Interview: Former Chelsea Goalkeeper Gives Us An Insight Into His Footballing Career

Football Friends Spoke to former Chelsea, Hamburg and Germany youth international Nick Hamann about his career and ambitions.

 Bayern Munich’s domination across Europe last season sparked discussion whether the Bundesliga’s rise will eclipse the Premier League. The ticket prices, the atmosphere and the all-round experience of football certainly seem more enticing in Germany, but some argue that the quality still falls short of the English topflight.

However, there is one position on the pitch that laughs in the face of that suggestion, and that’s between the sticks.

Oliver Kahn, Jens Lehmann and more recently Manuel Neuer have all established themselves as some of the finest shot-stoppers on the planet, and Braintree Town’s Nick Hamann is hoping to climb to similar ground. 

After arriving in England to sign for Chelsea, the 25-year-old has also represented Hamburg and Carshalton, and has been kind enough to offer us at Football Friends an insight to his career.

First up, at what age did you start playing football, and tell us a bit about your footballing career to date.

I started at quite an early age, around 7 years old. I started out-field and played there until I was about 13 when I decided to go in goal one day, and I just stayed there. I actually started out as a striker. One day we had a tournament and our goalkeeper got injured, so I went in and I have been there ever since.

I played in Germany until I was 15, then I came to England. I played for Chelsea – they wanted to see me so I went over for a weeks-long trial before they offered me a contract and I stayed there for four years before spending  two years at Hamburg.

Chelsea and Hamburg are both massive clubs, so what was the best piece of advice that you were given that you could pass on to young players looking to follow in your footsteps?

A massive thing when you join a club like Chelsea is that you think it is normal – you have everything given to you on a plate. You don’t realise until you leave the club just how good you have it. Even at Championship and League One clubs you wake up and realise what it’s like. A lot of people take it for granted, myself included maybe. I think clubs like Chelsea should really encourage younger players to get out on loan and get some experience.

What has been your inspiration behind chasing a career in football?

I grew up in England and Germany and they’re obviously both footballing countries, so you’re put in there straight away. All kids say they want to be a professional footballer but only a few make it. So when I was offered a trial at Chelsea I was very proud.

You represented Germany at youth level, tell us a bit about that experience.

Every young guy dreams of playing for their country. When I heard the national anthem I was so proud, it was great. The first game was against Japan in a tournament in Italy with a lot of people watching, so it was a pretty big occasion for me. It was scary at the same time, but a great experience.

After leaving Hamburg you signed for non-league Carshalton and returned to training with Chelsea, how do you feel that benefited you?

As a footballer you need to be playing competitive games. You can train all you want but you can’t recreate the feeling of a game. That’s another piece of advice I would give to those looking to become a professional player – go and find yourself a club. Even if it’s in the Ryman Premiership like I did, it’s so much better than just training.

You signed for Braintree Town this summer, first of all – how have you settled?

I’ve settled well. Obviously it’s a bit different as we’re only part-time and I am used to training every day, but I have been keeping myself busy training every day myself. My manager from Carshalton Tommy Williams is also a private coach so I train with him on Mondays. I train with Braintree on Tuesdays, Wednesday I train with my old goalkeeping coach, Thursday Braintree again and on Fridays I take it easy before a game on Saturday. So I keep myself busy!

And what about your expectations, what are your goals at your new club?

The manager knows I am not there to sit on the bench, I am fit enough and I want to get myself in the team. Obviously I have just come in and the guy [Nathan McDonald] was playing at the end of last year, so the gaffer put him in and he’s explained to me why. It’s not that he thinks he’s better than me or anything like that, but I understand, and playing at the end of last year obviously gives you an advantage. But I had a good pre season and I want to get going.

Another problem is that as you’re not training every day you can’t show the manager that you should be playing. My aim for now is just to show what I can do!

Following that, where do you see yourself, or aim to be, in five years time?

Firstly, 100% back in professional football. I think it’s a good thing in football that tomorrow you can be playing in the Ryman Prem and within the next few years you could be playing in the Championship or the Premier League – there are no limits. Things can change so much.

I also think my agent, Simon Dent, will help a lot. I only signed with him about four weeks ago and you can already tell he knows what he’s doing, so that will help. He can tell that I am serious about it, as well. A lot of players say they want to live the life of a footballer but they don’t really work for it. So many people want to be there. I played for Hamburg and in the reserves for Chelsea so I know I can continue in professional football.

What would you say were the main differences between playing in England and in Germany?

The crowds in Germany are slightly bigger, but professional football over here is much bigger. I prefer playing here, that’s why I am here  and I want to stay here. I love everything about it. Even non-league, I know a lot of people don’t like it, but just the experience of playing there is a good thing. It’s unbelievable, you just don’t get that in Germany.

As soon as you drop outside the top four leagues in Germany then it’s proper pub football and there’s no fan base or anyone involved. It was a great experience playing for Carshalton, when you see people supporting you, especially as a German and they hang the German flag behind the goal with ‘number 1’ and sing songs about you.

It’s a very different atmosphere over in Germany. I really felt the difference when I left Chelsea for Hamburg. All the Chelsea players made you feel very welcome, even as a youngster. I think there is a lot of jealousy. Perhaps it was just the club I was at, but over here if you do well the senior players will say ‘well done’, but if you do well over there is not the same reaction.

We’ve heard a rumour that John Terry paid for your driving license. Is that true, and if so how did it come about?

Yeah, that’s true. He just came in the changing room one day and told the younger guys to go and buy our licenses and that he would pick up the fee!

And to finish, tell us what you get up to outside of football.

My life is now set up over here – I have three god children over here and all my friends are all over here. I was really lucky with the people I met over here so I just relax with them. 

This interview was organised by The British Sports Museum the Number One Football Memorabilia Company in the UK. Please visit

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