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  Friday, 1 November, 2002, 08:26 GMT
Dreams of English glory
Phil Long - BBC Sport Online's man with the Barmy Army

Think about it and you know it makes sense.

Tell the boss you're taking five months off work (call it a sabbatical).

Book a round-the-world air ticket and by the end of March you could be back at home telling anyone who'll listen: "I was there".

You saw England regain the Ashes and win the Cricket World Cup.


The healthy exchange rate means that watching a lot of international cricket doesn't break the bank
OK, so come March you might also be trying to forget how you saw them humiliated 5-0 in Australia and lose six out of six in South Africa.

But it's the dream of glory, however remote, that is inspiring Barmy Army members new and old to head on the road this winter.

And what a winter it is.

Normally the battle for the Ashes or the World Cup in one English winter would be more than enough to whet the appetite.

But both? Heaven.

All over the country the last 12-hour nightshifts are being clocked off and the final customers are being served.

England fans
England fans will flock to Australia
In Leicester the banking world has been thrown into turmoil as the last pieces of paper have been pushed from one side of my desk to the other for the last time in six months.

However, with England not returning from New Zealand until the first week in April this year this has been a hard tour to save for.

Not only has the six months to save those pennies been incredibly short but the winter's itinerary itself is both long and expensive.

Mind you, where there's a will there's a way.

Hospitality at the best hotel in Leicester (Prop: Mr and Mrs Long) has made a big difference.

And a tour diet consisting entirely of noodles on toast should mean there is just enough in the back pocket for the whole winter.

The costs are also kept down by the realistic ticket prices to games overseas.

Steve Waugh with the World Cup trophy
Can Nasser be next to lift the World Cup?
And the healthy exchange rate means that watching a lot of international cricket doesn't break the bank like it would over here.

It's not just me who's getting excited about the winter that lies ahead.

For months now the Barmy Army website forum has been buzzing with Q's and A's ranging from the sensible:

  • How much does a Brisbane five-day pass cost?

    To the utterly ridiculous:

  • Is it possible to cycle from Adelaide to Perth?

    To the completely inane:

  • Is there a venue to watch opera in Sydney?

    Tour veterans and virgins alike have been pooling their collective knowledge in preparation for the Ashes battle ahead.

    So that's it. The rucksack's packed, the visa's in the passport, the wallet's in the back pocket.

    Now, did I tell you about the time I saw England win the Ashes and the World Cup?


    You can contact Phil on his winter adventure by emailing:
    a_longwayfromhome@hotmail.com

  • All the news ahead of the 2002/03 Ashes tour

    Tour in review

    Test series

    Clickable guides

    Background

    Play the game
    See also:

    04 Apr 02 | England in NZ 2002
    Internet links:


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