In yesterday’s Newsletter, there was a quote from Wednesday’s edition of the local Newcastle paper, The Evening Chronicle, after Barrow’s draw with Gateshead: “Barrow manager Kenny Lowe, meanwhile, is convinced his old club can win promotion to the Conference.” I haven’t seen anything of this ilk in the Evening Mail, in fact Kenny is usually at great pains to play down Barrow’s chances for this season, perhaps he thought no-one in Barrow would get to read the Newcastle paper, or perhaps he was just trying to wind Gateshead up. Who knows?
Today’s Newsletter carries details of the Cherry Tree Finance court case, and I have been contacted by someone close to the club to add some meat to these bones. The application was heard by a County Court District Judge (one down from a Circuit Judge) yesterday (8 December). What the club had hoped for was that the barrister instructed on behalf of the liquidator, would have read the papers and got round to drafting an application to the circuit judge, asking that the transfer of the ground be revoked. Sadly, he hadn't, so the best the club could expect was that the judge would agree to adjourn the possession application for a reasonable time. This he did, for 56 days. During that time the liquidator must file his application in the County Court. Once that is done, the Cherry Tree application will be adjourned, and will stand or fall by the decision of the Circuit (or High Court, even) Judge.
On the subject of the new Barrow AFC commercial manager, interviews have been completed and the board’s choice has been offered the position, and will start on 4 January next year, subject to formal approval by the AFC board next Wednesday.
Barrow are at away to Frickley this weekend, so if you are going to the game, how about a match report? My email address is
Finally, if you read to the end of today’s edition of the Newsletter, you’ll find details of a free football contest, I’ll be joining, so why not give it a go?
Thanks to Close to Home, Peter Caldwell, Daniel Robinson, Tom Pearce, Alan Percival, Steve Leonard, Richard Ingham, Steve Grisdale and Tony Kavanagh for their help with today’s edition.
Judge suspends Holker Street possession order
By Phil Pearson & John Whitaker, Thursday 9 December
Solicitors acting for Barrow AFC’s liquidator have had a possession order on the Holker Street football ground suspended for 56 days. At a hearing at Kendal County Court yesterday, district judge, Gordon Nuttall rejected liquidator Jim Duckworth’s bid to have the possession order set aside and instead suspended it until February 2, 2000. Glasgow firm Cherry Tree Finance obtained the possession order in October in a bid to gain ownership of Holker Street, Barrow AFC’s home since 1909. Cherry Tree are wanting to repossess Holker Street as repayments on a commercial mortgage of UKP110,000 made to Northern Improvements Limited of Liverpool in 1997 have not been kept up to date. Northern Improvements took possession of the Holker Street deeds in April 1997, when former chairman Stephen Vaughan owned them and Barrow AFC. The liquidator is investigating the transaction of the deeds and now has 56 days to prepare or start a legal challenge to the transfer. Representing the liquidator in court yesterday was Barrow solicitor John Mallinson, who was delighted the possession order was suspended. He said: "The district judge wasn’t prepared to set it aside, but we are quite happy that it has been suspended. The 56 days will give us time to carry out the remaining investigations into the transfer of the ground’s deeds. We’ll receive advice from Queen’s Counsel and if their advice is to proceed, we’ll start proceedings in the chancery division of the high court. If we cannot do that within the 56 days we can apply for an extension." Also in yesterday’s hearing, switched from Barrow to Kendal, Mallinson succeeded in having the liquidator Duckworth joined into the case as a second defendant. Prior to yesterday’s hearing, the only two parties officially involved were Cherry Tree Finance and Northern Improvements Limited, but now the liquidator has been named as second defendant, it means that his legal team must be kept informed of all developments in the case.
Thursday 9 December
Barrow AFC have picked up four points from their last two games after a great 0-0 result at high-flying Gateshead on Tuesday night. That coupled with the thrilling 3-2 win over Blyth Spartans on Saturday, with goals from Nicky Peverell, Mark Hume and Andy Toman, has seen AFC move three points clear of the bottom four in UniBond League Premier Division. The Bluebirds travel to Yorkshire on Saturday where they take on Frickley Athletic. However, AFC manager Kenny Lowe was yesterday sweating over the fitness of defender Lee Brydon and midfielder Andy Toman who collected injuries at Gateshead’s International Stadium. He was also concerned about striker David Rush who appeared to damage blood vessels in one of his lungs lung during the game. Lowe, who was manager (Ralph’s note: No he wasn’t, he was the player coach) at Gateshead before taking over at Holker Street, said of the goalless draw at Tyneside: "We were great in every department on the pitch, and there was nowhere on the park that we looked second best. The best compliment I can pay to our lads is that we made a very good side look ordinary. Their chairman said after the game they were shocking, but I told him they only played how we allowed them to play, and he agreed with that. If we can string four or five performances together like that then I think we could say we have really arrived." However, he said that there was still got a long way to go, and added that the injuries picked up on Tuesday could mean AFC are back down to the bare bones for the Frickley game.
MATCH REPORT FROM JIM WHITTON AND HIS TRUSTY TRANNY
A solid display by Barrow with some good defending against Gateshead's talented attack. The defensive display was all the more creditable bearing in mind that we were lacking the height and experience of Mark Hume and Micky Waller. Barrow started hesitantly and Kitchen almost gave his side a fifth minute lead but he shot inches wide from 12 yards after Horridge had dropped Steve Bowey's right side corner. Doherty and Toman began to look dangerous for Barrow. Toman headed over from a precise Doherty cross, then soon after Swan made an excellent save from a low Toman 20-yarder. Horridge then came out quickly to deny Preen as the play moved from end to end. Barrow had a narrow escape when Horridge tried to clear but the ball rebounded off Preen and spun goalwards before dropping just wide of the far post. Barrow had their best chance when Newton cut inside past two defenders and squared to Doherty, but he took too long and was dispossessed when a first time shot might have paid off. The Tynesiders almost gained an interval lead on 37 minutes when Fletcher fed Bowey, but as Horridge advanced the eight goal scorer shot just past the rear post. Nicky Peverell had a shot saved at full stretch by Swan and then Bowey saw his left foot drive turned past the angle by Horridge. Gateshead defender Tony Hall earned the game's first booking for a foul on Peverell and Barrow ended the half with a sequence of corners, from one of which Newton had a goal-bound drive deflected wide off Kitchen.
David Rush was replaced by O'Keeffe five minutes after the restart but it was Gateshead who looked most likely to break the deadlock during a period of scrappy play. Preen and Fletcher twice exchanged passes, but with Fletcher left with only Horridge to beat, the keeper spread himself to make a crucial block. Barrow were getting men behind the ball and defending resolutely without causing Gateshead any problems in the final third of the field. Peverell was then booked for a late tackle on Proudlock who immediately latched on to a half clearance to strike a 25-yard shot that Horridge again held safely. A Hall foul on Toman gave Wayne Bullimore a set piece opportunity outside the box nine minutes from time, but the midfielder's shot cannoned into the defensive wall. Fletcher had a shot deflected wide at the other end and then earned the game's fourth yellow card after slapping Greg Challender on the back of the head in an off-the-ball incident, but Barrow almost pinched an unlikely three points in injury time when sub O'Keeffe beat the offside trap from Peverell's through ball. However, Swan made a good save to ensure that both sides ended with a point.
After the game, Kenny Lowe was delighted with his team's performance. He felt that Barrow had proved how far they had progressed in holding a side he tipped to be in the hunt for promotion. "I was able to hold my head up high" Lowe said in a post-match interview.
FROM BEHIND THEIR FENCES
Match report from Gateshead supporter, Alan Percival
Gateshead obtained their first League 0-0 draw at home to ten game unbeaten Barrow (Ralph’s note: Not quite, Whilst it’s true that Barrow are on a bit of a role at the moment, it’s nowhere near ten games, more like six League games). Gateshead were without Hunter because of personal reasons and Scott because of work, Barrow were without McCord for the same reason. It was the fifth minute when the first action occurred, a corner by Bowey found Lynch who shot the ball wide through a crowd of players. The next notable piece of action was in the twenty-fourth minute when Horridge, the Barrow keeper, made a terrible clearance which bounced off Preen and came down past the post. In the thirty-seventh minute, a pass to Bowey from Fletcher found Bowey in the perfect opportunity to score, but Bowey stuck the ball from the edge of the box and it went wide. Barrow then broke away, and ex-Tynesider Nicky Peverell forced a comfortable save by Swan. Just before half time the first booking was given to Tony Hall for a foul on the edge of the box, Hall won the ball, but that wasn't the first dodgy decision by the referee. From that free kick, Barrow had three good chances to break the dead lock: from the free kick Barrow forced the first of three corners in a row, the final of which saw Swan make a comfortable save from Rush.
Barrow made the first sub bringing on O'Keefe for the injured Rush in the fiftieth minute. Fletcher and Preen worked hard shortly afterwards with Fletcher pulling off a great shot which Horridge saved, Preen went in for the rebound but Horridge collected first. Gateshead player of the month for November, Paul Proudlock received a booking for a challenge in the centre circle in the fifty-eighth minute. A long awaited substitution came next, with Alderson coming on for Preen in the seventy-fifth minute, which gave Gateshead a fresh approach to the game. Peverell was then booked for a challenge on Proudlock. Gateshead made another sub with Phil Ross coming on for Thompson in the seventy-fifth minute. In the eighty-seventh minute, the minute Fletcher was booked after he was brought down in the area, the referee gave nothing to Gateshead and booked Fletcher for touching the back of Challender’s head in protest. O'Keefe had a shot going into injury time which Swan saved easily.
Gateshead: Swan (7), Watson (6), Lynch (7), Proudlock (7), Kitchen (7), Hall (8), Raitt (8), Bowey (7), Preen (8*), Fletcher (8), Thompson (6#).
DISCOUNTED VOUCHERS FOR CUP TIE
Morecambe Visitor, 8 December
Morecambe FC have announced that there will be crowd segregation in place for their forthcoming home games against both Barrow and Southport. The Shrimps face Southport in the Conference on Monday December 27 with visiting fans being allocated the Umbro Stand and section A of the main stand. The same applies for Barrow fans travelling to the Marsden Lancashire Trophy game early next year. The match has been brought forward to Monday January 10. The Shrimps have joined forces with Barrow to offer a discounted voucher scheme for the Cup tie. Morecambe fans will receive a voucher at both their next two home games, each voucher entitling the supporter to a UKP1 discount on normal prices. That means that supporters who go to both games will be given a UKP2 discount while those who only go to one, will receive a UKP1 discount for the Barrow game on production of the voucher.
(Barrow AFC director, Steve Leonard, has been in touch to say the games where Barrow supporters can obtain the vouchers for the Morecambe game will be the Droylsden and Winsford matches ones, adding that he hopes the scheme will boost the attendance at these games. He adds that details will be in the home programme for the Hyde United game and hopefully in Evening Mail next week.)
Meanwhile, Lancaster striker Neil Morton is facing an operation to sort out his troublesome knee injury after aggravating the problem in training. Morton has been in and out of the side over the last month after suffering recurrences of the injury and now manager Tony Hesketh says an operation is the only way to cure it properly. It is now likely to be three weeks at least before Morton is back in action, although he will no doubt be eager to take part in the big Millennium Bank Holiday clash with his old club, Barrow, at Giant Axe on January 3. That game will also mark the opening of the new terracing behind the West Road goal at Giant Axe, with City's biggest crowd for several years expected for the derby fixture.
HIGHEST NUMBERS OF CONTRACTS
Manchester Evening News Pink, 4 December
The days of the non-contract footballer are drawing to a close in the Conference. Only 130 of the League's 570 players are non-contract, the lowest level in Conference’s 20 year history. Four out of four players are now on long term contracts.
Winsford United's trip to Barrow, brought forward to December 30 from January 8 will not only be the last UniBond League fixture of the Millennium, but also the last in English senior soccer. Richard Ingham adds this sounds like all football is stopping after the end of December, when of course it won’t, unless the Y2K problems will affect footballers as well!
Daniel Robinson, a Gateshead supporter on the list, has been in contact regarding the saga of Jason Ainsley, Daniel asks if Barrow really have signed Jason after all, because The Journal (the local Newcastle paper) reported that Gateshead have signed him, Daniel adding he too had heard the rumour that Jason will only be in the UK for six weeks whilst the Singapore League takes a break (see yesterday’s Newsletter). I’ve asked Barrow AFC if they can clarify the situation with Jason Ainsley, and I hope to bring you their response shortly.
LOCAL TALENT OR LACK OF IT?
From Tom Pearce
There’s nothing like the buzz from the popular side when home grown Andy Hill goes on one of his runs, or when Mike McKechnie snaps into a tackle, but are the local players really in the frame? Without knocking any effort from any player, do the majority of supporters think the pair mentioned are worthy of a regular start in the team, because from what I have seen, I think they are. Is there any communication between local football as a whole? Or is it confined to certain teams? Could it be possible to set up a small group to highlight who is playing well on a regular basis and to invite individuals to trial at Holker Street? Surely readers of this Newsletter, ie persons connected to the Barrow Rangers or Furness Cavaliers’ title winning team could have some input. It would be interesting to see who rises to the forefront and no matter what quality players Kenny is trying to bring to Barrow AFC, there’s nothing like seeing a home grown lad with his heart in the right place playing for Barrow AFC.
Ralph’s note: I know there are people on this list connected to some of the other teams Tom mentions, so can you contact me on
SOME NEWS FROM DROYLSDEN
Droylsden have released Ian Harold and a couple of other players just three weeks after releasing Lee Cooper. Dave Pace has said whilst none of the released players are, in his opinion, good enough to play in the UniBond, Droylsden are keeping their UniBond registrations, which will prevent them from joining another UniBond club.
THE MYSTERY CENTRE-FORWARD
A couple of days ago, the Newsletter carried a piece from Steve Pick and we asked who the Barrow centre-forward in the mid 1960s could the be former Exeter players were referring to, well, Peter Caldwell has been in touch with the appearance statistics from the seasons in question, so who was the player they were referring to?
Division 4 1963-64 - Appearances
Brian Arrowsmith 45: Stan Howard 31: Leslie Barratt 8: Brian Caine 45: Tommy Thompson 28: George Whitelaw 7: Jack Maddison 39: Keith Eddy 24: Bob Corkhill 6: Ernie Ackerley 38: Mike Wearmouth 22: Ray Lodge 6: Tommy Cahill 35: John Kemp 19: Gordon Brown 4: Dixie Hale 35: George Darwin 16: Alec Murray 3: John O'Neill 35: Ray Brennan 14: Mike Smyth 1: Ben Clark 34: Tommy Anderson 11.
League Goalscorers: (51): Ackerley 11, Thompson 9 (1 Pen), Darwin 5, Howard 4, Kemp 4, Anderson 3, Brennan 3, Maddison 3, O'Neill 3 (2 Pens), Brown 2, Hale 2, Arrowsmith 1. Own goal 1.
Division 4 1964-65 - Appearances
Bobby Tait 45: Dave Holder 29: George Smith 10: Dave Worthington 44: Don Watson 17: Alec Steadman 9: Keith Eddy 41: Bobby Knox 16: George O'Neill 7: Brian Arrowsmith 34: Lance Millard 16: Jimmy Cassidy 5: Ray Brennan 32: Tommy Cahill 15: Alec Murray 5: Malcolm Edwards 31: Jack Maddison 14: Terry Wright 3: Lionel Duffin 30: Brian Pilkington 14: Bob Corkhill 2: Roy McCarthy 30: Jim Nelson 13: Roger Coutts 2: Garbutt Richardson 30: Colin Whittaker 12:
League Goalscorers: (59): Tait 16 (1 Pen), Knox 8, Brennan 7, McCarthy 5, Richardson 5, Worthington 4, Maddison 3, Smith 3, Eddy 2, Corkhill 1, Pilkington 1, Steadman 1, Watson 1. Own goals 2.
Division 4 1965-66 - Appearances
Jim Mulholland 44+1: Lance Millard 36: Larry Carberry 16: Malcolm Edwards 44: Bobby Tait 33+1: Bobby Knox 12+4: George Smith 40+1: Keith Eddy 32+1: Lionel Duffin 10: Roy McCarthy 40: Alex Alston 30+1: Peter Marshall 3: Brian Arrowsmith 37: Mick Hartland 19: Jim Nelson 2: Brian Pilkington 37: John Rawlingson 19: Jim Mallon 36: Dave Worthington 16+1:
League Goalscorers: (72) Mulholland 15, Tait 15 (1 pen), Alston 8, Hartland 5, McCarthy 5, Knox 4, Pilkington 4, Eddy 3, Edwards 3, Rawlingson 2, Smith 2, Worthington 2, Marshall 1. Own Goals 3.
FINALLY, SCORECAST - A FREE CONTEST
I’ve been asked to promote the Scorecast competition through the Newsletter, and I’m delighted to do so, at the moment 150 people take part, and if you would like to take part in the new competition which will start in the new year, read on. The competition is free and only takes a few minutes each week, it involves forecasting the scores of ten matches played each weekend. Two Cup competitions run in conjunction with the normal competition, and players compete in a series of Leagues with 16 players in each and with promotion and relegation at the end of each season. A season lasts 16 weeks, August to Christmas, and New Year to May, so there is always something to play for. The organiser, Alan, if there is sufficient interest, he would be more than happy to run a Barrow-only League, as he does for Gillingham and Southend fans at the moment. Interested, then email Alan direct on
ALTRINCHAM STILL SINNERS
By Nicholas Harling, The Telegraph, 10 December
Ralph’s note: If you have ever seen Altrincham play, you might not be too surprised to read the following, I remember going to watch Barrow play at Altrincham in the mid 1980s to be told they kicked harder at home, this was an urban legend, it doesn’t matter if they are playing at home or away!
Altrincham, who genuinely believed they had cleaned up their act, learned this week that they remain bottom of the Conference's Fair Play League. The Cheshire club thought they had heeded the lesson of three years ago when suspensions caused by twelve dismissals led to their relegation to the UniBond League. On returning to the Conference this season, Altrincham did not have a man sent off until Simeon Hodson's contentious exit in the 2-2 draw at Dover last Saturday. Referee Andrew Wilkins dismissed the right-back for stamping on Steve Brown, who allegedly said afterwards that nothing of the sort happened. "I haven't seen a referee quite as poor as him," said the visiting manager, Bernard Taylor. There have been 40 cautions in all for Altrincham, whose coach and secretary, Graham Heathcote, said: "If we're bottom with those statistics the whole Conference should take credit. We are far from being a dirty side." Heathcote is convinced that referees are preoccupied with the presence of assessors. "It's such a shame because it's the players who suffer, two errors and they're off. That's a hell of a pressure on an individual." The pressure will doubtless increase tomorrow when Hayes visit Moss Lane hoping to end Altrincham's eight-match unbeaten run.
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