Monday, August 07, 2006


On Sunday, Test Match Special had a series of distressed e-mails from readers who had found themselves seated in the West Stand at Headingley, had discovered that it was neither quiet nor sober, and had come over all Feedback about it.

They followed up by sending a reporter into the stand to interview several families and peaceable spectators -- all of whom said they loved it -- and a couple of pissed men in fancy dress, who expressed an unsurprising enthusiasm for dressing up and getting pissed. Then back to the commentary box, where Jonathan Agnew declared in his most serious voice that both lovers and haters of the stand would now be more convinced.

The next morning’s Guardian over-by-over also discussed the issue. It produced somewhat different findings. First this:

"I saw my first live Test match yesterday and really enjoyed the day," writes Nicky Glover. "The atmosphere was fantastic and I was impressed with the good atmosphere between the English and Pakistan supporters - there was the occasional dodgy chorus of 'Stand up if you wear a dress' which I couldn't help chuckling at - I was just wondering if the Pakistan supporters who were there thought this was a bit of fun/ good natured banter or if they found this offensive?" Well?

Then this:

"I'm Pakistani and was up at the match on Saturday, great day out," says Sayed ZA Shah. "Three of us were the only Pakistanis in the whole West Stand, but the fight between Hulk Hogan, Mr T, the Hulk and David Hasselhoff was one of the finest moments of comic genius I have ever witnessed. Fancy dress day well worth checking out at a Test match."

Lots to be said for both outlets, obviously, but which would you rather have ten pints with?

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