Barmy Army enthusiasts - a survival guide

(as seen on Stuff)

What exactly is a Barmy Army enthusiast?.

Firstly, and most importantly, they are English. They are not Irish. They are not Scottish. They are not Welsh. (and that's the order to say it - England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales - you listen to a Pom)

I know this can be quite difficult for non-UK type people that regularly mistaken "England" for the "UK". The times I've had to quietly state, "Britain", to a, "I'm off to England on my OE". Of course "England" might actually be correct for those that don't get out of London (capital of England and Britain - get your head around that).

I digress.

The Barmy Army will be English fans. Don't be sucked into the Clive Woodward, "We're all one family now"* attitude. It might be surreptitious to say such airy-fairy stuff at press conferences and I suspect the squad will be trying to think as non-English/Irish/Scots/Welsh but scratch the surface and out will come the true colours (white, green, blue or red). From all 45 (FORTY-FIVE) potential players - Christ-on-the-touchline, they're only playing 11 games!

And the fans don't hold press conferences so they can be as partisan as they like, on 'em.

The Barmy Army has grown from the oh-so-terribly English game of cricket. Before this tour I wasn't even aware that the Barmy Army had moved onto other games and most certainly not the game of games. To me they'll always be cricket fans at which I thoroughly enjoy their jolly, cheeky chappy antics at the one-dayers.

To summarise: Barmy Army enthusiast = English fan.

And that paves the way for me, a Welshman (with a tad English, alright half but don't go on about it) to paint a stereotypical picture of your typical Barmy Army enthusiast (BAe). I will give you the tell-tale signs you're in the presence of one, what and what not to do and, most importantly (according to the NZRU) how to extract as much Johnny-Foreigner money from their wallets.

What they look like
Whilst there won't be one, all encompassing look to a BAe they will incorporate at least a few of the following (male and female of the species):

How they will act
Again, not everyone will be the same all the time but the more they drink the more they will gravitate towards these behaviours:
  • Be in the company of 3 or more similar people (they are most definitely a pack breed)
  • Typical tourist with maps and looking lost (enjoy the moment)
  • Spotting and noting where the pubs are
  • Loud when there's any British sport on TV
  • Superior to the rest of the world - they have a world order of:
    1: Brits (English, Scots, Welsh, Irish)
    2: Aussies/Kiwis
    3: Yanks (natives of USA - depends upon their view of recent wars)
    4: South Africa
    5: Europeans (exl French and Germans)
    6: India/SE Asia
    7: Russia/China
    8: Africa/South America
    9: France
    10: Germany
    '9' and '10' are interchangeable depending upon what the Sun headline is for the day.
  • Like they own the place
  • Happy and very keen to have a party (to which you are definitely invited)

Key phrases emanating from your standard BAe
They'll have certain phrases, some of which will be repeated over and over and over ...
  • "We used to own this place"
  • "Huh? What? Speak English!" - especially when they don't understand your particular 'ickceent' and Kiwi phrases.
  • "'Fush and chups'. At least you don't sound as bad as Aussies!"
  • "... colonials ..." - the word will be used as often as possible
  • "All Blacks are has-beens"
  • "What!? I have to go outside to smoke??"
  • "Johnny Wilkinson is the best rugby player ever"
  • "You were good when nobody else played the game but now we do you're crap"
  • "We are the World Champions" - a dead give-away that the BAe is truly English. Expect this a lot when they lose the test series.
  • "Bloody hell it's cold"
  • "Where's Hobbiton then?"
  • "Anyone know the time in the UK?" - they're 11 hours behind us (7:10pm here is 8:10am there)
  • "What happened to Jonah Lomu" - they'll be genuinely interested in Jonah as he was the face of rugby to the Brits for many years.
  • "Kiwi TV is crap" - the word back from the UK is that they've been on permanent repeat for the past 5 years so don't let this go passed you
  • "... sheep ..." - this, much like 'colonials', will play a large part in the general banter.
  • "Is this it then" - about your town, your pub, your house, your job - anything to which they can compare and contrast with back home
  • Songs - the BAe requires a "hymn sheet" to sing from unlike their fellow Gaelic travelers that have been brought up on singing. Expect songs to emanate spontaneously, be loud and then die very quickly. They will attempt at witty lyrics. They'll probably fail a lot of the time.
  • "Where's the party?"
  • "This isn't real beer. This is all lager which is too cold and too fizzy."

And now, the all important How to Behave when one is caught in the presence of one or more BAe's. Your standard BAe is here to help the Lions win the tests, have a bloody good time and spend their money. The NZRU think they are here for the same reasons but in reverse order.

So, what do to - In the Pub
You are very likely to meet BAe's in the pub as it's quite a central part in British life (as my mates will tell you). The Barmy Army even have some official bars - be aware. When you meet them try and:
  • If you're on your own - go and join in.
  • If you're with others - form an opposing and equally loud team and give 'em hell during the 80 minutes
  • Half time is a good time to shake hands and introduce yaselves - they'll love it
  • Buy each other beers - rounds are sacred, do not miss out on your round
  • Don't get over emotional about the result; act like the players.
  • Give 'em hell about having to smoke outside - ha ha ha
  • Discuss the finer points of how 'x' Lions player (let's say Johnny Wilkinson) was crap and why.
  • After the game show them the cool parts of your town - they'll generally love loud, throbbing places. Live music will go down a storm.

What to do - In a Shopping Situation
You're in town and maybe you've got a BAe to chaperone (they can get quite homesick) or have just bumped into a few and they've asked for your assistance re: gifts and 'a little something for the folks back home'. Here's some key points to remember:
  • Ensure they know they can't buy it at home.
  • Reassure them they're not being ripped off - well, no more than the locals.
  • Remind them about duty free shopping for all their nick-nacks (fluffy Kiwis, sheep T-shirts, pictures of the South Island, LOTR stuff).
  • Make sure they buy it!
  • Don't be surprised when they constantly talk about the awesome service here - it is compared to the UK
  • Explain EFTPOS very very slowly - they'll get it eventually.

What to do - Out and About
If you're out in town at lunchtime or wandering through the mall on a weekend and you see a bunch of BAe's (officially called a "Shout") then the most important thing to remember is to show no fear, they can smell it. Other things:
  • Acknowledge them - give 'em a nod and, "On ya lads/guys/lasses/girls"
  • Know the score of the last game
  • Ask if they have any tickets for sale
  • Ask if they want to buy tickets
  • Generally welcome them into your town/mall and let them tell the folks back home how friendly Kiwis are

And finally, What to do - At the Game
You will probably noticed that the NZRU have done a cracking job on selling the high price tickets to the Lions fans and, due to the general smallness of the stadia, the major colour is red. Do not be put off by this:
  • Wear black - every bit helps
  • Paint the face - it'll put you in the mood
  • Wave those NZ or All Black flags
  • Take those trumpet things along (popular with annoying kids during the Super 12)
  • Sing as loud as you can to the Kiwi songs played over the speakers - I suspect te following will be staple music fodder at any of the matches:
    1: Bliss - Th' Dudes
    2: Why Does Love Does This To Me - Exponents
    3: Loyal - Dave Dobbyn
    4: Not Many - Scribe
    5: Slice Of Heaven - Dave Dobbyn & The Herbs
    6: Ten Guitars - ?
    7: any more ... ?
  • Learn the anthem in BOTH languages. You will stun the Poms and really impress them.
  • Don't attempt the AB haka - let the team do it properly and with passion.
  • Shout, cheer and go wild when the team has done the haka.
  • Cheer every Lions mistake - put the pressure on.
  • Any up-and-unders (a Gary Owen to the the older BAe's) are to be equally shouted for - pressure, pressure, pressure
  • Be magnanimous in victory. They're a long way from home and need to have a good time without too much of a hard time.

In summary, BAe's (English fan) will be loud, in ya face, out for a good time, generally harmless and keen for you to join in the party. I urge you all to rise to the challenge and get out for EVERY game. Let them know where they are.

I trust this survival guide will be of use over the coming month and if you have any suggestions don't hesitate to leave a comment.

AND, copy-and-paste this and send it to ya mates - just make sure you send this Web address as well:


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