Brisbane — England’s Barmy Army have moved on from the devastation of their last Ashes tour Down Under, predicting a victory for the visitors, with the vociferous choir setting their sights on Aussie spinner Nathan Lyon.
Chanting was under way and the beer flowing at a packed Pig n Whistle pub on the Brisbane river on Wednesday night, with the supporter group in their hundreds full of optimism on the eve of the Ashes series.
"There’s buzzing in the camp, just like the England camp I assume," Barmy Army operations director Chris Millard said. "The pubs are packed… and we are pretty buzzing for a five-nil victory to England."
A trumpeter led the chorus for the raucous mob, with chants to the backing of English classics, including the Beatles’ well-known Yellow Submarine and Hey Jude.
Millard, who is expecting about 600 people to join the Barmy Army for day one of the first Test at the Gabba on Thursday, said they have prepared songs to taunt Australian captain Steve Smith and opener David Warner.
But a new villain has emerged since the support group touched down in Australia this week.
"Nathan Lyon — he’s come out in the past few days," Millard said, referring to the spinner’s comments this week about "ending careers" in the series.
"He’s come out of nowhere, abusing Matty Prior. The boys have been practising his songs for a couple of days now and we are going to get into him," said a belligerent Millard.
Lyon told reporters on Tuesday that many in the England squad remain shaken by left-armer Mitchell Johnson’s assault four years ago.
But supporters at the Pig n Whistle have moved on from the crushing defeat of the 2013-14 series in which the Aussies took the Ashes in a 5-0 whitewash, leaving the English team in disarray.
"I’m not sure we are worried about Nathan Lyon," Barmy Army’s George Gallantree said.
"He can say what he likes. Let’s see what he says at the end of the series."
The Gabba holds ghosts for most visitors, with the Australians not having lost any Test match there since November 1988.