Amber Barrett says she feels like “one of the luckiest people in the world” right now as she continues to embrace life as a full-time footballer at FC Koln in Germany.
The 25-year-old made the move from Peamount United in June 2019. In many ways, she’s been unlucky.
Her form has been consistently good, but despite Barrett shining for her new club they could not avoid the drop from the Frauen-Bundesliga last May. At the same time there was the small matter of a global pandemic to contend with.
Barrett is aiming to fire FC Koln back to the top flight when league action resumes on 21 March and though the pandemic has prevented her from really experiencing what the city of Cologne has to offer, the Republic of Ireland attacker is not complaining.
Having also played inter-county football for Donegal, Barrett has sympathy for the GAA stars who aren’t even allowed to train right now since the games are not covered under the current Level 5 exemptions for elite sports in Ireland. She’s counting her blessings.
“I’ve been very lucky,” she said at the launch of the Spar FAI School Zone, a new digital learning initiative for teachers and parents.
“I’ve been able to train and play and I know how much of an outlet it’s been for me. I know when I compare the period last year doing the lockdown in Germany with no training to doing it with training, how mentally it’s so beneficial.
“The elite status, the way it’s been in Ireland, has at times been confusing in terms of who gets it and who doesn’t get it. I think it’s your own perception about it in terms of what exactly is elite but I know from playing county for the amount of time I did that those girls are amateur, yes, but they are elite athletes.
“They are dedicated day in day out to making themselves available for selection and to prepare.”
Having fallen painfully short in the Euros qualifiers, Barrett said Pauw’s commitment was exactly the news they all needed.
“It certainly was a boost for us. Speaking to Vera, she said straight away that she always had it in her heart to make the decision to say on. For us going forward its great for us to have that familiarity of the coach and her back-room team as well. It’s definitely going to bring us from strength to strength going into the next campaign.
“We just have to use every little bit of hardship and every disappointment and bring that into the next campaign. I think most of the girls would agree the last campaign was the most disappointing that we’ve had over the lats number of years. We started off so well and were in such a good position.
“One of the first things Vera said to us after the Germany game was, ‘remember this feeling, this is not going to happen to us again’. Having that message is really important going forward.”
Barrett has often been edged out of the national side by Rianna Jarrett, Pauw’s preferred attacking focal point. The pair have both benefited from moving to professional set-ups having first excelled in the Women’s National League and Barrett was honest in her assessment of where she is right now in terms of her development.
“The fact of the matter is, probably for the majority of the campaign Rianna was training better than I was. To get in to the starting 11 for the international team is a much more difficult task than getting into a club team. The window you’re a training is so small. It’s such a short opportunity to get in.
“I always speak with Vera and ask her what I need to do. She’s always very clear with everybody, she informs them what they can work on and improve on. I just have to be better. It’s something I’m always working towards.
“Looking at Rianna and seeing how much work she puts in, it’s absolutely brilliant to see her doing so well. For Ireland when Rianna is playing well the likelihood is we’re going to win games because she’s going to put the ball in the net.”
As for life in Germany, Barrett is appreciating the little things.
“The biggest thing for me is the public transport arrives on time!” she laughed.
“In Ireland it never happens. When the bus is at half ten, you have to be there before half ten or you won’t be getting on it. There’s still a lockdown here but they have started to ease things.
“I haven’t really experienced the full Cologne experience because everything was cut short last year. I’m hoping now when things relax over the next few months I can get to enjoy that side of it as well.
“The Germans are extremely efficient in want they do, there always seems to be a clear plan. When I speak to my parents about home, I think it’s easier here in terms of a lockdown that it is back home.
“I’m with Cologne until the end of the season. There’s still a part of me that wants to get back to the [top flight], that’s the goal for the team. I’m not sitting here saying I want to leave and I’m not sitting here saying I’m definitely going to stay because I don’t know. Those are conversations for the next few months.
“I’m very lucky that there’s players on my team who’ve won the Champions League with Frankfurt, they’ve won German leagues, the German cup. Seeing how put themselves about in training, how they behave, how they act, the little extra bits they do, it’s made me aware of things I need to get better at.
“The fitness levels here are elite. You’re running and running and running. Being exposed to that level of training helps when you go into games. You’re prepared.”
It was wonderful to see Chloe Peplow back on the grass at the weekend as Tottenham Hotspur played Everton in the WSL.
So unlucky five-months ago picking up an injury after a challenge in the North London Derby against Arsenal, Chloe has been disciplined and stealth like in her return which has seen a change of manager at the Spurs in Rehanne Skinner.
We hope that Chloe see’s more minutes against her old club Brighton and Hove Albion at the weekend.
We are thrilled to re-issue the classic dance track from the Manchester Hacienda era from Jez Williams, guitarist with the Manchester band Doves.
The recording was a one-off under the guise of Deviation and the catalogue number was GOOD12.
The single was released was on both 12″ and CD.
Jez recorded the track at Fon Studios in Sheffield, and we have recently seen white label copies selling for over £100 in the collectors marketplace. The 12″ issue regular sells for upwards of £25.
Jez would also release dance records under the moniker of Sub Sub with bandmates from Doves, on Robs Records, the label of Rob Gretton the former Joy Division and New Order manager, and good pal of our very own Steve Harrison.
Great memories of releasing the record in a busy period for the record label, and wonderful to make the track available again for fans of Jez and the band.
George Sykes-Kenworthy is certainly enjoying the challenge that comes with the increased intensity at PL2 level with Derby County following his summer move from Bradford City
Recent game time has included appearances for the U23s against Burnley, England U19 at St Georges Park and Birmingham City where George kept an all-important clean-sheet
Derby currently sit at the top of the PL2 League One ahead of Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool with a return to action following the international break on Friday 27th November evening away against Arsenal
Thanks for the continued support from AB1 Gloves and Umbro Boots and Livvi at DCFC for the official photographs…
Amber studied at Maynooth University whilst progressing her football with Peamont United where she was the WNL leading goal-scorer and Player-of-the-Year in her final season.
Amber continues along the same pathway with 4 goals in 4 Bundesliga games this season…
Former Ireland coach Colin Bell assisted with her progression from the GAA into WNL football to the Irish national side and then to the Bundesliga…
Amber has progressed well with her understanding of the German language, since arriving in Cologne…
After a recent break in the league due to the pandemic… Amber returns to international football for the Republic of Ireland against Germany on 1st December with FC Koln returning to action against TSG Hoffenheim on 6th December…