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Fanatics ready for open warfare

Daily Telegraph Saturday, December 12, 1998

By John Thirsk

Australian tennis has its own version of the English “Barmy Army” cricket cheer squad.

They are The Fanatics, a 50 strong group ready for battle at the Australian Open next month.

For so long, Melbourne Park has heard the chants of the well organised Swedish contingent.

Now it’s war face painting time with the green and gold Aussies against the blue and gold. Swedes and any other nation which wants to chant a war cry, wave a flag, blare a trumpet or beat a drum.

Led by Warren Livingstone and his Global Sporting Edge organisation, The Fanatics will wear special T-shirts saying “One slam wonder – You can’t be serious” in Melbourne.

You can bet that slogan will be like a red rag to a bull for Channel 7 commentator John McEnroe, who said Patrick Rafter’s first US Open title last year was a one-off victory.

“The Aussie Open will be massive, we are very well organised, and its going to be very local”, Livingstone promised.

“While Tennis Australia give us support at the Davis Cup and Fed Cup, we are on our own at Melbourne Park, because it can’t be seen that TA is involved in any way with help to a bi-partisan group.

“Thanks to John Newcombe, he has assisted the group helping to get an apartment, stadium tickets, air fares and food for the nucleus of our group.

“We started with 10 in the group, but we have our own Internet web site and have recruited round Australia.

“We want the whole crowd involved at Melbourne Park singing, dancing and trumpets blaring.”

By Allan Murphy

The Sunrasia Daily, April 7th, 1998

They came and they went, and didn’t they leave a lasting impression on Mildura.

No, it wasn’t the Australian and Zimbabwe Davis Cup players, it was a group of 42 Sydneysiders calling themselves The Fanatics – the newly formed official Tennis Australia fan club.

They left Sydney early Thursday morning for the 15-hour bus trip to support the Australia’s Davis Cup quest and will probably wake up some time today back in the Harbor City wondering where the past four days went.

The group has been in non-stop party mode since hitting the outskirts of Sydney en route to Mildura.

They wouldn’t have even been let into the foyer at any opera performance, or been allowed into an art exhibition, for instance, but they were the life of Mildura’s Davis Cup party over the weekend.

The group, with faces painted green and gold, had the crows of about 5000 in the palm of their hands for almost the entire three days of competition, which ended yesterday.

They were even able to involve members of the Australian team watching from the sidelines and almost commanded attention during any ceremony.

Choruses of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” echoed throughout centre court over the three days, but the 42 members of the “team” were smarter than that.

“The Woodies, Woody, Woody yum, yum” they called, playing on the television series of years ago “The Goodies”.

An then there was the: “I’d love to have a beer with Patrick (Rafter), I’d love to have a beer with Pat…”, the old favourite “If you love the Woodies clap your hands (clap clap)”; and even “If you love John Newcombe grow a mo”.

Their repertoire, obviously practiced during more sobering times, seemed endless, as was their entertainment value.

They were even kind enough to offer some advice to officiating lines-people and even match referee David Crymble. However, it didn’t appear that much of it was taken on board.

The Fanatics concept was the brainchild of Warren Livingstone in conjunction with Australian Davis Cup captain John Newcombe.

Livingstone was among the vocal group of supporters at the 1997 U.S. Open who then travelled to Washington DC to cheer on the Aussies at the Davis Cup semi-final against the United States.

The colorful squad members are die-hard tennis enthusiasts and general fans of all that is Australian.
The Fanatics assembled at the tennis club early each morning of the tie in preparation for cheir chants, cries and all-round enthusiasm.

And, if their impact on Mildura is anything to go by, Brisbane beware!
Mon 09/09/2002 Warren Livingstone 391 views

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