Ian Baker - Weak pound could cost England
02 Nov 2010 - 13:04:05
The Barmy Army used to sing: "We've got three dollars to the pound." But they won't be singing anymore as it is now AUS$1.60 to the pound - and that is worrying news for England supporters.
For years, their fans have supported them in numbers and really spurred them on, despite their team being woefully below Australia's standard.This time - when they have a genuine chance of Ashes success - many of their loyal fans will be at home because they cannot afford.
I'm reliably informed that a pint in Perth costs £6 in English money at the moment.Meanwhile, hotel rooms in Melbourne over Christmas cost at least £60 a night.And with a credit crunch on, Australia's Fanatics may therefore dominate in the stands.
My first Ashes experience was on the 2002-03 tour. I arrived in Melbourne in time for day four when England were getting well beaten.Out of a crowd of around 10,000, there were 9,000 visiting fans.And with England four down at Sydney, their fans made up 16,000 of the 42,000 capacity crowd on the first day of the SCG.
Those 16,000 celebrated a consolation win as if the Ashes had been won so goodness knows what the scenes will be like if England can triumph this time.Even more went four years later but the dream holiday turned into nightmare with Australia reclaiming the Ashes by the time many had arrived in Melbourne for a 16 degrees Christmas Day.
Nevertheless, the enthusiasm and support for any England team anywhere in the world is second to none. Wherever the national team, you can guarantee there will be followers.
It is a quintessential English pastime. The England cricket team are very lucky to have such great support but may well be disappointed with the numbers this time because of the reasons above.That said, there should still be a good few thousand present throughout the five Tests.
A lot has been mentioned about how support can help sporting teams and in a tight series that little bit of extra encouragement and enthusiasm may make all the difference.
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