It’s been a fantastic, if not very unusual, summer of cricket, and England look set to wrap it up with victory against the Aussies – with the ODI series level at 1-1 ahead of tomorrow’s decider.

The white-ball series have been hugely entertaining and the perfect way to cap off the summer but there’s no doubt that the 2021/22 Ashes is in the back of everyone’s mind.

Joe Root’s men head Down Under in little more than a year’s time and we’ll be there with them. If you’re considering joining us for that, make sure to sign up with Barmy Travel to ensure you’re first to get all the dates and itineraries.

As excitement builds for that series, our co-founder Paul Burnham has been taking us through the best Barmy Army Ashes memories.

Paul has been on every Ashes tour since the Barmy Army were born there in 1994/95 and he’s taken us through Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth so far. This week, the focus is on Melbourne…

Melbourne

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“Melbourne is an amazing city,” notes Paul. “All of the Barmy Army venues we have, three or four of them, are in the city and you can walk to the MCG.

“In Melbourne, you want to walk as well. It’s fantastic seeing the MCG in the distance as you walk to it.

“It’s particularly exciting on Boxing Day when you’ve got 90,000 Aussies heading to the main event of the year – the Boxing Day Test.”

Victory in 2010/11…

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“It has to be the Boxing Day 2010/11 Test match when we won. We won the Ashes for the first time there since 1986/87.

“To win in Melbourne having won the Ashes in 2009 in England meant that we were 2-1 and we might lose in Sydney but we’ve still got the Ashes, so they came home to England in Melbourne.

“Undoubtedly, that day one of Boxing Day where we bowled them out and then scored more runs than them for no wickets.

“Of course, other than making an awful lot of noise and the Australian fans going home, it was the birth of the Mitchell Johnson song. He bowls to the left, he bowls the right, that Mitchell Johnson, his bowling is shite.

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“It’s a famous Barmy Army song and it was that day that it really took off. It had been sung in England a little bit in the previous Ashes in 2009 but this was when it came. This was when it was really ‘let’s get stuck into Mitchell Johnson’. He’d just won them the Test match in Perth by bowling us out and drawing the series to 1-1.

“We felt let’s target him. We were advised that if we target him, he might struggle a bit and he certainly did. He did bowl to the left and the right and the Barmy Army’s singing was just second to none.

“It was an absolute thrashing and the Barmy Army dominated. Mitchell Johnson was like Mark Waugh all those years previous, which is I guess what you’re trying to do in the nicest possible way.

“Put some pressure on them but without the blatant abuse that you might get on a football ground, cricket enables you to do it in a fun way.”

That song became a bit of a legendary one for the Barmy Army and this is the result of it when he came out to bat later on that tour in Sydney…

Christmas at the Crown Casino

“There’s another part of that special victory in Melbourne in 2010/11 as well. We’d arrived confident despite defeat in Perth and nearly 1,000 of us got together at the Crown Casino in Melbourne to have Christmas lunch.

“We had the dinner with the usual theatricals from Billy the Trumpet – who plays his own adaptions of Christmas songs and carols. We found out that the Aussie team were having Christmas lunch in the room next to us.

“As the day went on, the Aussies had to keep walking past our room to get to the toilets. Clearly, as the lunch went on, the noise got louder and louder.

“Led by Billy the Trumpet there was lots of singing and of course the Aussies got a taste of all the tunes they were going to hear in full voice the next day. That would’ve got into their subconscious a bit.

“It was amazing to be in the same venue that they were having their Christmas lunch at and even better that they had to walk past us and get a preview of what was to come for them.

“That was a real buzz for everybody and set us off on the right mood for that Boxing Day, which as we know was just an amazing day.”

The Christmas lunch has been at the Crown Casino on every tour since and looks set to be at the venue in 2021/22 as well. Make sure to register your interest with Barmy Travel to ensure you can book your place… 

Songs

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One of the high points of that Test and having the Aussies under the pump from early on was that it allowed us to roll our full repertoire, some of which work a lot better when we’re on top. 

The songs were endless and the full repertoire were sung on that trip because of the victory. Hopefully, we get to do the same this time around!

If your considering coming on the upcoming tour, make sure you learn all the songs so you can get involved!