Billy Cooper isn't exactly a household name outside the cricket fraternity. Change that though to Billy the Barmy Army Trumpeter, and the name recognition will increase significantly.
Billy was a big hit during England's tour to New Zealand in the summer, and the Barmy Army sang more loudly and more frequently when he played his instrument. Anyone who attended any of the England vs New Zealand test matches can testify as to how Billy and the Army added to the atmosphere at the matches.
Just as Luke writes in his gospel that "A prophet is not welcome in his own town", Billy Cooper is not universally acclaimed. When the first Ashes test begins tonight at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, Billy and his trumpet will not be there; he has been banned by the ground authorities. You can read more about the impasse here.
Billy Cooper himself has received terrific support via social media, and confirmed an hour or so ago that there will be no last-minute reprieve for him:
We think that this is an incredibly short-sighted decision by the Notts CC wallahs. Just as Will Carling famously once described England rugby administrators as the "57 old farts", the Notts authorities have played this incredibly poorly. England wants to start the Ashes on a high, and the Barmy Army is often described as England's 12th Man. But the Notts CC people have neutralised the Army.
This ban is almost as daft as the Labour Party's Man-Ban. We will be watching coverage of the start of play tonight, but without Billy the Trumpet leading the Barmy Army in a rousing version of the wonderful hymn Jerusalem, it just won't be the same.
Chin up Billy; you're welcome in God's Own Country any day.