If you hear a yell of, ‘pass it to Pete!’ while watching Wolves Women in action, your ears aren’t deceiving you. ‘Pete’ is in fact midfielder Andrea Barnett, who has had the unlikely nickname almost since she first joined the club 16 years ago.
“One of my first Wolves managers gave me the nickname,” explains the now 27-year-old stalwart. “He thought ‘Andrea’ sounded like ‘Andre,’ as in Peter Andre, so he started calling me Pete. The name just stuck – so much so that these days, if anyone shouts “Andrea!” on the pitch I don’t know who they’re calling to!”
The now infamous moniker might have served Wednesfield born and bred Barnett well in her much younger days, when she played for the Willenhall Tigers boys team before joining Wolves at the tender age of 11.
At 17 she left to play for Bilbrook, but she returned four years ago to experience what has been something of a rollercoaster ride for the club – promotion in her first season back was followed by relegation on goal difference a year later, and then 12 months further on promotion was missed by a whisker.
And so to this season, at the half-way stage of which promotion is again on the agenda with Wolves having established a clear lead at the top of National League Division 1 Midlands thanks to a points haul of 30 from a possible 33.
“This has been the best season I’ve had at Wolves,” says Barnett. “I’m enjoying being part of a really good group of players and playing for Macca (manager Dan McNamara) – it’s the most professional set-up I’ve ever been involved in.
“The first half of the season could hardly have gone any better. We’ve been playing well and getting good results right from the start, and in the last couple of league games we’ve really kicked on with wins against teams (Birmingham & West Midlands and Lincoln City) who’ve been chasing us hard.”
Sunday’s visitors to Castlecroft, Long Eaton United, are another team chasing hard. They may be 11 points behind Wolves, but they have two games in hand and so beating McNamara’s side would put them right in the promotion picture.
This fixture should have been played just before Christmas but, unfortunately, Long Eaton were unable to field a full team and the game was postponed. Sunday’s meeting is thus the first of the season between the two teams.
“Long Eaton are definitely title contenders,” reckons Barnett. “They’ve signed good players from teams in higher leagues this season and their results so far speak for themselves. They’re a dangerous team, no question.
“But we did our homework on them before we should have played them a few weeks ago, and we worked on a game plan to get the result we want.
“So although we’re expecting a very difficult game, we know what we’ll be up against. We also know that a win will give our promotion hopes a massive boost – and that’s exactly what we’ll be out for on a big afternoon for us.”