Barmy Army's Billy Cooper

Cricket-loving trumpet player Billy Cooper talks cricket

This is your first time in Abu Dhabi, what do you think of it?
I really like it here, I am so suprised at how cool the weather is. We’ve just been in Dubai and I really liked it there too. Dubai is so spread out and such a busy, hectic place. Abu Dhabi seems more relaxed and has more of a city centre.

What is is like to be a part of the Barmy Army?
Well it’s kind of a dream job for me, I have always been into cricket from a very young age so to be able to travel all the world to support England is pretty amazing. It is also really nice to get out of the UK to travel to places like the UAE or Australia where the weather is so amazing.

How did you become involved?
I’ve always played the trumpet and I went to watch England play in the West Indies years ago, I was out and about and left the trumpet in a taxi. I then saw someone at the game with my trumpet and went up and told them that it was mine. They then said ‘well come on then prove that it is yours and play something for us’ so I did and they were really impressed and that’s how it all started. The rest is history.

You must be a committed fan – what do you love so much about it?
I guess I just love the lifestyle of it all. We get to travel so much all around the world supporting our team and it really is just so much fun. I’ve been to places that I would never have normally gotten the chance to go to so I consider myself very lucky and I know that I have a really great job. You do have to be commited but I guess that’s what it is all about and really, I can’t complain.

Do you get into strife with the other fans or is the sledging all in good fun?
I think it is all in good fun, I mean that’s what it is all about really and most of the fans are great and we just enjoy a bit of good old banter. I really love going to Australia as I think we are the most competitive with them and it is the most fun. Some of the stadiums in Australia such as The Gabba and The SCG have cracked down on fans being out of control in the last few years which I think is a bit of a shame but the banter is still really fun.

Have you met the England team and do you have a favourite player?
Yes, I have been lucky enough to meet all of them and they are really great. They’re a real team and they love all of the support that we give them. It’s hard for me to pick a favourite but I would say that I am a big fan of Matt Prior.

Apart from supporting the team in England where is your favourite place to travel to watch the games?
We’ve got Sri Lanka coming up and it’s always great but I would have to say that the MCG in Australia on Boxing Day is my all-time favourite. It is a must-do for cricket fans and it really is the best atmosphere.
Pakistan v England is currently being played until February 27 at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Tickets are from Dhs20 and Dhs100.

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