Barmy Army cheer on England cricketers as they lose first Ashes Test

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Former England cricketer Ryan Sidebottom has hailed the support of the Barmy Army as they cheered the nation’s players on before the team lost the first Ashes Test.

The ex-player said while things have “not gone to plan so far” in Australia, there is still hope for the rest of the series, and put his faith in the “absolutely brilliant” England captain Joe Root.

Fans were out in force and in full voice as they gathered at a central London pub on Friday night into the early hours of Saturday to watch their sporting heroes.

Sidebottom described the atmosphere as “rocking” at the Greenwood Sports Pub and Kitchen in Victoria.

He told the PA news agency: “The Barmy Army are absolutely immense, I mean when I played, and now they support us around the world.

“And it means a great deal, you know, the support that we do get is phenomenal.”

But some fans were seen holding their heads in their hands as England headed towards defeat.

The cricketer said while things have not worked in England’s favour so far, there is still time for it to turn around.

He said: “It’s not just about this Test match, it’s five tests and it’s gonna be difficult. Australia is a tough place to play. But we have an opportunity to do something special. And Joe Root and his team, it’s not gone to plan so far but you never know.”

Members of the Barmy Army at Greenwood’s sports bar
Members of the Barmy Army at Greenwood’s sports bar (James Manning/PA)

Sidebottom said the late-night support “shows what cricket means to the public and the Barmy Army”, and recalled how knowing fans are behind you “gives you that extra 5, 10%” as a player.

“For me to be here, to be part of the Barmy Army is wonderful, supporting the team and getting behind England as best they can, even though they’re not there, they’re there in spirit.”

He added: “As England players it does mean a lot.”

England suffered a nine-wicket loss in the first Test at The Gabba.

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