Cleethorpes fan is Barmy about supporting the England cricket team
"WE were looking around at each other thinking it's a bit boring – we were all used to losing!"
Cricket fanatic Paul Winslow, from Cleethorpes, has been at the heart of the national side's journey in the last decade – before they climbed to the dizzy heights of being the world's number one Test team.
England may have lost that mantle with defeat to South Africa in August, but Winslow has never followed cricket purely for the glory.
Unexpectedly falling in love with the sport in the '90s, he has become a regular fixture in the notorious Barmy Army – a group of fans that prides itself on loyal, fun and vocal support, even when an England defeat is a near certainty.
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And the many experiences that come with being a globe-trotting cricketing foot-soldier are featured in a new book written by Cleethorpes-born Winslow, who now lives in Australia, called Going Barmy.
He said: "There's a humour about the Barmy Army.
"There's always a positive atmosphere – unlike the negativity you can often get in football matches.
"It's a community. Everyone's welcome. The first time I got involved, I instantly felt part of it."
Although Winslow remembers attending games at Cleethorpes Cricket Club as a youngster, he did not fall in love with the sport until he was older.
"My love of cricket didn't really start until I was in Australia for a year," he said.
"England were in Australia for the '99 Ashes – we went along and had a great time.
"Four years, later, I was travelling again and a friend and I thought we'd go along again.
"That was when we got into it a lot more.
"Two years later, we were in South Africa for the Test series there.
"We fell in love with the camaraderie, the singing and the atmosphere.
"I was hooked and went to everything after that.
"Two of my friends even got together and ended up getting married from it.
"I met people who became some of my best friends too."
Winslow's involvement with the Barmy Army stretches beyond the boundary.
He has represented the group as a freelance writer, edited their magazine, launched their website, and has been the go-to man for media – often representing the Barmy Army as a spokesman on Sky Sports.
His Going Barmy book has already ready received four reviews at Amazon, the online retail website – each one has rated the publication with the maximum five stars.
Winslow says the book isn't just for cricket nuts.
"There's a lot in the book for non-cricketers too," he said. "It covers a lot of our travelling to various countries and the situations we have encountered – such as when we were in Chennai, India, the day after the Mumbai bombings, with soldiers pointing machine guns at us as we made our way to the game!
"Friends always advised me to write a book whenever I told them various anecdotes and tales from my experiences.
"And as a freelance writer, a book is always something I've wanted to do – so I gave it a go.
"I saw it as a good opportunity – there are a lot of misconceptions about the Barmy Army so it's been a chance to set the record straight in some ways."
England's fortunes have dipped severely in the last 12 months. Since becoming the world's number one side last summer, they have lost seven of their last 12 Test matches, the latest defeat being a nine-wicket reverse against India earlier this week.
Winslow said: "To be honest, we were looking around at each other thinking it's a bit boring – we were all used to losing!
"We have certainly had it a lot worse with England in the past.
"The Kevin Pietersen issue (he was dropped in the summer for allegedly sending defamatory text messages to members of the opposing team when England played South Africa, before being reinstated last month) didn't really help anyone.
"But he is still a world-class cricketer and I'd pay to watch him playing above anyone else.
"I don't think recent results have reflected how good a Test side we still are.
"I'm still looking forward to when we give the Aussies a good smashing in the Ashes next year!"
Going Barmy is available in shops now. The recommended retail price for the book is £8.99. You can order the book online at www.sportsbooks.ltd.uk