Barrow A.F.C.

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New Barrow Football Club Crest 2014.png
Full nameBarrow Association Football Club
Nickname(s)The Bluebirds, The Ziggers (pre-1970s)
Founded1901; 114 years ago (1901)
GroundHolker Street, Barrow-in-Furness
Ground Capacity4,414 (1,000 seated)
ChairmanPaul Casson
ManagerDarren Edmondson
LeagueConference North
2013–14Conference North, 11th
WebsiteClub home page
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New Barrow Football Club Crest 2014.png
Full nameBarrow Association Football Club
Nickname(s)The Bluebirds, The Ziggers (pre-1970s)
Founded1901; 114 years ago (1901)
GroundHolker Street, Barrow-in-Furness
Ground Capacity4,414 (1,000 seated)
ChairmanPaul Casson
ManagerDarren Edmondson
LeagueConference North
2013–14Conference North, 11th
WebsiteClub home page

Barrow Association Football Club is an English association football club based in the town of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. The club participates in the Conference North, the sixth tier of the English league system. They were relegated (22nd place with 46 points) from the Conference National at the end of the 2012–13 season. Barrow play their home games at Holker Street, (currently sponsored as the "Furness Building Society Stadium"), close to the town centre and approximately 547 yds (0.5 km) from Barrow Railway Station.

The club spent over fifty years in the Football League between 1921 and 1972, achieving promotion to Division 3 by finishing 3rd in the Football League Fourth Division in the 1966–67 season. The highest league period in the club's history was to be short-lived and a return to Division 4 came after relegation in 1969–70 season. Fortunes never improved and at the end of the 1971–72 season, after an unsuccessful bid for re-election, Barrow were voted out of the Football League, to be replaced by Hereford United of the Southern League. Barrow have since spent their time in the top two levels of non-league football and have twice won non-league football's most prestigious cup competition, the FA Trophy – in 1990 and 2010, becoming the only club to have won the Trophy at both old and new Wembley Stadium.

The club colours are blue and white, though the combination of these has varied over time, leading to their nickname "The Bluebirds". Attendances at the club's Holker Street ground vary – the home record of 16,874 was set against Swansea City in the FA Cup Third Round in 1954 – but during the 1990s and 2000s the average remained consistently between 800 and 1,500. Average attendance stood at 918[1] during the 2012–13 season.

The club won their second FA Trophy title on 8 May 2010 after beating Stevenage Borough 2–1 in the final at Wembley Stadium.

On Wednesday 3rd September 2014, The FA approved Dallas-based Paul Casson's £600,000 takeover bid.


Early years[edit]

Barrow were founded on 16 July 1901 at the old Drill Hall (later the Palais) in The Strand and played at initially at The Strawberry Ground, before moving to Ainslie Street[2] and then on to Little Park, Roose.[3] In 1903 Barrow was elected to Division Two of the Lancashire Combination[4] and in 1908 the club won promotion to the first division.[3] In 1909, Barrow moved once more to Holker Street, the stadium that they still occupy today. The club remained in the Lancashire Combination for up to and after World War I, winning the league in the 1920–21 season. This victory preceded the formation of the Football League Third Division North in the 1921–22 season, and Barrow became one of the league's founder members.[2]

Football League years[edit]

In their early years as a league club, Barrow were as notable for their absence of success as any achievements.[2][5] Their highest finish before World War II was 5th in the 1931–32 season.In 1933–34 season Barrow finished in 8th position. Barrow remained in the lowest tier of the Football League when football resumed after the war, and were founder members of Football League Division Four in 1958–59.[6] The 1950s saw greater success in the FA Cup, however. The club's record crowd of 16,874 watched Barrow draw 2–2 with Swansea City in the 1953–54 FA Cup.[4] A few years later this was followed by a Third Round tie in the 1958–59 competition against the then Football League champions Wolverhampton Wanderers at Holker Street. Wolves, captained by Billy Wright, won 4–2.

The late 1960s finally saw Barrow win promotion, after a third placed finish under the management of Don McEvoy in the 1966–67 Fourth Division.[7] McEvoy's successor, Colin Appleton, lead Barrow to their highest ever final league position of eighth in the Football League Third Division the following season. The club topped the Third Division league table for one day during the season, the highest position that they have ever held. During this period defender Brian Arrowsmith became the player to make the most Football League appearances for Barrow.[7] Barrow remained in the third flight of English football for another two seasons before returning to the basement in 1970. Financial difficulties combined with poor performances saw Barrow twice up for re-election in 1971 and 1972. On the second occasion, at the end of the 1971–72 season, they were voted out of the Football League to be replaced by Hereford United.[7] Though the reasons for losing the re-election were many, three features – Barrow's geographic isolation, Hereford United's FA Cup victory against Newcastle United and the decision of the Barrow board to introduce a speedway track around pitch at Holker Street, as a means of off-setting financial difficulties – have all been highlighted as contributing to Barrow's relegation.[8] Barrow joined the Northern Premier League for the start of the 1972–73 season.[9] Barrow spent a total of 51 seasons in the Football League.[7]

Return to Non-League[edit]

Barrow's league position since their election to Division Three (North) in 1922

To gain access to the Northern Premier League, the club had to promise to remove the infamous speedway track from Holker Street,[10] though it remained until 1974. Barrow subsequently struggled in the Northern Premier with low financial resources.[11] However in 1979 Barrow were invited to join the new Alliance Premier League, the first national division in non-league football. In 1981 the club won the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy, its first success as a non-league club since winning the Lancashire Combination in 1921, but relegation followed in 1983.[12] Under manager Vic Halom Barrow won the Northern Premier League title the following season, but were relegated again by 1986. Just before relegation, the club hired Ray Wilkie as manager, who went on to lead Barrow to their then most successful period in non-league football.[13]

After a number of close misses, Barrow won promotion back to the renamed Vauxhall Conference in 1988–89, finishing champions of the Northern Premier League.[13] Driven by the goals of Colin Cowperthwaite, the club's record appearance holder and record goalscorer,[14] Barrow achieved two respectable finishes in the Conference – 10th in 1989–90 and 14th the season after. As well as league success, Wilkie had a number of successful cup runs. In 1988, Barrow reached the FA Trophy semi-final, losing to Enfield after a replay. The first leg at Holker Street attracted 6,002 supporters – still a non-league record for the club. The season after, Barrow reached the 1st round of the FA Cup, losing out 3–1 against Rotherham United.

In 1990, Barrow won their first major trophy as a non-league club, the FA Trophy. In the final they beat Leek Town at Wembley. Scoring the first and third goals was Kenny Gordon, a player who was not normally found on the score sheet, and who was playing his final game for his hometown club before emigrating to Australia.[15] Other notable members of the squad included Kenny Lowe, who was sold to Barnet for £40,000 after the final, then a club record fee.[16] The following season, benefiting from direct entry to the first round, Barrow made the third round of the FA Cup for the first time as a non-league club, losing 1–0 away to Third Division high fliers Bolton Wanderers.

Unfortunately Wilkie was forced to step down during the 1991–92 due to health problems. That season Barrow would be relegated back to the Northern Premier League, and also coincided with Cowperthwaite's retirement, after a fifteen year career with Barrow, finishing with 704 appearances and 282 goals.[14] Wilkie died in December 1992, aged 56,[17] and the road outside Barrow's Holker Street ground was later named 'Wilkie Road' in his honour.

Turmoil of the 1990s[edit]

Following Wilkie's departure and Barrow's subsequent relegation, the club had three mediocre seasons in the Northern Premier League. In February 1995, Barrow were purchased by Stephen Vaughan, a Scouse-boxing promoter and businessman.[18] Vaughan poured money into the club, building an all-seater stand and allowing the club to sign players of Conference-standard.[19] The Bluebirds achieved promotion to the Conference in 1997–98, under manager Owen Brown.[18][19]

Vaughan, who had connections with Liverpool drug-dealer Curtis Warren,[18] was soon being investigated for money laundering,[18][19][20][21] although no charges were ever brought on the issue.[20][22] Vaughan left the club at the end of 1998, withdrawing his financial support that had been keeping it afloat.[18] It transpired that the club's main asset, its Holker Street ground, had been sold for £410,000 to Northern Improvements, a company Vaughn had an interest in.[19][23] In January 1999, the club were the subject of a compulsory winding up order and a liquidator was appointed to run the club whilst trying to establish who the legal owner of the ground was.[18][19][23] A new members' company was formed with the aim of providing financial support to the club and with the long term intention of taking over the running of the football club.

In the summer of 1999 the club were thrown out of the Football Conference, despite avoiding relegation .[23] After a long dispute, and thanks to the support of the Football Association, Barrow were allowed entrance into the Northern Premier League for the 1999–2000 season, almost a month after it had commenced.[19] This reduced time in which to play their fixtures led to the scheduling of Barrow v Winsford United on 30 December 1999, recognised as the last professional or semi-professional game in the United Kingdom of the millennium. Barrow managed to survive in the Northern Premier League under manager Kenny Lowe, despite having to create an almost entirely new squad. The team improved over the following few years despite remaining in administration. They twice missed out narrowly on promotion back to the Conference, finishing second and third in the 2003–04 and 2004–05 seasons respectively. The legal disputes over the ownership of Holker Street were finally resolved in August 2002 and the new members company bought the stadium from the liquidator.[19] In 2003, the Football Association finally allowed the 'football membership' to be transferred to the new company.

In April 2004, Barrow defeated local rivals Workington in a two-legged final in the UniBond Presidents (League) Cup. The game finished 6–6 on aggregate, Barrow winning on away goals. Following their failure to gain promotion to the Conference in 2004–05, Barrow became founder members of yet another division, this time the Conference North, which replaced the Northern Premier League at the level below the Conference National.

Return to the Conference National[edit]

During the following two seasons Barrow showed poor form in the league, narrowly escaping relegation at the end of 2006–07. Manager Lee Turnbull, who succeeded Lowe when the latter had to give up the job for work commitments, was sacked in 2005 and replaced by Phil Wilson. Compounding this was the jailing of defender James Cotterill for an assault committed on the pitch. In a first round FA Cup game Cotterill punched Bristol Rovers striker Sean Rigg, the incident being missed by the referee but caught by the Match of the Day cameras, resulting in Cotterill being the only English player in recent history to be jailed for an offence on the pitch.[24]

On 12 November 2007, after two years in the job, Phil Wilson was dismissed as manager. Although the sacking came two days after a good 1–1 draw in the FA Cup First Round against AFC Bournemouth, it was the club's continued poor league form which cost the manager his job. Barrow's first team affairs were shifted to players Paul Jones, David Bayliss and Darren Sheridan. Following a decent run of results, Bayliss and Sheridan were appointed as player-managers, whilst Jones became club captain. Bayliss and Sheridan led Barrow from 20th place in the league in December to fifth, ensuring a place in the play offs for promotion to the Conference National. Barrow won the semi-final against Telford United 4–0 on aggregate, before beating Stalybridge Celtic in the playoff final, held at the Pirelli Stadium, Burton upon Trent.[25]

After an initial strong start in the Conference National, which saw Barrow top the table during the first few weeks, the club began to struggle and found themselves just above the relegation zone by January 2009. Barrow had more success in the FA Cup, beating Brentford 2–1 with goals from David Brown and Matt Henney in Round Two, their first victory over Football League opposition since their own elimination from the league in 1972. In the third round they were drawn an away tie against Middlesbrough, a Premier League team, losing 2–1.[26] More than 7,000 Barrow fans travelled to Boro's Riverside Stadium, at the time the highest away attendance at the ground in the 14 years it had been open.[26] The cup run earned the club around £250,000, allowing investment in playing resources to be made.[27] Barrow managed to retain their place in the Conference, finishing twentieth.

Having made several alterations to the squad during the summer, the club started its 2nd season in the Conference National in August 2009. After a tough start, the club put together a good run, losing only once in 16 games, and reaching the FA Cup 3rd round, where they were beaten 3–0 by Premier League side Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on 2 January 2010, watched, again, by 7,500 travelling supporters.[28][29] On 13 March 2010, a Gregg Blundell goal gave Barrow a 1–0 win away at Salisbury City in the 1st Leg of the FA Trophy Semi Final. A week later a Jason Walker double secured a 2–1 victory in the 2nd Leg to send the Bluebirds to Wembley. Having secured their position in the Conference National in the last home match of the season, Barrow went on to win the 2010 FA Trophy Final against Stevenage Borough 2–1 at Wembley Stadium, thanks to a goal by Jason Walker during extra time. This made Barrow the first and only club to win the FA Trophy at both the old and new Wembley stadiums.

The 2010–11 season was less successful for the club, although they finished in 18th place and retained their Conference National place with a 2–0 victory over Hayes and Yeading on the last day of the season.[30] Barrow failed to retain the FA Trophy due to a 2–3 defeat by Conference North side Guiseley.[31] The following season Barrow enjoyed more success in the league, eventually finishing in 13th position. In February 2012, however, Darren Sheridan left the club by mutual consent following allegations made against him.[32] Dave Bayliss remained at the club as manager.

The following season, 2012–13, Barrow were relegated from the Conference after losing 2–1 at Cambridge United on 13 April 2013. On the morning of 5 November 2013, Dave Bayliss parted company with Barrow via mutual consent. During that season, Barrow failed to win promotion back to the Conference Premier and finished 11th in the Conference North.

After a long month's wait after Bayliss' resignation, Barrow appointed former caretaker manager, Darren Edmondson on 10 December 2013.


On 1 May 2014, it was announced that members of the club had voted in favour to allow Dallas businessman Paul Casson to complete a takeover of the club.[33]

Colours and badge[edit]

Barrow's colours, are white and blue. A kit with blue shirts and white shorts was in use by 1912,[34] though Barrow's original colours were black and white stripes. From 1939 to 1959, a blue shirt with a white 'v' was a common design.[2] Since then, the style of Barrow's kit has varied, from predominantly blue through to predominantly white, with occasional use of stripes or hoops.[2] For the 2001–02 season, Barrow played in black and white stripes, to celebrate the club's centenary year.[35] Although the away colours of Barrow have varied over time, the club's 2010 FA Trophy victory came wearing a yellow kit with blue trim. Barrow's second kit from 2010 until 2013 was sky blue, however for the 2013/14 season, Barrow have resolved back to a yellow away kit, and a blue and white hooped home kit, manufactured by Puma, who have a four year deal which expires at the end of the 2015/16 season

The club's badge is based on the Barrow-in-Furness coat of arms.[2] The badge features a submarine, representing the town's shipbuilding industry, a red rose symbolising Lancashire and an image of a football. Copied from the town badge[2] is a rebus of a bee and an arrow, representing the club's name ("Bee-arrow").


Main article: Holker Street
Holker Street Stadium at Dusk.

Holker Street has been Barrow's ground since 1910.[3] Prior to this it had hosted Hindpool Athletic football club, and before that was the site of a rubbish dump[37] The first game at the stadium was a 5–2 win for Barrow against Eccles Borough. The ground was gradually developed so that by the resumption of football after World War Two, it had four fully covered terraced stands[38] The record attendance came in 1954 when 16,784 fans watched an FA Cup match against Swansea City. Floodlights were erected in 1963,[7] and the ground hosted speedway meetings during the 1970s which involved the demolition of the 'Steelworks End', which had been damaged by fire, the re-positioning of the pitch and the removal of the front rows of terracing.[37] Following the removal of the speedway track, the pitch was moved back to its original orientation and a new leisure centre with squash courts was constructed.[37]

Under Stephen Vaughan's ownership, an new all-seater Main Stand with a capacity of around 1000 was built at the Wilkie Road side,[19] but since then, the only significant change to the ground has been the removal of an unsafe roof over the Holker Street end terraces. Described as having "a traditional, old fashioned feel",[37] the ground has three sides of terracing. The Main Stand is raised above the central portion of the pitch, with flat standing on either side.[38] The Popular Side now has the only covered terracing, opposite the Main Stand.[39][40]


Current squad[edit]

As of 16 July 2014.[41][42][43]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

EnglandGKTony McMillan
EnglandGKAaron Taylor
WalesDFRobbie Williams
EnglandDFAndrew Burns
EnglandDFNiall Cowperthwaite
EnglandDFSimon Grand
EnglandDFAndy McWilliams
EnglandDFDanny Livesey
EnglandMFDanny Pilkington
EnglandMFPaddy Lacey
EnglandMFTed Cribley
Northern IrelandMFJohnny Gorman
WalesMFJamie Crowther
EnglandMFAlex-Ray Harvey
EnglandMFIzak Reid
EnglandMFSam Sheridan
EnglandFWAlex Meechan
EnglandFWJames Ellison
EnglandFWJason Walker
EnglandFWAndy Cook
EnglandFWAnthony Wilson

Current Management[edit]

ManagerDarren EdmondsonEngland
CoachAlex MeechanEngland[44]
PhysiotherapistSean Riley[45]England
Club DoctorDr Askari
Kit ManLes HoughtonEngland


As of 10 December 2013. Only league matches are counted.

Jacob FletcherEnglandJuly 1901April 19047833153014613542.31%
E. FreelandEnglandApril 1904???????????
W. SmithEngland???????????????
Alec CraigEngland????May 1907???????
Roger CharnleyEnglandMay 1907???????????
Jacob FletcherEngland????September 1909???????
Jas P. PhillipsEnglandSeptember 1909July 1913???????
John ParkerEnglandJuly 1913July 192011455164323219748.25%
William DickinsonEnglandJuly 1920May 1922723711241218251.39%
Jimmy AtkinsonEnglandAugust 1922March 19233011415444336.67%
J.E. MoraleeEnglandApril 1923January 192611229186512121725.89%
Robert GreenhalghEnglandJanuary 1926February 19262002370%
William DickinsonEnglandFebruary 1926October 1927671212436118217.91%
John S. MaconnachieScotlandOctober 1927December 1928521215257011623.08%
Andrew WalkerEnglandJanuary 1929June 193062167397414225.81%
Thomas MillerEnglandJune 1930November 1930163310173918.75%
John ComminsEnglandNovember 1930May 193265365241379655.38%
Tommy LowesEnglandMay 1932April 193720473478435137835.78%
James Y. BissettEnglandApril 1937December 1937194213143621.05%
Fred PentlandEnglandJanuary 1938June 19408429233214614934.52%
John ComminsEnglandAugust 1945March 1947541710277110431.48%
Andy BeattieScotlandMarch 1947April 1949953626331069537.89%
Jack HackingEnglandMay 1949May 1955272965711936342135.29%
Joe HarveyEnglandJuly 1955June 19579233184113714535.87%
Norman DodginEnglandJuly 1957May 195846131518667428.26%
Bill BrownEnglandJuly 1958August 195946910275110419.57%
Bill RogersEnglandAugust 1959October 195915357243720%
Ron StaniforthEnglandOctober 1959July 196421367618531236031.46%
Don McEvoyEnglandJuly 1964July 196713852325420723537.68%
Colin AppletonEnglandAugust 1967January 1969703213251039045.71%
Fred ElseEnglandJanuary 1969February 196950142140%
Norman BodellEnglandMarch 1969February 19704691127388219.57%
Don McEvoyEnglandFebruary 1970November 1971781518458814219.23%
Bill RogersEnglandNovember 1971November 19712011230%
Jack CromptonEnglandDecember 1971June 19722810513254035.71%
Peter KaneEnglandJuly 1972June 1974922513549819527.17%
Brian ArrowsmithEnglandJuly 1974November 1975671218376111517.91%
Ron YeatsScotlandDecember 1975February 19774615823619032.61%
Alan Coglan and Billy McAdamsEngland Northern IrelandFebruary 1977July 1977215313263823.81%
David HughesEnglandJuly 1977July 19770000000%
Brian McManusEnglandJuly 1977November 197910331234911516130.10%
Micky TaylorEnglandNovember 1979May 198314752356019220635.37%
Vic HalomEnglandJuly 1983May 19844229103923869.05%
Peter McDonnellEnglandJuly 1984November 198417593272129.41%
Joe WojciechowiczEnglandNovember 1984December 19841001130%
Brian KiddEnglandDecember 1984April 198519568142026.32%
John CookeEnglandApril 1985April 198531023933.33%
Bob MurphyEnglandApril 1985May 19852011240%
Maurice WhittleEnglandMay 1985October 19851204811290%
David JohnsonEnglandOctober 1985March 198616529132831.25%
Glenn Skivington and Neil McDonaldEngland EnglandMarch 1986March 198640044100%
Ray WilkieEnglandMarch 1986November 199123693628132531139.41%
Neil McDonaldEnglandNovember 1991December 199141037925%
John KingEnglandDecember 1991May 1992225611243622.73%
Graham HeathcoteEnglandMay 1992December 1992231076403143.48%
Richard DinnisEnglandDecember 1992October 19933012612454040%
Mick CloudsdaleEnglandOctober 1993June 1994311489453545.16%
Tony HeskethEnglandJune 1994March 19967432162612110143.24%
Neil McDonald and Franny VentreEngland EnglandMarch 1996March 19962002360%
Mike WalshEnglandMarch 1996October 1996201154322055%
Owen BrownEnglandOctober 1996January 19991004922291279549%
Shane WestleyEnglandJanuary 1999July 199916448132225%
Greg ChallenderEnglandJuly 1999August 19990000000%
Kenny LoweEnglandAugust 1999May 200317678465230723344.32%
Lee TurnbullEnglandMay 2003November 200510241283316414640.20%
Darren EdmondsonEnglandNovember 2005December 200531205333.33%
Phil WilsonEnglandDecember 2005November 2007782024348510025.64%
Darren Sheridan and David BaylissEngland EnglandNovember 2007February 201216859505921522035.11%

David Bayliss

EnglandFebruary 2012November 2013911516305911016.48%[46]

Alex Meechan

EnglandNovember 2013December 201340223120%
Darren EdmondsonEnglandDecember 20130000000%


League History[edit]

FromToLeagueLevelTotal Seasons[47]
1901–021902–03Lancashire LeagueN/A2
1903–041904–05Lancashire Combination Division TwoN/A2
1905–061907–08Lancashire Combination Division OneN/A3
1908–091910–11Lancashire Combination Division TwoN/A5
1911–121920–21Lancashire Combination Division OneN/A6
1921–221957–58Football League Division Three North331
1958–591966–67Football League Division Four4 Decrease9
1967–681969–70Football League Division Three3 Increase3
1970–711971–72Football League Division Four4 Decrease2
1972–731978–79Northern Premier League5 Decrease7
1979–801982–83Alliance Premier League5 Steady4
1983–841983–84Northern Premier League6 Decrease1
1984–851985–86Alliance Premier League5 Increase2
1986–871988–89Northern Premier League6 Decrease3
1989–901991–92Football Conference5 Increase3
1992–931997–98Northern Premier League6 Decrease6
1998–991998–99Football Conference5 Increase1
1999-002003–04Northern Premier League6 Decrease4
2004–052007–08Conference North6 Steady4
2008–092012–13Conference Premier5 Increase5
2013–14CurrentConference North6 Decrease1



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External links[edit]