the following morning, but with a 10am start the adrenalin kicks in and the tour is well and truly underway. Let’s hope we don’t sober up with a repeat of Harmison’s wide in 2006 and the catastrophic 5-0 defeat.
Lunchtime: It’s always been a Barmy Army tradition to exit the ground and find a local pub. Follow Bill The Trumpet and Jimmy Saville about 400m to The Chalk Hotel in Stanley Street. Quite simply it is a brilliant venue and our favourite lunch destination on the cricket circuit. Great food and beers and a huge outdoor beer garden. Expect a huge party to kick off here if we leave the Gabba undefeated. Or better still, 1-0 up!
4th Test: Sunday 26 – Thursday 30 December
Where to sit: The Barmy Army will be sat in M15 of the Great Southern Stand.
Where to drink: We have two HQs in Melbourne, both of which are run by our friends at PJ O’Briens. Most of us start at PJs in the Southbank Arts and Leisure Precinct. The pub has a great range of foods and beers. PJs will again lay on a number of free double decker buses from the MCG. The second base is one of the top sports bars in town, The Turf Bar on Queen Street in the City.
Christmas party: We have gone out on a limb for the first time ever and booked the very best venue in Melbourne, the Palladium at the magnificent Crown Casino. It has hosted the Aussie cricket team Christmas luncheon for many years. We will be led by Bill the Trumpet in a rendition of traditional carols and Barmy Army anthems, before sitting down to a two-course traditional dinner and three hours of free booze. Capacity is 600 and at the time of writing only 250 tickets are left so book now to avoid disappointment. Tickets are $125 and are only available from www.barmyarmy.com/
5th Test: Monday 3 – Friday 7 January
Where to sit: The Army will be in Bay 11.
Where to drink: We will be based at the Paragon throughout the week. The night before the final Test will be a huge meeting point and on day three we will be organising our biggest fundraising event of the tour. The Barmy Army are committed to supporting the McGrath Foundation, set up in memory of Glenn’s English wife Jane, who died from breast cancer. We are producing our own Barmy Army pink shirt and this will only be available from the Paragon and the ground. Our target is to raise $50,000.
New Year’s Eve: We have taken over our Barmy Army HQ, The Paragon Hotel, in Circular Quay and they have booked a top U2 cover band for the evening. Set amongst the heart of the fireworks, this should be a party never to forget. Tickets are only $32.50 and are available exclusively through www.barmyarmy.com/
End of tour party: We will be going out in style whether we win, lose or draw. We are heading to all five floors of the Bristol Arms Retro hotel in Sussex Street on the final night of the Test. It will be pay on the door, tickets are only $20.
Western Australia v England. Friday 5 – Sunday 7 November
South Australia v England. Thursday 11 – Saturday 13 November
Australia A v England. Wednesday 17 – Saturday 20 November
1st Test: The Gabba, Brisbane. Thursday 25 – Monday 29 November
2nd Test: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide. Friday 3 – Tuesday 7 December
Victoria v England. Friday 10 – Sunday 12 December
3rd Test: WACA, Perth. Thursday 16 – Monday 20 December
4th Test: MCG, Melbourne. Sunday 26 – Thursday 30 December
5th Test: SCG, Sydney. Monday 3 – Friday 7 January
PMs XI v England. Monday 10 January
Twenty20: Australia v England (Adelaide) Wednesday 12 January
Twenty20: Australia v England (Melbourne) Friday 14 January
ODI: Australia v England (Melbourne) Sunday 16 January
ODI: Australia v England (Hobart) Friday 21 January
ODI: Australia v England (Sydney) Sunday 23 January
ODI: Australia v England (Adelaide) Wednesday 26 January
ODI: Australia v England (Brisbane) Sunday 30 January
ODI: Australia v England (Sydney) Wednesday 2 February
ODI: Australia v England (Perth) Sunday 6 February