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BSP Basement Battle: The Holker Street View

As Stockport County, Southport, Gateshead, Barrow, Nuneaton, Hyde, Alfreton, Tamworth and the Imps bid to avoid two relegation slots STMI takes a look at the Barrow perspective courtesy of Ralph Sheppard, chewing his nails to the quick in New Zealand.

A staggering 53 points could be needed for safety this season.

Thank you for reading Ralph Sheppard 

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HOLKER STREET NEWSLETTER 3087 – 9 APRIL 2013

Talking to BBC Radio Cumbria after the Mansfield game, Dave Bayliss
scratched his head about the penalty given to the visitors: “To be honest,
when the referee blew (for the penalty) I thought their lad was getting
booked for diving, I don’t know what I did in a former life as, both
penalties aside, we’ve now hit the woodwork seven times in seven games –
it’s ridiculous. We miss one to go ahead then he dives, scores the penalty
and it’s a huge task at 2-0 – it just sums up the season. People say that
when you’re at the bottom you don’t get the decisions and it’s true, that
one is really hard to take,” he continued. Our lads took it personally and
then lost their discipline for a short while after that too. It was a bad
decision but the other goals were avoidable as we’ve just given the ball
away cheaply. So in some ways, we’ve no one to blame but ourselves when you
do that and you miss a penalty. Still, I don’t know what I did in a former
life as both penalties aside, we’ve now hit the woodwork seven times in
seven games – it’s ridiculous.”

Dave Bayliss put down his book of Churchill speeches long enough to talk to
the Mail, and refusing to believe “Barrow AFC’s floundering bid for survival
is not a mission impossible following their latest spanking by Mansfield
Town:, he told the Mail: “I’ve never given up because we don’t need to give
up, we’ve got to keep going because there are points to be had and we
believe that if we keep playing the way we have done, but cut out the silly
mistakes which I’ve said 43 times this season, and do the basics well, then
we’ll win games. Nothing is mission impossible at this level because every
player in this League is a non-League footballer because for that reason
alone they’re not good enough to play in the Football League. That’s what
they’ve got to realise. The pitch is bobbly and bone hard and we’re still
trying to take extra touches when we don’t need to. You’ve got to make the
right decisions. Every player who was on the pitch on Saturday has got
ability, but it’s good decision-making that makes a footballer. We’ve just
got to do what we try and do every week, which is to go out and win a game.
That’s what we’ve got to do tomorrow. We’re under no illusions how hard it
will be (to stay up) but we’ll keep going and keep fighting. We’re all
disappointed but we’ve got to roll up our sleeves up and dig out a result
tomorrow.”

And I did like this on the excellent blog at http://www.twohundredpercent.net
“Finally, if you heard the sound of champagne corks popping at the weekend,
the chances are that these were either coming from the vicinity of
Gillingham or Chester. Gillingham’s 1-0 win against Torquay United – who
themselves remain in deep trouble at the other end of the table – was enough
to ensure their return to League One after an absence of three years, while
Chester made it three League titles in a row at the weekend in securing the
Blue Square Bet North championship. They will start next season in the Blue
Square Bet Premier, the same Division that the club’s forerunner, Chester
City, was in when it folded during the 2009/10 season. Proof, as if it were
needed, that getting the Vaughan family the hell away from The Deva Stadium
no matter what the short-term cost was definitely a price well worth
paying”.

BSBP BASEMENT BATTLE – NINE CONTENDERS 53 POINTS NEEDED
By Neil Gentleman-Hobbs, from the Lincoln City blog at
https://savethemightyimps.wordpress.com

Nine bid for BSBP salvation with Stockport County, Southport, Gateshead,
Barrow, Nuneaton, Hyde, Alfreton, Tamworth and the Imps scrambling for seven
lifeboats. Realistically two look set to join, all but down, Ebbsfleet
United and relegated AFC Telford United, with the next eight days seeing
some huge head-to-head confrontations. Incredibly, a herculean task of 53
points could be needed for safety this season.

The Road Ahead
This week is simply massive. Tuesday sees three head to heads involving the
nine plus the Imps game at Luton. A win for Barrow (at Alfreton) and
Nuneaton (at Gateshead) would put real pressure on the Imps (at Luton) and
Stockport would return to the drop zone. Poor Alfreton play Tamworth on
Thursday in another basement-battle that will see the loser sweating going
into the weekend. Stockport County will have to wait until Saturday to make
amends, with their Tuesday catch-up game next week at Gateshead.

Saturday sees Ebbsfleet play Telford in a game they could have done with two
weeks ago. The Imps play Tamworth, who could be tired from Thursday’s trip
to Alfreton, in a game that could yet be pivotal for both clubs futures.
Alfreton could have done without the trip to play-off bound Newport.
Nuneaton face Hyde in another key battle. Stockport will be well backed as
they seek to beat Dartford. Southport will not be relishing the trip to
big-spending Forest Green.

TUESDAY’S BLUE SQUARE BET PREMIER PREVIEW
From http://www.bluesqfootball.com

Mansfield Town could overtake Kidderminster Harriers at the top of the Blue
Square Bet Premier standings with a win on Tuesday night. With the Harriers,
who have played two games more than Paul Cox’s side, not in action until
Saturday, a victory over Macclesfield Town could propel Mansfield Town two
points clear with the season drawing to a close.

Only Harriers, Southport and the already relegated AFC Telford United have
played 44 matches with everyone else playing catch-up with midweek matches.
And while the Stags, on 86 points, have won all but one of their last 14
matches, the Silkmen, in eighth with 60 points, are without a win in their
last five outings.

Wrexham, meanwhile, in third and ten points adrift of second position, are
at home to 13th-placed Cambridge United. The Dragons will be looking cement
a play-off spot ahead of Newport County and Grimsby Town – who complete the
top-five teams in the Division. A run of poor form has seen Andy Morrell’s
side fall off the pace of late while the U’s have drawn their last three
ties with their last win coming seven games ago.

Elsewhere, Newport County host Braintree Town as Grimsby Town travel to
Dartford. One point behind Wrexham and without a defeat in their last five
matches, the Exiles will be mildly confident of their place in the
play-offs. The eleventh-placed Iron will provide stern if erratic test,
however, as a look at their results shows a team with three losses and three
victories from their last six games. The Mariners are a further two points
down the standings with the Darts in ninth on 59 points.

Forest Green Rovers, on 65 points in sixth place, have an outside chance of
making up the eight-point gap on Grimsby and will need a win over Hereford
United in seventh, who are on 63 points. Rovers lost 2-1 to Tamworth last
time out with their last win coming against Southport midway through March,
while the Bulls defeated Macclesfield 1-0 following a 5-2 defeat of
Tamworth.

Moving down the table and Luton Town in twelfth, host 19th-placed Lincoln
City. The Hatters will have all but given up on promotion this season,
following four winless matches and a heavy 5-1 thrashing by Gateshead last
time out. The Imps, meanwhile, are very much fighting for survival, just two
points off the drop zone. They lost 3-0 to Harriers on Saturday after a 0-0
draw with Cambridge United.

And finally, 15th-placed Alfreton Town host 22nd-placed Barrow, Gateshead in
18th, face off against 21st-placed Nuneaton Town, while 14th-placed Hyde FC
host 23rd-placed Ebbsfleet United. The Reds lost 3-2 to Stockport in their
last match after a 2-0 defeat of Southport, while the Bluebirds, without a
win in four, were 4-0 losers to Mansfield this past weekend. The Tynesiders
followed up their 4-0 defeat by the Stags with a 5-1 victory over Luton as
Boro where held by Ebbsfleet last time out – while the Tigers lost 2-1 to
Braintree.

BARROW 0 MANSFIELD TOWN 4
From http://www.bluesqfootball.com

Mansfield Town compounded Barrow AFC’s relegation woes with a 4-0 win to
ramp up the pressure on Kidderminster Harriers in the Blue Square Bet
Premier title race. The Stags remain a point behind league leaders Harriers,
who have 87, and with two games in hand should certainly fancy themselves
for automatic promotion. The Bluebirds, on the other end of the standings,
are 22nd on 46 points, three adrift of safety with three fixtures remaining
in the season.

Matt Green scored twice for the visitors, once from the penalty spot, in the
first half, before John Dempster and Lee Stevenson wrapped up the victory in
the second stanza. Even though it was all Mansfield with Green leading their
attack, the hosts had the first chance to score. Defender Luke Jones handled
the ball in the 18-yard area and Richie Baker stepped up to spot only for
Alan Marriott to deny him the opener. A minute later and Green found the
back of the net after receiving an excellent pass from Colin Daniel to
stroke the ball home from inside the area. Green troubled the Barrow defence
and was hastily brought down in the penalty box by Danny O’Donnell, giving
the referee no option but to point to the spot. The striker took the penalty
himself and made no mistake as Mansfield went into the half-time break two
goals to the good.

The Bluebirds’ defence watched Green closer in the second period and hardly
gave the striker room to move, while also catching him with the offside trap
when he was allowed space. Daniel too troubled the hosts and was fouled
outside the area, with the resultant free-kick from Adam Murray bringing
Town’s third goal as Dempster rose highest to meet the set-piece and make it
3-0. Baker tried to reduce the deficit but was again denied by Marriot, and
even though victory was assured, Stevenson scored in the 92nd minute to send
a stern warning to Kidderminster.

Barrow bookings: Hessey.
Mansfield bookings: Briscoe.

Ref: Backhouse.
Att: 1114.

RELEGATION STILL REAL DANGER FOR ALFRETON AFTER RIVALS CLAIM A CRUCIAL
VICTORY
From The Derby Telegraph

Alfreton Town missed the chance to put more distance between themselves and
one of the clubs struggling below them in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
Defeat by Stockport County at the Impact Arena was not enough for the
Hatters to jump above the Reds on the fringe of the drop zone but means that
Alfreton are still far from safe with four games left to play in the final
fortnight of the season.

MANSFIELD TOWN LOOKING TO TURN THE SCREW AFTER FINE WIN AT BARROW
From The Nottingham Post

Mansfield Town bounced back from seeing their winning streak brought to an
end with a comfortable 4-0 win away to Barrow. Having lost 2-1 at
third-placed Wrexham on Thursday night to see their 12-game winning run come
to an end, the Stags bounced back in fine style to see off the struggling
Cumbrian outfit. Two goals each from Matt Green, one a penalty, and Lee
Stevenson at Holker Street helped them to victory – while Alan Marriott also
saved a penalty from Richie Baker. The result meant they stay a point behind
leaders Kidderminster – with two games in hand – after Harriers also tasted
victory, 3-0 against Lincoln City.

Kidderminster only have two games left this season and can reach a maximum
points tally of 93. Paul Cox’s men, meanwhile, sit on 86 points and have
four games to play – meaning three wins will see them return to the Football
League thanks to automatic promotion as champions. The first of these four
games starts tomorrow night when they host Macclesfield Town – who have
nothing to play for in eighth – at the One Call Stadium (7.45pm). Trips to
mid-table Braintree and Hereford – who look to be out of contention in the
race for the play-offs – follow this before ending the season back on home
soil against the team that beat them last week, Wrexham. Two wins and a draw
from these four games could even be enough depending on goal difference –
which currently stands at plus 37 for both teams.

But with Kidderminster having to travel to Wrexham next Saturday, it is not
a foregone conclusion they will win away and also beat Stockport at home on
the last day of the season. Victory over Macclesfield will be Cox’s first
aim and that would send them top of the League – still with one game in
hand. Cox said: “Kiddy are still in the driving seat as they’re still top.
We’ve achieved nothing yet, but hopefully we can win our midweek game and
start to turn the screw.”

FURNESS FOOTBALL PERFORMANCE CENTRE (FFPC) FIXTURES
Thanks to Dan Myles

Tuesday 2 April        Morecambe U11 3 FFPC U11 7
Thursday 4 April        FFPC U15 2 Morecambe U15 4
Wednesday 10 April    FFPC U13 v Morecambe U13, Holker Street, 6.30pm
Wednesday 17 April    FFPC U14 v Morecambe U14, Holker Street, 6.30pm
Wednesday 24 April    FFPC U12 v Morecambe U12, Holker Street, 6.30pm
Wednesday 1 May        Morecambe U16 v FFPC U16, Globe Arena, 6pm

BLUE SQUARE BET PREMIER
Tuesday 9 April: Alfreton Town v Barrow, Dartford v Grimsby Town, Forest
Green Rovers v Hereford United, Gateshead v Nuneaton Town, Hyde FC v
Ebbsfleet United, Luton Town v Lincoln City, Mansfield Town v Macclesfield
Town, Newport County v Braintree Town, Wrexham v Cambridge United.
Thursday 11 April: Alfreton Town v Tamworth, Dartford v Braintree Town,
Newport County v Macclesfield Town.
Friday 12 April: Luton Town v Grimsby Town, 7.45pm (live on Premier Sports).
Saturday 13 April: Braintree Town v Mansfield Town, Cambridge United v
Barrow, Ebbsfleet United v AFC Telford United, Forest Green Rovers v
Southport, Hereford United v Gateshead, Lincoln City v Tamworth, Newport
County v Alfreton Town, Nuneaton Town v Hyde FC, Stockport County v
Dartford, Woking v Macclesfield Town, Wrexham v Kidderminster Harriers
(5.15pm – live on Premier Sports).
Tuesday 16 April: Ebbsfleet United v Tamworth, Forest Green Rovers v
Dartford, Gateshead v Stockport County, Hereford United v Mansfield Town,
Luton Town v Newport County (live on Premier Sports), Woking v Grimsby Town,
Wrexham v Braintree Town.
Thursday 18 April: Luton Town v Ebbsfleet United.
Saturday 20 April: AFC Telford United v Hereford United, Alfreton Town v
Forest Green Rovers, Barrow v Braintree Town, Dartford v Nuneaton Town,
Gateshead v Ebbsfleet United, Grimsby Town v Newport County, Hyde FC v
Lincoln City, Kidderminster Harriers v Stockport County, Macclesfield Town v
Cambridge United, Mansfield Town v Wrexham, Southport v Luton Town, Tamworth
v Woking (all games kick-off at 5.15pm).

BARROW’S RESULTS AND FIXTURES DURING APRIL
Monday 1 April    Barrow 1 Hyde FC 1
Wednesday 3 April    Barrow 1 Ebbsfleet United 1
Saturday 6 April    Barrow 0 Mansfield Town 4
Tuesday 9 April    Alfreton Town v Barrow
Saturday 13 April    Cambridge United v Barrow
Saturday 20 April    Barrow v Braintree Town

FAN POWER IS ALIVE AND KICKING – JUST ASK CHESTER FC
From http://footballblog.co.uk

Saturday 6 April saw one of the most studied football turnarounds completed
in record time and I for one was delighted to see Chester FC “return” to the
Conference just three years after going out of business. Cast your mind back
to March 2010, Chester City, as was, were in the Conference, unable to
complete fixtures, fans were boycotting games which in my opinion is the
death knell for start.! At the same time, the club were financially wrecked
with players going on strike and the future looked non-existent. It was a
difficult time for a club that had realistically been struggling for 20
years since they left their Sealand Road ground, then had to play for two
seasons at Macclesfield Town’s Moss Rose ground, a 70-mile round-trip as the
crow flies. Yo-yoing between the Football League and Conference did not do
them too many favours, as perhaps people expected too much from a club and
read too much into their potential at a time when they should have
consolidated and built on what they had.

The club went out of business and had to start from scratch, a bunch of
die-hard supporters refused to let the game die in the town and hastily got
a collective of supporters, professionals, businessmen and ex-players alike
to get a team name registered and raise funds to get a club restarted again
but without the baggage of its previous regime. The club successfully
applied to the Evo-Stik League and was admitted to Step four, the Evo-Stik
League Division One North, featuring sides such as Lancaster City, Cammell
Laird, Clitheroe and others.

In a way they were lucky to get admitted to such a high level as most new
clubs would have to apply at Step six or lower, just as Wimbledon, Maidstone
and Aldershot did. They secured the lease of the former club’s ground, The
Deva Stadium and backed by a tremendous amount of goodwill and support the
club gained three successive titles.

The game this weekend which saw Chester win 1-0 at home against Boston at
the Deva Stadium was watched by 3685 people, higher than several League Two
home games that took place on the same day and shows what potential they
will bring to the Conference Premier. A total of 33 wins and an unbeaten run
of 30 games shows that Neil Young’s team will not be any pushovers either.
Whoever takes on the sponsorship of the Conference levels of football will
surely be rubbing their hands at the prospect of a Conference Premier that
looks just as strong, if not stronger than its League Two counterpart. The
progress through the Leagues was swift but effective, yes they swept all
before them, but they re-learned their trade and have made friends
throughout the non-League pyramid, not to mention boosting the coffers of
many clubs with much-needed away gate revenue. Last season when I was at
Marine FC, Chester fans came to the game at the Arriva Stadium, they were
respectful to the level of football that they were at, knew their football
and contributed to the club’s Floodlight fund collection and that effect was
probably similar at lots of clubs at that level.

For me though, the “return” of Chester to a high level of football shows a
lot more than a club being able to steamroller through Divisions on a
momentum of support and results, it shows eternal hope to fans of many clubs
who are struggling or out of touch, or just living on borrowed time. It
shows that however much a business or owner can get their hands into a club,
the power of a club’s support can ultimately decide whether a club lives or
dies. It provides credence to the belief that fan power still exists and
that whatever situation a club finds itself in, in this modern age of
football there is always hope. I’m not for one minute saying that fans of
clubs in severe trouble should start AFC clubs or abandon their own to
re-start for the sake of re-starting but it does show that fans of clubs
like Darlington 1883, Scarborough Athletic, AFC Halifax Town and so on are
not joking when they say that they will be back. Chester provide a prime
example of what a well run fan orientated and operated club can achieve.

VIEW FROM THE DUGOUT
By Ash Hoskin, Barrow AFC assistant-manager, from the Barrow v Mansfield
Town programme

Games don’t come any bigger than this afternoon’s match. Mansfield are
flying and have their sights on the Conference title and a place back in the
Football League. For us it is all about survival at this level.

We definitely owe them one for what happened at their place. Looking at
their match programme, they are strong from 1 to 30 and could select a
couple of very good sides. But the good thing is we tend to do better
against teams at the top of the table. Our great fans will be behind us and
we have got to put a shift in. The one thing me and Dave won’t put up with
is the lack of desire that we showed in the first half against Ebbsfleet on
Wednesday. We got bullied because they were a big team and we couldn’t cope
with the physical side of it. Without the great saves from Danny Hurst we
would have been thumped. But what hurt me and Dave most was that lack of
desire. The Ebbsfleet players had been on a bus for ten hours yet came out
of the traps flying. They wanted it more than us and when that happens in
football you have got to start asking questions.

Our supporters turned out again and I thought it was a great crowd
considering we had had a home game two days earlier. They were patient
waiting for the delayed kick-off – and then we put up that showing in the
first half. Totally unacceptable. I am not a shouter or a screamer, I like
to be more constructive over what we are not doing and what we can do to
make ourselves better. So at half-time I spoke about desire. If you get
beaten by a better footballing team, you have to hold your hand up. But it
is unacceptable when your failing is because of desire. We obviously felt
down in the dressing-room but we changed our shape and got amongst them. I
was pleased with the reaction. We came to grips with things and played a
higher tempo.

Danny made a couple more good saves but Boyesy had two one-on-ones and the
keeper saved one and in the other his first touch let him down. On top of
that there were two or three scrambles in their box and at the end of the
day we could have finished with a win. Against Hyde I thought it was two
points dropped but the way the game with Ebbsfleet panned out, I thought it
was a point gained considering Danny made save after save. So we kick on
from here. Our fate is still in our hands and if we all pull together we
will finish clear of that bottom four. So some more of your great support
and encouragement please. Stick with us. and keep the faith.

AROUND THE PREMIER
By Phil Yelland, from the Barrow v Stockport County programme

There is plenty of news to catch up on from around the League since our last
home game.

AFC Telford: It’s all change in the hot-seat again at AFC Telford, manager
Mark Cooper resigned after just thirty days in charge to take up a post as
assistant to newly-appointed Swindon Town boss Kevin McDonald in League One.
Cooper’s tenure had not seen a win for the Shropshire side but performances
had improved. He will be replaced by former caretaker Graham Hyde, who is
likely to take charge for the rest of the season. Cooper’s last move when
with the club was to sign former Kilmarnock defender Simon Ford on loan from
title-chasing Grimsby Town for the rest of the season, Ford joined the
Mariners last summer from Chesterfield but has not appeared in the first
team since.

Alfreton Town: Boss Nicky Law faced a keeper crisis last month when
first-choice Phil Barnes picked up an injury. Law has therefore brought in
teenager Jordan Pickford on loan from Premiership Sunderland. Pickford has
performed at this level before as last season he spent a spell on loan with
Darlington and they fought for their very existence.

Braintree Town: The latest addition to Alan Devonshire’s squad is teenage
midfielder Steve Smith who has signed initially on a one-month loan from
Leicester City of the Championship. Smith can also play in central defence.

Cambridge United: It seems as if England “C” international goalkeeper
Jonathon Hedge’s time at Cambridge is coming to a close as manager Richard
Money has made it clear he is looking for either a new number one or cover
for Craig Ross. Hedge seems to have lost form and it seemed as if the
problem had been solved temporarily with a deal to bring in young Finnish
keeper Jesse Joronen from Premiership Fulham but that deal fell through when
the Finn indicated he was not prepared to start life with the U’s on the
bench. Striker Michael Gash has been loaned to title-chasing Kidderminster
Harriers until, the end of the season – that might yet become a permanent
move and as a result, Harriers striker Nathan Blissett, who signed a new
deal not long ago, has joined United on a one-month loan.

Forest Green Rovers: It’s a case of one in and one out for Rovers as they
continue their push for the play-offs. It’s a case of an old face returning
in experienced midfielder Lee Fowler after an absence of just over twelve
months. He left the club to join Fleetwood Town in their quest for the Blue
Square Bet Premier title last season and in the summer, he joined Doncaster
Rovers in League One. He has been loaned to Rovers for the rest of the
season. One player who will not feature again this season is striker Rhys
Styce. He has got seriously damaged knee ligaments and may be ruled out of
action for up to nine months.

Ebbsfleet United: The off-the-field challenges for the Kent side seem to be
continuing as membership of the club has dropped below 1000 for the first
time – when the ambitious fan-ownership scheme commenced several years ago,
they attracted 32,000 members. The challenge is how the club goes forward
with reports suggesting that there seem to be few potential investors and a
possible sale to the Supporters Trust at the stage of impasse.

Gateshead: It is going to be a very tough end to the season after the
decision was reached that their home ground the International Stadium would
not be fit to play again this season. They had arranged to play a number of
home games at the ground of Hartlepool United of League One, but last
Tuesday’s home game against Kidderminster Harriers was played at York, and
on Saturday, they entertained Hyde at Blyth Spartans Croft Park ground.
Whilst other games are scheduled for Hartlepool, there are three more games
which will need to be played elsewhere. Gateshead Thunder Rugby League club
are also affected by the pitch problems and they are to play their first
home game of the season at Hull KR’s ground!

Grimsby Town: The only change to the Mariners squad in recent weeks has seen
the departure of experienced defender Simon Ford. Ford had played virtually
no part since joining the club last summer and he has now joined AFC Telford
on loan for the rest of the season.

Hereford United: Boss Martin Foyle has added one player to his squad at this
stage by bringing in versatile Joe Connor on loan from League rivals
Stockport County. Connor returned to Stockport last season after a spell in
the USA and can play in central defence or attack.

Hyde FC: Tigers boss Scott McNiven is continuing to work with his young
squad to try to find consistency. His first new player is also a return of
an old face. Yong striker Danny Broadbent was allowed to join Mossley of the
Evo-Stik First Division North in late January but one-month on, he has left
Seel Park and returned to Ewen Fields. He scored on his return as a
substitute in the 5-1 defeat at Alfreton Town. The second signing is
experienced midfielder Jamie Milligan, who has spent most of his career with
Fleetwood Town, but has not been in the first-team picture recently. He
joins on loan from the League Two side for one month.

Kidderminster Harriers: Just one change to the Harriers squad in recent
weeks sees the arrival of the experienced striker Michael Gash who has also
played as this level for Ebbsfleet United and York City joining on loan for
the rest of the season. At the same time, young Harriers striker Nathan
Blissett has moved to Cambridge United on loan for a month to boost their
squad.

Lincoln City: The Red Imps battle for survival is to be spear-headed by
former Macclesfield Town boss Gary Simpson who has been appointed for the
rest of the season. Simpson has no experience at this level, but when he was
with Macclesfield, he was use to scrapping it out for Football League
survival. Simpson also had a spell as assistant manager of City in their
Football League days when the late Keith Alexander was their manager. One
player he will have available to help him is midfielder Jake Jones whose
loan from League One side Walsall has been extended for the rest of the
season. Simpson’s first signing for the club was experienced defender Nat
Brown who previously had a loan spell at Sincil Bank. He joins on loan again
from Macclesfield Town for the rest of the season. He has been joined at
Sincil Bank by Macclesfield colleague midfielder Tony Diagne who will also
be on loan for the rest of the season. One player leaving the Red Imps is
former skipper Gary Mills. He has been released having not appeared in the
first team this year due to injury.

Luton Town: If the departure of Paul Buckle as manager of the Hatters was a
surprise, the appointment of long-serving Dagenham & Redbridge manager John
Still to take over on a two-and-a-half year deal was even more of a
surprise. Still had been in charge at Victoria Road for over nine years and
having led the Daggers into the Football League, he managed to keep them
there on minimal resources and took them to League One for a season. Still’s
immediate aim looks to be to get Town into the play-offs and to do that they
will need to start scoring goals again. That may explain his first signing
as he has brought in the highly-rated twenty-two year-old striker Alex Wall
on loan from Maidenhead United of Blue Square Bet South on loan for the rest
of the season with a view to a permanent move. Teenage defender Jake Goodman
has also joined the club for the rest of the season on loan from Millwall of
the Championship.

Macclesfield Town: Boss Steve King has allowed one player to leave the club
on loan. Skipper Nat Brown who has been a regular all season has been
allowed to join one of his former clubs Lincoln City on loan for the rest of
the season. In addition, midfielder Tony Diagne has also joined Lincoln City
on loan for the rest of the campaign.

Newport County: The main news from the Welsh side comes from off the field.
The club have agreed a ten-year lease with landlords Newport Gwent Dragons
Rugby club which will allow them to play their home games at Rodney Parade
for the next ten years. I think that deal would allow then to enter the
Football League if they were to win promotion. The arrangement this season
has clearly worked well and better than their previous home ground Spytty
Park where waterlogging was a problem.

Nuneaton Town: Boss Kevin Wilkin has taken steps to stabilise his squad for
the rest of the season by extending the loan deals of two young players from
League One neighbours Coventry City for the rest of the season. They are
twenty year-old goalkeeper Lee Burge who was so impressive against us last
month and defender Aaron Phillips. Meanwhile striker Kyle Patterson has
returned from a loan spell with Blue Square Bet North side Worcester City
and has now been loaned to Hednesford Town who are chasing promotion from
the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division.

Southport: There is a single new face in Liam Watson’s Southport squad but
the player has plenty of experience. Signing on non-contract terms is
midfielder Sean Clancy who was a member of the title-winning Fleetwood Town
squad last season. Over the summer Clancy joined Chester in Blue Square Bet
North, but having fallen out of favour, he was released before Christmas and
joined Kidderminster Harriers where his short spell included being sent-off
after coming on as a substitute.

Stockport County: There are two new young faces in the Stockport County
squad for the run in to the end of the season. The first is twenty year-old
midfielder Greg McDermott, son of former Liverpool, Newcastle United and
England midfielder Terry. He joins having previously been on the books of
Newcastle United. Another midfielder, Paul Marshall also joins following his
release by FC Halifax Town of Blue Square Bet North. At the same time,
former club skipper Joe Connor has been allowed to join League rivals
Hereford United on loan for a month.

Woking: Manager Gary Hill has added one new face to his squad with striker
Adam Francis joining on loan from Queen’s Park Rangers of the Premiership
for the rest of the season. Young Francis is the son of former England and
QPR star Gerry who recently completed a one-month loan with Staines in Blue
Square Bet South.

Wrexham: The Red Dragons player/boss Andy Morrell has signed two
battle-hardened veterans to help his squad for the League run-in and FA
Trophy Final. The first is thirty-seven year-old striker Dele Adebola who
has featured down the years for something like twenty senior clubs. Adebola
joined Rochdale of League Two last summer but his game time has been
restricted by the departure of manager John Coleman and the return to the
club as boss of Keith Hill. He will stay on loan for the rest of the season.
Defender Dave Artell was injured earlier in the season playing for
Northampton Town in League Two. He still lives near Wrexham and it has been
agreed he will join the Welsh side for a month, initially to gain fitness
and game time.

Barrow AFC, Wilkie Road, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, LA14 5UW. Telephone and
fax +44 (0)1229 823061, Mailto:office@barrowafc.com
Official Barrow AFC home page: http://www.barrowafc.com
Barrow AFC unofficial home page: http://www.barrowafc.net
Barrow AFC statistics page: http://www.barrowfc.com
Another Barrow AFC site: http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/furnessnet/index.htm
Barrow AFC blog: http://ascarisbrick.blogspot.com/
Bluebird Development Fund fundraising site: http://www.buy.at/bdf
BDF section on the club’s website: http://www.barrowafc.com/newsite/club/bdf.php
BDF contact email address: Mailto:bdfbafc@googlemail.com
National Supporters’ Club contact email address:
Mailto:daveleitch@btinternet.com
Furness Cavaliers: http://www.furnesscavaliers.co.uk
Askam United: http://www.askam-united.co.uk
Dalton United: http://www.daltonunited.co.uk
Furness Premier Football League:
http://football.mitoo.co.uk/News.cfm?LeagueCode=FPFL2010
The Evening Mail’s web site: http://www.nwemail.co.uk
The National Football Archive: http://www.enfa.co.uk
Lancashire Football Association: http://www.lancashirefa.com
Official Conference site: http://www.footballconference.co.uk
Conference grounds: http://www.footballgroundguide.com/conference/index.htm
Walney Island: http://www.walney-island.com and http://www.walneyisle.co.uk
Barrow Council’s events website: http://tinyurl.com/cqqxr6o
Official Barrow Rugby League site: http://www.barrowrlfc.com
BBC Radio Cumbria: North, east and west 95.6FM, south 96.1FM, Whitehaven and
Keswick 104.1FM, Kendal 95.2FM and Windermere 104.2 FM. AM; north 756 AM,
south 837 AM and west 1458 AM:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cumbria/sport/barrow_afc/index.shtml
Live broadcast: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/bbc_radio_cumbria/
Barrow Sports Council: http://www.barrowsportscouncil.org.uk
Links to the above and other Barrow and Furness related sites:
http://www.holker.st/linkpage.htm
The weather in Barrow: http://news.bbc.co.uk/weather/forecast/2070

The Holker Street Newsletter 2899

This episode will be of  interest to Gatehead FC, Kidderminster Harriers, Lincoln City and any BSP stattos looking for old and obscure results data.

So to cut to the chase another look at the goings from a Barrow FC point of view courtesy of the Holker Street Newsletter from Ralph. Imps should take a look at Kidderminster Harriers correspondent  Ian Nash’s article (second story) entitled EARLY SEASON and the Gateshead new stadium update is third from the bottom.

Cheers Ralph from in New Zealand

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HOLKER STREET NEWSLETTER 2899 – 24 AUGUST 2012

Barrow’s game on Saturday at home to Alfreton Town can be viewed as
particularly significant, as here we are three games into the new season,
and we only have two points on the board, by virtue of drawing the first two
games of the season, and we only have one goal in our goals-for column on
the League table, scored during our 3-1 defeat last Saturday. Our visitors,
Alfreton are one place below us in the table, but with only one point on the
board (earned from a 3-3 home draw with Southport), so at this early stage
of the season, we need to start picking up points against sides who have had
a worse start to the season, and there are aren’t many clubs like this, but
Alfreton are one of them.

In Thursday’s Mail, Dave Bayliss makes clear how important he sees this
game: “We have to start putting wins on the board, that is the main thing,
ourselves and Alfreton are in a group of teams who will be fighting for the
same thing this season – to stay in the League. There is no getting away
from that. Already, four matches into the new season, this is a huge, huge
game against Alfreton. The lads are well aware of that. We have told them in
training this week, it’s a must-win game on Saturday. They know how
important it is.”

And don’t forget, Barrow will be wearing their white-and-blue home kit, and
not the black-and-white pre-season strip, after the quirks delaying its
arrival have been sorted.

Dave Bayliss has been going through his little black book seeking out
players who would slip into the Barrow side, and he told the Mail: “Ruthers
has been playing with stitches in his shin. He had stitches put in last week
after the game at Hyde. He’s been playing under a lot of pain. We need to do
better out wide in games. We are not getting enough balls into the box, I
don’t think we’ve made enough in-roads in those areas of the pitch. I think
we’ve looked a bit one-dimensional. We look a bit short in that position and
we’re trying to work on improving that at the moment. Hopefully we will get
the go-ahead to bring one or two players in before the weekend, to freshen
things up.”

As for the new arrival from Bradford City, Dean Oversen, who has been signed
on a one-month youth loan deal to provide cover for Matty Flynn, Bayliss
tells us: “I’ve seen Dean play for Bradford, both me and (Barrow coach) Ash
(Hoskin) have seen him and know about him. He will give us defensive cover.
Ben needs to play games, He wasn’t gaining any experience by not playing.”

And in news that really should be on the club’s website (part 235 of a
continuing series), the Mail reports: “The Barrow AFC supporters’ car boot
sale held in Urswick on Sunday raised GBP440, which will be handed over to
the club in the near future. The sale was organised by Bluebirds fan Sheila
Tyson”.

Finally, I think most people were disappointed at the attendance (1087) for
out first (and so far only) home game of the season, and I can’t help
noticing how many went to watch Chester FC’s first home game of the season,
a 1-0 victory over our county cousins, Workington mid-week, 3007, in the
Blue Square Bet North. It will be interesting to see what attendance Barrow
get for this Saturday’s game, granted it’ll be significantly less that
graced the Chester game, but I hope it’s not too much to ask for more than
were at the Barrow v AFC Telford game.

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EARLY SEASON
From Ian Nash, our Kidderminster correspondent

I’m not talking about the start of Kidderminster’s season until I’m not so
embarrassed to do so! Seriously though, I’m not yet suicidal. We have had
three hard matches:

Lincoln (away) were a very poor side. They scored a gift goal and then
shut-up shop for the remainder of the first half and all the second half. No
excuses, they were there for the taking and we couldn’t take advantage.

Luton (home) were really impressive and Harriers also played well. We lost
to the better team and the big difference was a certain Mr Fleetwood, who
converted two cracking half-chances into brilliant goals.

Mansfield (home) were again there for the taking and Harriers led twice
having dominated for much of the game. They didn’t use their heads however.
In trying to finish the match on a high, the new defence was caught up-field
and completely out of position (not only once but twice) and threw the match
away. Incidentally, the referee for this match should have been selected
more carefully. In the corresponding fixture last season we had a player
seriously injured, requiring the air ambulance (thankfully he survived), as
the result of what appeared to the majority of fans to have been an assault.
The referee saw it differently but, if he had dealt with persistent,
unacceptable tactics throughout that match, maybe he wouldn’t have lost
control. The ref on Saturday was weak and those same unacceptable tactics
were allowed to persist, it spoilt the match for me.

The Kidderminster manager needs to do a bit of tinkering but, it’s early
days and I think the players should learn from mistakes. If not, we’re in
trouble! We’ll see?

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SOME THOUGHTS ON THE WOKING GAME
By Dave Leitch

The first period yesterday at Woking was good. Barrow playing the ball on
the ground, and we scored a great goal by Hunter and were unlucky to hit the
post three times.

It was really hot weather. Too hot for some Barrow players in the second
half and the three substitutions didn’t work. Barrow were outplayed more and
more as the game went on. Not a disastrous afternoon football-wise, but
Barrow will have to play a bit better if they are to rise up the League
table.

TRAVELLING AWAY
The Independent Supporters Club (ISC) are running a coach to Barrow’s away
game against Macclesfield Town on Bank Holiday Monday 27 August, leaving
Ramsden Square at 10am, with seats priced at GBP15 for ISC members and GBP18
for non-members, as always, other pick-ups can be arranged en route if
required. To book, contact Stuart on 07791268705, and as always, there is an
alcohol ban on all ISC coaches.

BDF MATTERS
The Bluebird Development Fund (BDF) carry out a considerable amount of
sterling work to raise much-needed funds for Barrow AFC, and Richard Ingham
has been in touch with some more details.

First up is a plan to provide a subscription service for Barrow programmes
this season, whilst it’s planned to have only home programmes available this
way, if demand exists, then it will be extended to programmes from away
games as well.

Then they are running a scheme where supporters can make pledges on Barrow
games (wins for the season, points gained, individual scorers, etc), and
have options to pay by the game, monthly or at the end of the season.

Then we have the scheme where supporters can have the opportunity to sponsor
pitch squares at GBP10, pages in the programme at GBP20 and player’s kit
(home GBP50 and away GBP50).

So, if you are interested in any of these, why not drop an email to Richard
at either bdfbafc@googlemail.com or richardaingham@googlemail.com

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BARROW’S LEAGUE RESULTS AND FIXTURES DURING AUGUST
Saturday 11 August        Barrow 0 AFC Telford United 0    1087
Tuesday 14 August        Hyde FC 0 Barrow 0            798
Saturday 18 August        Woking 3 Barrow 1            1373
Saturday 25 August        Barrow v Alfreton Town
Monday 27 August        Macclesfield Town v Barrow (3pm)

ALFRETON TOWN’S RESULTS SO FAR
Tuesday 17 July    Alfreton Town 1 Barnsley 3         671
Saturday 21 July    Alfreton Town 0 Leeds United 2     830
Wednesday 25 July     Alfreton Town 0 Notts County 0     618
Saturday 28 July     Alfreton Town 0 Burnley 3        366
Tuesday 31 July     Sutton Town AFC 2 Alfreton Town 2
Friday 3 August     Alfreton Town 2 Chesterfield 1    1013
Saturday 11 August     Stockport County 1 Alfreton Town 1    3448
Tuesday 14 August     Alfreton Town 3 Southport 3        562
Saturday 18 August     Alfreton Town 0 Hereford United 3    690
Saturday 25 August     Barrow v Alfreton Town

MACCLESFIELD TOWN’S RESULTS SO FAR
Tuesday 24 July    Nantwich Town 5 Macclesfield Town 1
Saturday 21 July    Witton Albion 1 Macclesfield Town 1
Wednesday 25 July    Buxton 0 Macclesfield Town 6
Saturday 21 July    Colwyn Bay 0 Macclesfield Town 2
Wednesday 1 August     New Mills 1 Macclesfield Town 6
Saturday 4 August     Macclesfield Town 2 FC United of Manchester 0
Friday 10 August    Hereford 2 Macclesfield Town 1        2139
Tuesday 14 August    Macclesfield Town 2 Wrexham 0         2368
Saturday 18 August     Macclesfield Town 2 Dartford 0        1420
Saturday 25 August     Lincoln City v Macclesfield Town
Monday 27 August    Barrow v Macclesfield Town

HolkerStreet.png
THIS WEEK’S BLUE SQUARE BET PREMIER FIXTURES
Friday 24 August: Stockport County v Gateshead (7.45pm).
Saturday 25 August: Barrow v Alfreton Town, Braintree Town v Newport County,
Dartford v Kidderminster Harriers, Forest Green Rovers v Woking, Hereford
United v Ebbsfleet United, Lincoln City v Macclesfield Town, Luton Town v
AFC Telford United, Mansfield Town v Hyde FC, Nuneaton Town v Cambridge
United, Southport v Tamworth (all 3pm), Wrexham v Grimsby Town (live on
Premier Sports 5.15pm).

Monday 27 August: AFC Telford United v Stockport County, Alfreton Town v
Nuneaton Town, Cambridge United v Dartford, Ebbsfleet United v Luton Town,
Gateshead v Lincoln City, Grimsby Town v Mansfield Town, Hyde FC v
Southport, Kidderminster Harriers v Forest Green Rovers, Macclesfield Town v
Barrow, Newport County v Hereford United, Tamworth v Wrexham (all 3pm).
Tuesday 28 August: Woking v Braintree Town (7.45pm).
Saturday 1 September: Barrow v Kidderminster Harriers, Braintree Town v
Tamworth, Dartford v Alfreton Town, Forest Green Rovers v Hyde FC, Hereford
United v Grimsby Town, Lincoln City v Ebbsfleet United, Luton Town v
Macclesfield Town, Mansfield Town v Woking, Nuneaton Town v Gateshead,
Southport v AFC Telford United, Stockport County v Cambridge United, Wrexham
v Newport County.

THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL ARCHIVE AT WWW.ENFA.CO.UK
I’ve received this and thought it would be of interest, whilst the site is
free to use, there are sections available for a fee, but I still thought it
worthy of a plug as those that are free are worth looking at.

What is it?
A complete database of English club football from 1888/89 season to the
present day. It combines the match-by-match line-up and scorer databases of
Tony Brown with the player database of Michael Joyce to ensure that every
“John Smith” is correctly identified. The first phase product provides
individual match details and the full player database.

The criterion for an entry in the database is that the games are played by
clubs who are members of the Football League and Premier League in the
season concerned. There are 400,000 line-ups, 600,000 goal scorers and
40,000 players.

In later phases we hope to include match videos, newspaper reports and
photographs, all by arrangement with the copyright holders.

Is it free to use?
The results and dates of all English club competitions are free to access.
Full match and player details require a GBP5 daily or GBP32 annual
subscription. In later phases of development, items such as video highlights
of matches will also attract an additional charge, on a ‘pay-per-view’
basis.

When is it available?
Phase one will launch in August 2012 (ie now).

What is included in the Phase One offering?
Unlike cricket, football has never had a definition of ‘first class’. The
database designers have therefore created a number of ‘groups’ into which
each game is classified. The phase one database includes groups A to G
below. They are all viewed as ‘first-team’ games in organised competition
(and therefore not ‘friendly’ games). By adopting this structure, we are
able to extend the database to any other areas our readers may suggest
(given time and resources of course!).

Group A: Football League and Premiership, excluding 1939/40 and club’s
abandoned seasons (e.g. Wigan Borough, Aldershot).

Group B: FA Cup: Matches played by a Football League club (in the year in
question) in any round (including Qualifying and Intermediate Rounds).
Includes 1945/46 season.

Group C: Football League Cup.

Group D: European club tournaments (but not Inter-Toto and Supercup/World
Club Cup events, which are in Group G).

Group E: Play-off and test matches.

Group F: Full and Associate Members Cups (such as the Johnstone’s Paint
Trophy).

Group G: Other official tournaments organised by FIFA, UEFA, the Football
League and the FA. At present, these are:
The Charity/Community Shield
Anglo-Italian Cup (1970-73, 1993-96)
Anglo-Scottish Cup
Anglo-Italian League Cup Winners Cup (1970-72)
Screensport Super Cup
InterToto
World Club Cup
UEFA Super Cup
FIFA Club World Cup
Third Division North and South Cups
Watney Cup
Football League Group Cup/Trophy (1982, 1983)
(Texaco Cup 1971-75)
Mercantile Credit Centenary Trophy (1988)
FA Cup third-place games (1970-74)

There are many other groups that may be added in later phases:
Group H: “Commemorative games”(FL Jubilee Fund games, Empire Exhibition Cup,
FL Centenary Everton v Bayern Munich, Festival of Britain)

Group I: Regional competitions not under the auspices of the FL (Alliance
1889-92, Combination 1888/89, Southern Professional Floodlit Cup, United
Counties League 1893-95)

Group J: Pre-season tournaments (Makita etc)

Group K: Charity Cups (Bass Charity Vase etc)

What details are provided?

For matches:
Date and place of game
Attendance (Football League official figures 1925/26 to 2001/02, and
newspaper reports)

Competition
League Division or Cup Round
The match result and half-time score if known
The eleven starting players for each team, and any substitutes used
The scorers, with goal times if known

The phase one project will be launched with some minor details omitted. We
intend to provide more goal times, half-time scores, ‘which substitute
replaced what player’, names of own-goal scorers and referee’s names as ‘on
going’ projects by the database maintenance team.

For players:
Full name and ‘name known by’
Date of birth and year of death
Place of birth
Summaries of clubs, seasons played, with appearance, substitute and goal
totals

Other features of the database:
A calendar is provided, to show match results and League tables on any date
A ‘club v club’ section allows games between any two clubs to be listed

What is the work in progress?
The database is built from player details and individual match data. As part
of the validation exercise, the seasonal appearance and goals totals from
the player database has been compared with the totals calculated from the
match data. We found around 2000 differences. This may sound a lot, but it
is actually less than 1% of the whole data set. We are steadily working
through the list, making changes to the database
as we go, but under controlled conditions and in hopefully consultation with
club experts.

Also, we have 50 examples of scorers who are not in the line-up. This is
usually because the line-up grid is incorrect, but correcting the game in
which the problem arises is not always sufficient; other games may also be
wrong.

GATESHEAD FRUSTRATED BY STADIUM DELAYS
From The Newcastle Chronicle

Chairman Graham Wood insists Gateshead’s plans for a new stadium remain “on
track.” However, he admits to having been left frustrated by delays in the
progress of the venture. Despite a solid start to the Blue Square Bet
Premier season, just 531 turned up at the 11,800-capacity International
Stadium for Saturday’s home game against Forest Green Rovers. The club needs
crowds of around 3000 to break even at the International Stadium. The new
purpose-built ground – proposed for Prince Consort Road on the site of the
old North Durham Rugby and Cricket Club opposite the Civic Centre – would
help alleviate that shortfall. Two sets of tenants have thus far fallen
through, but Wood is confident a third option is nearing fruition.

He said: “The stadium is still progressing, although much slower than I or
anyone else would like. “However, we are still on the right track and it is
hugely important we get there. We really could not sustain a team at the
same level at the International Stadium for as long as we could at a new
purpose-built stadium. It opens up an awful lot more avenues for us. If we
are going to have a sustainable future, we cannot expect me to bankroll it
forever. My pockets are not that deep! Moving to a new stadium always brings
the crowds in and in our case a purpose-built football stadium will create a
better atmosphere. Progress is slow, frustratingly so, but we are moving
forward.”

GRIMSBY TOWN’S SEASON-TICKET SALES
From the official Grimsby Town website

Final sales before the Blue Square Bet Premier League season got underway
last weekend saw season-ticket sales hit a three-season high with a total
number of 1841 sold, a fabulous 140 fans up on last year. The receipts also
have topped GBP300,000 – over GBP18,000 up on last year’s season-ticket
campaign. A massive thank you to all those fans who have bought a
season-ticket, the club couldn’t survive without you!

LOOK BACK AT SEASON 1992-93: HFS LOANS LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION
From Terry Kendall

September 9 1992, Fleetwood Town 2 Barrow 2
Fleetwood: Thornley, Hughes, Lovelle, Haydock, Gerrard, Walsh, Lancashire,
Moran, Diggle, Trainor, Madden. Subs: Longrigg, Murphy (Used)
Barrow: Armfield, Edwards, Wiggins, Rowlands, Skivington, Oldroyd, Doherty,
Messenger, Brady, Rigby, McKenna. Subs: McHugh, Proctor (Unused).
Goals: John Brady 5, Craig Madden 9, 56 Kenny McKenna 22.
Ref: R. Grayson (Burnley). H/t: 1-2. Att: 498.

Barrow AFC, Wilkie Road, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, LA14 5UW. Telephone and
fax +44 (0)1229 823061, Mailto:office@barrowafc.com
Official Barrow AFC home page: http://www.barrowafc.com
Barrow AFC unofficial home page: http://www.barrowafc.net
Barrow AFC statistics page: http://www.barrowfc.com
Another Barrow AFC site: http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/furnessnet/index.htm
Barrow AFC blog: http://ascarisbrick.blogspot.com/
Bluebird Development Fund fundraising site: http://www.buy.at/bdf
BDF section on the club’s website: http://www.barrowafc.com/newsite/club/bdf.php
BDF contact email address: Mailto:bdfbafc@googlemail.com
National Supporters’ Club contact email address:
Mailto:dave.leitch@ukgateway.net
Furness Cavaliers: http://www.furnesscavaliers.co.uk
Askam United: http://www.askam-united.co.uk
Dalton United: http://www.daltonunited.co.uk
Furness Premier Football League:
http://football.mitoo.co.uk/News.cfm?LeagueCode=FPFL2010
The Evening Mail’s web site: http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Lancashire Football Association: http://www.lancashirefa.com
Official Conference site: http://www.footballconference.co.uk
Conference grounds: http://www.footballgroundguide.com/conference/index.htm
Walney Island: http://www.walney-island.com and http://www.walneyisle.co.uk
Official Barrow Rugby League site: http://www.barrowrlfc.com
BBC Radio Cumbria: North, east and west 95.6FM, south 96.1FM, Whitehaven and
Keswick 104.1FM, Kendal 95.2FM and Windermere 104.2 FM. AM; north 756 AM,
south 837 AM and west 1458 AM:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cumbria/sport/barrow_afc/index.shtml
Live broadcast: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/bbc_radio_cumbria/
Barrow Sports Council: http://www.barrowsportscouncil.org.uk
Links to the above and other Barrow and Furness related sites:
http://www.holker.st/linkpage.htm
The weather in Barrow: http://news.bbc.co.uk/weather/forecast/2070

Barrow FC Focus – Holker Street Newsletter

Barrow FC fan Ralph has been running the unofficial Holker Street Newsletter for some time now (any fans wishing to join please leave a comment and we will email you back with contact details for sign up) with issue 2884, dated July 31st just arriving in our email this morning. STMI subscribe and have found the HSN an invaluable source in order to  compile our Barrow in depth analysis.

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We will start with the up-to-date goings on, gossip and transfer dealing at Barrow and then give you the latest instalment of the thrice weekly Holker Street Newsletter,  remember you can get HSN straight to your email without fear of going on any spam lists.

Barrow AFC Logo No Background.png Barrow FC Focus

Barrow AFC Logo No Background.pngTransfers
IN- Obi Anoruo from Wrexham.
IN- Matt Flynn from Fleetwood.
OUT – winger Jack Mackreth to Macclesfield on a one-year deal.
OUT- Andy Cook to Grimsby Town

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Pre-season form

Sat 7 July    Barrow 2 Furness Select XI 0
Tues 10 July    Barrow 3 Workington 0, Chas Kendall Trophy, First Leg
Fri 13 July        Airbus UK Broughton P Barrow P (waterlogged pitch)
Sat 14 July    Airbus UK Broughton 2 Barrow 1
Mon 16 July    Warrington Town 1 Barrow 3
Thur 19 July    Barrow 3 Burnley Development Squad 0
Sat 21 July    Barrow 0 Carlisle United 4
Mon 23 July    Barrow 0 Morecambe 1
Fri 27 July        Workington 0 Barrow 0, Chas Kendall Trophy, 2nd leg

Summer recap ( most recent first)

Bayliss appears to have bagged a hatrick with centre-half Sean Hessey plus central midfield duo Alex-Ray Harvey and Garry Hunter are finally set to sign this week. Triallist and ex-York City striker Matthew Blinkhorn set to join. Ex-Burnley midfielder Alex-Ray Harvey, former Accrington centre-half Sean Hessey and ex-Morecambe central midfielder Garry Hunter look set to join after trials with the club.

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Former Wrexham striker Obi Anoruo signs whilst Richie Baker signs a new 1 year deal. TV Date – Home game against Hereford December 7th KO 7.45. Two ex-Imps, Danny Lloyd and Former Macc Captain & Centre-back Paul Morgan invited for pre-season training. Richie Baker signs new 1 year deal.Box-to-box midfielder and free Agent (Released this summer by Gateshead) Kris Gate looks set to join. Skelton made Captain for 2012/13.

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Barrow and Grimsby have avoided a tribunal over striker Andy Cook after the Mariners agreed to pay an undisclosed fee. Manager Dave Baylisswell on way to his planned 19 man squad as Richard Baker set to sign new deal when he returns from holiday. Macc Town captain & centre-half Paul Morgan in talks. Paul Rutherford has signed a new one-year deal.

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Released – Phil Bolland, Andy Nicholas, Kelvin Lomax, Cliff Moyo & Paul Smith, Robin Hulbert and Andy Ferrell

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New deals offered to 9 players: Danny Hurst and Shaun Pearson, defenders Gavin Skelton and Mike Pearson, midfielders Richie Baker and James Owen and striker Andy Cook,

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1 year deals agreed for 10 players – goalkeepers Danny Hurst and Shaun Pearson; defenders Gavin Skelton, Mike Pearson and Matt Flynn; midfielders James Owen and Richie Baker; winger Paul Rutherford and strikers Adam Boyes and Obi Anoruo

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Squad

Keepers

Danny Hurst and Shaun Pearson

Defenders

Matt Flynn Gavin Skelton Shaun Pearson

Midfielders

Richie Baker and James Owen, wingers Jack Mackreth and Paul Rutherford

Strikers

Obi Anoruo, Adam Boyes

The Holker Street Newsletter

2884 31st July 2012

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HOLKER STREET NEWSLETTER 2884 – 31 JULY 2012

Barrow drew 0-0 with their county cousins on Friday night, and with it have
won the Chas Kendall (Coral) Trophy 3-0 on aggregate, although it should be
pointed out, Barrow could only draw with what the Times and Star described
as a “depleted and injury-plagued Workington Reds”, Workington were without
their captain David Hewson, who has damaged cartilage in his right knee; Lee
Andrews was out with acute tendinitis; Anthony Wright was missing with an
impact injury and Kyle May limped off during the game with a twisted ankle.

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Next up is a trip across Morecambe Bay on Tuesday night to play Lancaster
City, who lost 3-2 at home to Kendal Town on Saturday, then, we have the
final pre-season friendly to look forwards to, a visit to Holker Street by a
Bolton Wanderers XI on Friday 3 August (7.30pm kick-off), and then it’s the
start of the League season on Saturday 11 August, with the visit of AFC
Telford United.

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THREE NEW SIGNINGS IMMINENT
From http://www.barrowaf.com

Barrow boss, Dave Bayliss, is confident that his squad will be bolstered by
the addition of three key players this midweek.

H seems to be a favourite letter as central-defender Sean Hessey, and
midfielders Alex-Ray Harvey & Garry Hunter are all close to agreeing
contracts at Furness Building Society Stadium. All have featured regularly
in pre-season so far having been released by Football League clubs in the
summer.

Hessey, 33, was formerly with Accrington Stanley and was a team-mate of
Bayliss in their Chester days. His other former clubs include Macclesfield,
Blackpool and Kilmarnock.

Harvey needs no introduction to Barrow fans having had a successful
three-month loan spell from Burnley in the Spring, however the Championship
outfit chose not to offer the 21-year-old a new deal.

Hunter, 27, had been a regular at Morecambe for the past nine seasons and
was somewhat surprisingly released despite featuring 40 times for the
Shrimps in League 2 and Cups last season. Bayliss said “We just need to dot
a couple of I’s and cross a T or two and then their contracts will be signed
in the next couple of days”. Bayliss also revealed he is closing in on three
half-season loan deals which he hopes to complete by the weekend.

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FROM BEHIND THEIR ELECTRONIC FENCES
From the official Workington AFC website

Darren Edmondson ran the rule over four more players as he continues to
shape his squad for the new season, now just three weeks away.

The well-known Wayne Curtis (ex Morecambe and Fleetwood Town amongst others)
was joined by the less famous trio of Dan Ting (ex Crewe Alexandra), Ellis
Healing (formerly with Tranmere Rovers) and Stephen Connor (who started at
Everton).

Of that quartet, left full-back Ting probably impressed the most in the
meaningless second leg of the Chas Kendall Trophy tie. Already three-goals
up from the Holker Street encounter, Barrow were never in serious danger of
letting their advantage slip but makeshift Reds will look at this result as
a moral victory.

They acquitted themselves as well as could be expected and there were
confidence-boosting performances from Aaran Taylor, the outstanding Kyle
May, rookie Sam Smith and revitalised Mark Sloan. Jonny Wright, Wirral-based
Connor and Sloan all had shots saved by Shaun Pearson in the first half,
while Barrow’s best effort saw Taylor comfortably hold Adam Boyes’ shot.

Barrow, fresh from a team-bonding exercise in Coniston, created more of the
chances after the break but Taylor made the save of the match to keep out
Sean Hessey’s fiercely-hit free-kick, and wasn’t really troubled by two Ben
Hoskin strikes and a weak effort from Boyes. The closest Reds came to
netting their first pre-season goal on home soil came via Connor’s
free-kick. He floated the ball into the box but Wright and Dan Wordsworth
got in each other’s way and a good opportunity was wasted.

Reds director, Dave Wilson, presented the trophy to former Workington
favourite and current Bluebirds skipper, Gav Skelton.

Workington: Taylor, Wordsworth, Ting, May (Arnison 84), S Smith (Rowntree),
Sloan, Healing (Hall 65), Curtis (J Smith 65), Wright (Scott 67), Connor,
Wraighte. Unused subs: Renyard, Routledge, Dixon.
Barrow AFC – Pearson S, Flynn, Skelton, Hessey, Pearson M, Owen, Rutherford,
Baker, Boyes, Hunter, Hoskin. Substitutes – Anorou, Harvey, Hurst and
Bayliss.

Referee: Mr Anthony Backhouse (Brampton).
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TAYLOR U-TURN?
From http://nonleague.pitchero.com and The Times & Star

Goalkeeper Aaran Taylor is expected to complete a U-turn and re-sign for
Blue Square Bet North club Workington. Boss Darren Edmondson is confident
his number-one summer target will return to Borough Park after failing to
land a deal with League One neighbours Carlisle United. Contracts have also
been offered to trialists Niall Cowperthwaite and Chris Wraighte, who have
starred during pre-season.

Edmondson needs to swell his ranks following the devastating news Lee
Andrews will miss at least three months of the season with acute tendinitis.
The defender needs an operation to correct the problem, which hampered his
form last year, and cannot be involved in any form of contact training until
October. Andrews was first diagnosed with a hernia, but experts have now
ruled the injury to be worse than expected.

“Negotiations are underway with Aaran. He was one of our stand-out
performers last year, and had to try his luck in the professional game,”
said Edmondson. “Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out for him this time, but
he is a great goalkeeper, and I hope he’ll rejoin us. Niall and Chris have
come in and proven themselves. Both have an incredible attitude. They want
to work, they listen and they’re learning all the time. We need players who
can play in a variety of roles, and these two offer us something different.
As good as it is to find players that fit in with what we want to do this
season, it’s extremely disappointing to lose Lee for so long. He’s been a
mainstay in this team for a couple of years now, and his absence will be
felt. Lee has suffered for a while now, and this injury needs to be dealt
with. There’s no contact for at least three months, and then he will have to
build himself back up to play. It’s a long process, but I believe Lee will
come through it and get back to his best.”
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TRAVELLING AWAY
The Independent Supporters Club (ISC) are again running coaches to Barrow’s
away games this season, and first up is the trip to Woking on Saturday 18
August, leaving Ramsden Square at 7am, seats are initially priced at GBP32
for ISC members and GBP35 for non-members, but if demand allows, this price
may be lowered on the day. Other pick-ups can be arranged en route if
required. Then we have the delights of Tameside to look forwards to, as our
next away game will be at Hyde FC on Tuesday 14 August, this time the coach
will pull out of Ramsden Square at 4.15pm, with the cost of a seat being
GBP12 for ISC members and GBP15 for non-members, and as was the case with
the coach to Woking, other pick-ups can be arranged. To book on either
coach, contact Stuart on 07791268705, and as always, there is an alcohol ban
on all ISC coaches.

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BENTLEY PLEASED WITH FRIENDLY WORKOUTS
From The Morecambe Visitor

“So far so good.” That’s the verdict of Morecambe boss Jim Bentley after
three pre-season friendlies in the past week produced two wins and a draw
for his side.

Victories over Preston and Barrow and a draw against Altrincham with no
goals conceded in those games have pleased Bentley who is now preparing for
some tough matches ahead against Bury, Bolton and Sheffield United in the
coming weeks.

Speaking after the Barrow win he said: “It’s worked well so far. We’ve been
able to mix the squads up and all the lads have had decent run outs. We’ve
had some good workouts and I’m happy with the performances. There are lots
of positives and I’m really pleased that we have picked up no knocks either
and it’s certainly a case of so far so good.”

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BARROW’S PRE-SEASON FRIENDLIES
Saturday 7 July    Barrow 2 Furness Select XI 0
Tuesday 10 July    Barrow 3 Workington 0, Chas Kendall Trophy, First Leg
Friday 13 July        Airbus UK Broughton P Barrow P (waterlogged pitch)
Saturday 14 July    Airbus UK Broughton 2 Barrow 1
Monday 16 July    Warrington Town 1 Barrow 3
Thursday 19 July    Barrow 3 Burnley Development Squad 0
Saturday 21 July    Barrow 0 Carlisle United 4
Monday 23 July    Barrow 0 Morecambe 1
Friday 27 July        Workington 0 Barrow 0, Chas Kendall Trophy, 2nd leg
Barrow won 3-0 on aggregate
Tuesday 31 July    Lancaster City v Barrow (7.45pm)
Friday 3 August    Barrow v Bolton Wanderers XI (7.30pm)
Saturday 11 August    Blue Square Bet Premier season begins

LANCASTER CITY’S PRE-SEASON FRIENDLIES
Saturday 7 July     Lancaster City 1 Dundee FC 2
Tuesday 17 July    Lancaster City 0 Stockport County 2
Friday 20 July     Lancaster City 1 Celtic Nation 4
Saturday 21 July    Euxton Villa 3 Lancaster City 3
Tuesday 24 July    Lancaster City 3 Garstang 0
Saturday 28 July    Lancaster City 2 Kendal Town 3
Tuesday 31 July    Lancaster City v Barrow AFC
Thursday 2 August     Lancaster City v Carnforth
Saturday 4 August     Lancaster City v Workington
Saturday 11 August     Lancaster City v Buxton XI

BARROW’S LEAGUE FIXTURES IN AUGUST
Saturday 11 August        Barrow v AFC Telford United
Tuesday 14 August        Hyde FC v Barrow (7.45pm)
Saturday 18 August        Woking v Barrow
Saturday 25 August        Barrow v Alfreton Town
Monday 27 August        Macclesfield Town v Barrow (3pm)

THE OPENING WEEK’S BLUE SQUARE BET FIXTURES
Friday 10 August: Hereford United v Macclesfield Town (live on Premier
Sports, 7.30pm).
Saturday 11 August: Barrow v AFC Telford United, Braintree Town v Hyde FC,
Dartford v Tamworth, Forest Green Rovers v Cambridge United, Lincoln City v
Kidderminster Harriers, Luton Town v Gateshead, Mansfield Town v Newport
County, Nuneaton Town v Ebbsfleet United, Southport v Grimsby Town,
Stockport County v Alfreton Town, Wrexham v Woking.
Tuesday 14 August: AFC Telford United v Forest Green Rovers, Alfreton Town v
Southport, Cambridge United v Lincoln City, Ebbsfleet United v Braintree
Town, Gateshead v Mansfield Town, Grimsby Town v Stockport County, Hyde FC v
Barrow, Kidderminster Harriers v Luton Town, Macclesfield Town v Wrexham,
Newport County v Nuneaton Town, Tamworth v Hereford United, Woking v
Dartford (all 7.45pm).
Friday 17 August: Hyde FC v Luton Town (live on Premier Sports, 7.30pm).

ALAN ALGER’S PRE-SEASON PREDICTIONS (PART ONE)
From http://www.bluesqfootball.com

In the first of three parts over the next three weeks – I’m starting my
predictions for next season’s Blue Square Bet Premier table by looking at
the bottom eight positions. As always with any article like this no offence
is intended to the teams, players and managers involved – this is just my
personal opinion on how the season will pan out. With the transfer window
still open there’s plenty of time for teams to change their fortunes before
the first ball is kicked.

Hyde FC: Shock winners of the Blue Square Bet North last season under Gary
Lowe. The manager that achieved that title success has now departed. We’ve
seen this happen in recent seasons in the South with Lewes losing Steve King
and Braintree Town losing Rod Stringer. Braintree did more than survive
under Alan Devonshire last season but I see Hyde’s fortunes mirroring that
of Lewes – who struggled at the bottom all season. Scott McNiven has
overcome huge battles outside of football and he will have the best wishes
of everybody as he embarks on his managerial career. He was also undefeated
in a caretaker spell at the club. A number of the younger players that
played some fantastic football last season have remained in the squad but a
tough League like the Premier may be a step too soon for some of them.
McNiven will need to try and find some players with experience to compliment
the raw talent we saw last season. Stefan Cox and Luke Ashworth who arrived
in midweek still keep the average age of the squad in the very low 20’s and
that’s a concern.

Where will they finish? Bottom four.

Barrow AFC: A few seasons ago I was told that my summer article which
predicted relegation for the Bluebirds was pinned to the dressing room wall
for motivational purposes. This will be their fifth consecutive season in
non-League’s top-flight since then. The last campaign they survived by their
biggest margin yet with a comfortable 13th place finish (19 points off
relegation). Previous seasons saw them survive by between four and seven
points each time. They also carry the incredible stat (which I’m told also
goes back to their Conference period in the 1980s) that no promoted team has
ever won at Holker Street during the season they’ve gone up! It’s their away
form that’s a worry though – with just eight wins in their last two seasons.
Form tailed off towards the end of last season and they averaged just one
point per game home and away from February 1 onwards. At the present moment,
their squad looks light and I anticipate a much stronger middle section of
the Division next year. That could return Barrow to those narrow margins of
their earlier feats of survival. Most likely a season that could end in
their departure back to the Blue Square Bet North but maybe another article
pinned to the door which might make me eat my words.

Where will they finish? Bottom four.

AFC Telford United: Finished in the last ‘safe’ spot last season but by a
reasonably comfortable margin of five points. They struggled on the road,
winning just one road game (at York) early in the season. Their defensive
record was one of the best in the bottom half of the table but they weren’t
able to build on that as their attack contributed an average of just under
one goal per game. Failing to score in exactly a third of their matches. The
clubs in 19th and 20th last season were effectively saved by the collapse of
both Kettering and Darlington. Whilst Newport who finished just one point
away in 19th could (and should) show improvement the same cannot be said of
Andy Sinton’s squad. They may just lack the additional quality to achieve
the two or three more wins they will need to be safe this time – especially
away from home. Sinton is a good manager who works with what he has on a
small budget and his best policy may be to rely on that decent defence and
grind out another campaign of safety. Where will they finish: Bottom four.

Dartford: Dartford won what was a far from vintage Blue Square Bet South
play-off Final back in May and having attended the game I thought they may
struggle with the step up to the Premier Division. There’s no doubt that
boss Tony Burman ensures that his squad are far greater than the sum of
their parts but it looks as though they may be in for a tough ride. The club
are certainly on the up and behind the scenes it’s impressive. If they do
manage to stay up then I can see them firmly establishing themselves in the
Division but this first season is absolutely key. Neighbours Ebbsfleet
United are the only other team in the Division that remain as recent South
play-off winners. Eastbourne Borough, Bath City, Hayes & Yeading, Salisbury
and St Albans have shown that whilst champions of that Division can prosper
(AFC Wimbledon, Newport) – promotion via the play-offs usually results in
going straight back down. That doesn’t usually happen right away, but
Dartford will have to be at their absolute best to ensure they don’t depart
at the first time of asking. They were a clear second in the South last year
and their home form will be an asset.

Where will they finish? Bottom four.

Ebbsfleet United: That stat about South play-off winners eventually ending
up back where they started will be a concern to Liam Daish’s outfit. On top
of that historical dent, Daish now has to cope with a squad that have lost
47 of the 69 League goals they scored last season in the transfer window. He
has moved to replace them with Moses Ashikodi and Nathan Elder, but the
latter has never been prolific and Ashikodi may have a one-man job on his
hands to ensure the Fleet’s survival. The fact they conceded 84 goals last
season (only four other clubs had a worse defensive figure) means that they
will have to find a way of limiting the damage at that end. They did what
they had to do last year and beat the clubs around them in the battle to
stay up. Ten of their 14 wins came against the teams in the bottom seven,
providing 30 of their 54 points on the way to 14th place finish. I think
they’ll be safe again but only by the skin of their teeth this time.

Where will they finish? Between 17th and 20th.

Tamworth: With margins of just seven, three and four points between them and
safety since re-joining the Division a few seasons ago, they are a club that
have to battle from the off. The ‘seven’ represents last season and their
best finish in terms of safety. It also coincided with their trip to Everton
in the FA Cup. The euphoria of that Cup run evaporated into a winless period
from February till the end of the season and Marcus Law must turn that
around in the player’s minds before this new season begins. They’ll have to
do things the hard way again and always face the prospect of not being able
to hold on to their best players. The signing of Peter Till from Fleetwood
is a good one and he should be able to create chances for their forward
line. That attack will include Jean-Paul Marna and a number of players that
are stepping up to this level. They need a good start like last season and,
despite the financial windfall, another Cup run could be a distraction from
the main job at hand. They should just about complete it.

Where will they finish? Between 17th and 20th.

Braintree Town: Alan Devonshire proved that there was plenty of life after
Rod Stringer as he took The Iron to an excellent top-half finish in their
first season at this level. September was a real highlight as Devonshire
earned the manager of the month accolade with a 100% record in six matches.
That ended with a home defeat to eventual champions Fleetwood and they
weren’t to record back-to-back League wins again until March. They ended
well and were comfortably assured of a mid-table finish long before the
season was over. Success brings its own problems and at smaller clubs that
will always be the loss of your best performers. Aswad Thomas took the eye
all year and earned himself a move to Grimsby Town – he played in 43 of
their 46 League games last season – the three he missed resulted in two
defeats and a draw. That’s ominous on top of the loss of Ben Wright to
Forest Green Rovers. Wright weighed-in with 17 goals in his 40 appearances
and will be much missed. His goals in amongst an attack that scored the
fourth highest number of away goals in the Division during that season. Both
players will need replacing and they’re very unlikely to finish in the
top-half this time.

Where will they finish? Between 17th and 20th.

Nuneaton Town: Blue Square Bet North play-off winners have a good recent
record in the Division, with the last four remaining in the section – or in
the case of Fleetwood plying their trade higher. Nuneaton have the set-up to
keep that trend going. The shocking injury to Mark Noon is a far from ideal
way of preparing for a tough campaign ahead. The captain now having to rely
on those he leaves behind while he recuperates to give him fighting chance
of making a contribution when he comes back. Kyle Perry joins Andy Brown in
attack, and without setting the Division alight they should have a solid
campaign which will result in safety. Their defence was a key asset last
season, conceding no more than a goal a game. This is a different Division
entirely but the principals remain the same and as long as they stay
organised they will stay up.

Where will they finish? Between 17th and 20th.

QUAKERS FIRST LEAGUE GAME A SELL-OUT
From The Northern Echo

Darlington 1883’s first game of the Ebac Northern League First Division
season at Bishop Auckland looks like being a sell-out with over 1000 tickets
already snapped up. With three weeks to go before the curtain-raiser, more
than half of the tickets have been sold for the game at the 2000-capacity
Heritage Park.

There will be no segregation at the August 18th fixture, which is a home
game for Bishops, but so far 993 tickets have been sold at Quakers’ club
shop in the Darlington indoor market and 300 at Heritage Park. News of the
ticket sales comes as Darlington’s promising pre-season continued thanks
hat-tricks from two different strikers ensured an emphatic 6-1 win over
Glasshoughton Welfare on Saturday. Three goals apiece from Shaun Reay and
Steven Johnson either side of half-time in West Yorkshire secured win number
four of the summer. Johnson has been on trial, but the former West Auckland
Town man is making it difficult for manager Martin Gray not to offer him a
chance with his home-town club.

100 OWNERS: NUMBER 86 – DOUGLAS CRAIG (YORK CITY)
From http://www.twohundredpercent.net

In May, York City beat Luton Town 2-1 in the Blue Square Bet Premier
play-off Final at Wembley Stadium, ending an eight-year long stay in
non-League football and the return of League football to one of the English
game’s more idiosyncratic venues, Bootham Crescent. For seventy-five years
between 1929 and 2004, York City had been stalwarts rather than starts of
the Football League, with two seasons in the Second Division between 1974
and 1976 being their sole stray from its bottom-two Divisions, but Bootham
Crescent, a short walk from the centre of the city, has long been a
favourite of many lower Division supporters, being as it is a traditional
English football ground set amongst rows of terraced houses and cobbled
stones. The club is likely to be leaving this home in the near future,
however, with planning permission having been agreed earlier this year for a
new home in the Monks Cross area of the city. Yet the stories of how York
City FC came to be relegated from the Football League and to be having to
find a new home can both be traced back to one man, former chairman Douglas
Craig.

Craig had been involved with York City since 1978, when he joined the club
as a director. A former chairman of the York Conservative Association who
was awarded an OBE in 1981, he had been the chairman of the club since 1991,
after former chairman Michael Sinclair was seriously injured in a car crash
during the 1990 World Cup Finals and, during his recovery, decided to give
up running this football club and become an Anglican priest instead. Craig
was always tolerated rather than adored. He had fifteen minutes of infamy in
1994 when he hit the headlines for being the only chairman to refuse to sign
up to the Kick It Out campaigns ten-point code of conduct for dealing with
racism inside football stadia, but was considered one of the great and the
good, a good burgher whose prudence took care of the club’s finances,
delivered a reasonably successful youth system and the occasional surprise
in the Cups, such as their victories against Arsenal in the FA Cup in 1985,
Manchester United in the League Cup in 1995 and Everton in the same
competition a year later.

By the end of the 1990s, however, dissatisfaction at his tenure as the
club’s chairman was growing. There was a campaign against him which was
becoming angrier, both with his stewardship of the club and the way in which
he interacted with its support. The tipping point came in July 1999, when
Craig wrote a letter to the share-holders of the club stating that he was to
transfer the ownership of Bootham Crescent into the name of a holding
company called “Bootham Crescent Holdings.” The reason for this, Craig
stated in the letter, was because of the FA’s Rule 34, an ancient rule put
in place to prevent directors from profiteering from the closure of clubs by
insisting that all profits from the sale of assets after the closure of a
club had to be paid to the FA’s Benevolent Fund or other charitable
organisations. This, Craig claimed, “could adversely affect the ability of
York City to continue playing football at Bootham Crescent”, and it was
already a fait accompli. He and three other directors already owned
ninety-four per cent of the shares in the club, and had already decided to
bypass this rule by transferring the ownership of the ground into the
ownership of a holding company. Bootham Crescent was subsequently “sold” to
BCH for a little under GBP166,000. In December 1999, Craig said with a
degree of prophecy which lays bare his intention from the outset: “In the
absence of any buyer therefore, I am more than happy to carry on but I
should point out that I do have an alternative. It is one, however, at which
I am sure all the decent loyal supporters of the club would be horrified
should I contemplate taking it. The alternative, put bluntly, is that I
should use my share-holding to start a campaign to close the club down”.

Over the following eighteen months or so, something surprising – although
perhaps with the benefit of hindsight, not so surprising – happened. York
City, who had previously been a club that had been run as a model of
prudence, went into absolute financial meltdown. This was a time of
difficulty for the club. It had, after all, been relegated from the Second
Division to the Third Division (now League Two) of the Football League at
the end of the 1998/99 season. By 2001, the club’s wage bill had topped
GBP2.2m or, to put it another way, 151% of its annual turnover being a
figure sufficiently dreadful to draw special attention from that summers
Deloitte & Touche report as the worst in either the Football League or the
Premier League. By the twentieth of December 2001, the club was put up for
sale, having lost GBP1.2m in the previous year, for GBP4.5m. Craig, for the
record, had taken his share-holding in the club to sixty-five per cent when
he purchased former chairman’s 123,000 shares in the club from Michael
Sinclair for 90p each in 1991.

The sale priced was based on the value of Bootham Crescent itself. In a
residential area close to the city centre, the GBP4.5m demanded for the club
and stadium reflected the ground’s perceived market value, based upon a
market valuation of GBP1m per acre. Far from securing the club, the transfer
to the holding company had come to mean that Craig and his three fellow
directors stood to share nearly GBP3.5m as a result of selling BCH and the
ground. Suddenly, that GBP166,000 spent on “buying” Bootham Crescent made
considerably more sense, as did the decision of the share-holders to turn
down a GBP1.5m bid for the club made by a group of local businessmen. It
also explained why, when the club was put up for sale, an alternative was
offered of buying the club only for GBP1, although, according to a statement
released by Craig three weeks later, “Any parties seeking to acquire the
ownership of the Football Club will be required to vacate the ground and
premises at Bootham Crescent.” In other words, the custodian had turned
asset-stripper.

This same statement had, however, a sting in the tail. Craig added that if
no buyer for the club was forthcoming by 31 March 2002, the club would
resign its position from the Football League. It was an unprecedented
announcement to make publicly. BCH would pay GBP1m towards renovating the
Huntingdon Stadium, an out-of-town stadium used by the city’s rugby league
club. The result was a predictable level of uproar from supporters, while
the York Evening Press, local appropriately plain-speaking local newspaper,
stated that, “York City fans have been betrayed. The directors call
themselves City fans. Today they sold the real fans down the river.” Within
three weeks later, a supporters’ trust had been formed to try and fight the
actions of the club’s directors. The trust wrote to the FA seeking
clarification of the intentions of Rule 34 and an answer to the question of
whether it could, as Craig had stated in his letter of 1999, “adversely
affect the ability of York City to continue playing football at Bootham
Crescent.” The response, received from the arguably appropriately-named Nic
Coward, head of legal matters and regulation, made it perfectly clear that
no-one within that body gave a damn what happened to the club. “Clubs have
in the past claimed that the existence of Rule 34 is a disincentive to
investment”, wrote Coward, “However, the rule persists.” Coward, for the
record, was appointed as the general secretary of the Premier League in
December 2010.

York’s supporters were on their own, then. The supporters’ trust couldn’t
buy the club. There was no way that they could afford the GBP4.5m that BCH
were demanding for Bootham Crescent and buying it alone for GBP1 with
nowhere to play was not a viable option. The trust had meetings with Craig,
at which the possible reasons behind his behaviour became apparent. He had
come in for some abuse from a tiny minority of supporters in recent years,
and his reference to that was clear in telling them that, “This is pay-back
time.” When questioned on the morality of behaviour – considering that what
he had done was not actually illegal – his answer was as blunt as could be
imagined: “Don’t give me that morality cr@p.” On 15 March 2002, BCH sold
York City FC to a name that would go on to earn himself a chapter in this
series, one John Batchelor, but Batchelor had, in spite of a promise that he
would buy both the club and the ground, only purchased the club for the
nominal fee of GBP1. If anything, Batchelor’s ownership of the club only
pushed the club nearer to the grave, and by a week before Christmas 2002, it
was in administration.

Douglas Craig, meanwhile, had been busy. In the summer of 2002, Persimmon
Homes lodged a planning application to build ninety-two houses on the site
of Bootham Crescent, and it was later revealed that they had purchased ten
per-cent of the shares in BCH. Yet within twelve months of this, they were
starting to look for an exit route from their involvement in this sordid
little saga. They were receiving considerable amounts of bad publicity
locally, with a pressure group called Friends of Bootham Crescent now
actively campaigning against them, including turning up at their home
launches to protest against them. After a spell in administration, the
supporters’ trust had managed to raise enough money to propose a CVA and
take the club over, and in the summer of 2004, although York City had been
relegated from the Football League by this time, the trust managed to wrest
a GBP2m loan from the Football Foundation – the club had been entitled to
grants to this amount under Craig’s ownership for renovation, but these had
never been taken up – and agreement was reached for York City to stay at
Bootham Crescent “for the foreseeable future.” In May of this year, with
“for the foreseeable future” having apparently been defined as ten years
from 2004, planning permission was granted for a new ground to be built on
the site of the Huntington Stadium.

In the summer of 2006, the supporters’ trust gave up ownership of the club
to Jason McGill, one of those that had worked so hard to save Bootham
Crescent several years earlier. It wasn’t an ideal situation for the trust,
but they had found it difficult to break even in the Football Conference and
they do at least retain a twenty-five per-cent share-holding in the club.
Douglas Craig got his money, but lost York City FC, and not merely the
ownership of it. His name will remain dirt amongst the club’s supporters.
Another reputation perhaps damaged beyond repair was that of Barry Swallow,
captain of the team that played in the Second Division against Manchester
United and Aston Villa in the mid-1970s, who was one of the directors who
profited from the sale and did absolutely nothing to temper the asset-strip
carried out on his behalf by BCH. He turns seventy years-old next week, but
it is unlikely that he will be particularly welcome back at Bootham Crescent
in the foreseeable future, but it is Craig that is the real villain of the
near-death of York City Football Club. Brought into the club as one of the
city’s great and good, his legacy was ruined by the pursuit of money over
morality – which, as we will see as this series progresses, a common enough
human failing. As it prepares for life back in the Football League again
this summer, though, those connected with York City FC may well pause to
consider how much better off they are without him anywhere near their club’s
management.

Barrow AFC, Wilkie Road, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, LA14 5UW. Telephone and
fax +44 (0)1229 823061, Mailto:office@barrowafc.com
Official Barrow AFC home page: http://www.barrowafc.com
Barrow AFC unofficial home page: http://www.barrowafc.net
Barrow AFC statistics page: http://www.barrowfc.com
Another Barrow AFC site: http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/furnessnet/index.htm
Barrow AFC blog: http://ascarisbrick.blogspot.com/
Bluebird Development Fund fundraising site: http://www.buy.at/bdf
BDF section on the club’s website: http://www.barrowafc.com/newsite/club/bdf.php
BDF contact email address: Mailto:bdfbafc@googlemail.com
National Supporters’ Club contact email address:
Mailto:dave.leitch@ukgateway.net
Furness Cavaliers: http://www.furnesscavaliers.co.uk
Askam United: http://www.askam-united.co.uk
Dalton United: http://www.daltonunited.co.uk
Furness Premier Football League:
http://football.mitoo.co.uk/News.cfm?LeagueCode=FPFL2010
The Evening Mail’s web site: http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Lancashire Football Association: http://www.lancashirefa.com
Official Conference site: http://www.footballconference.co.uk
Conference grounds: http://www.footballgroundguide.com/conference/index.htm
Walney Island: http://www.walney-island.com and http://www.walneyisle.co.uk
Official Barrow Rugby League site: http://www.barrowrlfc.com
BBC Radio Cumbria: North, east and west 95.6FM, south 96.1FM, Whitehaven and
Keswick 104.1FM, Kendal 95.2FM and Windermere 104.2 FM. AM; north 756 AM,
south 837 AM and west 1458 AM:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cumbria/sport/barrow_afc/index.shtml
Live broadcast: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/bbc_radio_cumbria/
Barrow Sports Council: http://www.barrowsportscouncil.org.uk
Links to the above and other Barrow and Furness related sites:
http://www.holker.st/linkpage.htm
The weather in Barrow: http://news.bbc.co.uk/weather/forecast/2070