2005 Women's European Football Championship - Information and Highlights

Family fanfare for goal heroine

I'd walk a million miles for one of your goals' was one of the fans' famed terraces chants and it could well have been the Barr family's theme tune.

Substitute 'walk' for 'drive' and Irene and Tony Barr haven't missed a kick of their 23-year-old daughter Amanda's football career in England.

On Sunday they made one of the shortest journeys yet as the piled into the family vehicle yet again for the short seven-mile drive up the M67 and A57 from Bredbury in Stockport to the City of Manchester Stadium.

It made a change from the nationwide treks they've been on supporting Amanda but it was one of their proudest moments.

The former Avondale High student, who has just finished a four-year personal trainer course at Loughborough University, scored England's second in their 3-2 winning opener in the European Championships at Manchester City's HQ last weekend.

Tomorrow Tony will be back behind the wheel and Irene in the passenger seat as they head off to Blackburn for England's second group match with Denmark.

Clocking up the miles on motorways has been "a way of life" for the Barrs since Amanda joined the international scene with England Under-18s.

"We don't miss a game at all," said Irene. "We've sacrificed everything really to follow her. But it has been worth it. I wouldn't change it for the world.

"When she started with England Under-18s there were tournaments all over the country and we lived in the car near enough.

"By the time we got home from one match it was virtually time to get back in again to hit the road for another.

"When she went to play for Charlton for two seasons it was a 525-mile round trip for just 90 minutes and when there were midweek matches and cup games we could be down to London and back two or three times a week.

"I daren't tot up the mileage at all. But we've have probably been around the world! We got expenses when she was at Charlton but it was still very hard financially and time consuming."

Amanda's soccer career has grown from a prolific primary school goalscorer, to girl's teams at Avondale and at Stockport County where coach Neil Mather predicted at the age of 11 that she'd play for England.

"We didn't believe him but he was spot on," added Irene.

Amanda has since played for Stockport Ladies, Everton (twice), Doncaster Belles, Charlton and this season has been with Birmingham.

But her career road hasn't been a surprise to her parents.

"Even as a toddler of two she had a ball at her feet. She was always knocking ornaments off. I can't remember a time when she didn't have a ball at her feet.

"She was a little tomboy and the estate we lived on then you either played football or you didn't join in and did nothing! She joined in with all the lads," Irene added.

"We thought that, maybe event- ually boyfriends would come along and steer her away from that path but she's stuck at it.

"She was never interested in dolls or anything girlie like that. My mum once bought her a doll's pram when she was about six but she would never play with it. It was still brand new when we got rid of it when she was 15.

"It was football kits all the time with her. It was a Manchester United kit every time a new strip came out. Even when we went on holiday we had to make sure the place we went to have a gym so she could keep her fitness up!

"Her dedication has been incredible. She has a strict fitness regime and especially when she loses her punishment, and to get it out of her system is to go off on a four-mile run.

"Sometimes her nephews go with her - but they go on their bikes!"

Amanda has helped get England off to a flyer in the European Championships but the World Cup is the one she wants.

"Since she became an international her goal has been to win the World Cup with England," said Irene.

The Barrs have never been abroad to watch Amanda play and the next ladies' World Cup is in China in 2007 - maybe another 16,000-mile round trip to add to the already colossal tally.