Holker Street Newsletter 98 - 12th May 1998

Peter Caldwell has a few copies of the special Evening Mail supplement about AFC's season, and he offered to send them to the first list members who email him with their address. Peter adds they can but him a beer when they are next in Barrow! His email address is .

It’s now only ten days to the Barrow AFC prize-giving evening, so if you haven’t voted yet, please do so ASAP, to recap Paul Darragh has kindly offered to co-ordinate the project in Barrow, so send a fiver (if you are sending a cheque can you make it payable to him) to Paul Darragh, and he’ll send you a receipt) to 33 Lyon Street, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, LA14 1NU, United Kingdom, and he’ll start the ball rolling, and email me with your choice of player (yes, Owen Brown is eligible for the award as well) on .

Ray Stanton has been in touch to provide some more details of this competition, it was open to all clubs in the Conference and those from the Premier Divisions of the Northern, Southern and Isthmian Leagues.

This is a name that doesn’t feature in the Newsletter very often, but for those of us who saw him play he won’t need any introduction. One thing about Cowps’ time with Barrow has always intrigued me, I remember someone saying Chelsea were interested in signing him at one point in his career, but for whatever reason it never happened, anyone know the full story?


Ray Stanton has sent some very interesting statistics through concerning Barrow’s last two re-election campaigns from the early 1970s. The clubs in bold are those already in the League:

1971 - BARROW 38, Bedford Town 0, Boston United 1, Bradford PA 1, Cambridge City 2, Chelmsford City 0, Gateshead 0, HARTLEPOOL 33, Hereford United 22, Hillingdon Borough 0, Kettering Town 0, LINCOLN CITY 47, NEWPORT COUNTY 33, Romford 1, Telford United 2, Wigan Athletic 14, Yeovil Town 2.

1972 - Bangor City 0, BARROW 26, Bedford Town 0, Boston United 0, Bradford PA 1, Cambridge City 1, CREWE ALEXANDRA 46, Hereford United 26, Hillingdon Borough 0, NORTHAMPTON TOWN 49, Romford 0, STOCKPORT COUNTY 46, Telford United 0, Wigan Athletic 0, Wimbledon 1, Yeovil Town 0.

As Barrow and Hereford had received the same number of votes, a second ballot was called for, the result of which was BARROW 20, Hereford United 29 and as such Hereford were elected to the Football League at Barrow’s expense. The following season Barrow applied to re-join the League:

1973 - Barrow 0, Bedford Town 0, Boston United 0, Bradford PA 0, Cambridge City 1, Chelmsford City 4, COLCHESTER UNITED 48, CREWE ALEXANDRA 36, DARLINGTON 26, Kettering Town 12, NORTHAMPTON TOWN 43, Nuneaton Borough 1, Telford United 1, Wigan Athletic 10, Wimbledon 0, and Yeovil Town 14.

The end of the 1920-21 season saw Barrow admitted to the Football League, the following votes were cast:

1921 - Fourteen clubs automatically accepted to the new Division Three North: Accrington Stanley, Ashington, BARROW, Chesterfield, Crewe Alexandra, Darlington, Durham City, Hartlepools United, Lincoln City, Rochdale, Tranmere Rovers, Walsall, Wrexham and Nelson.

Grimsby Town joined from Division Three (South) and Stockport County came down from Division Two.

Voting for the four remaining places was : Wigan Borough 34, Halifax Town 25, Southport 25, Stalybridge 25 (all elected); Castleford Town 18, Rotherham Town 12, Blyth Spartans 9, Gainsborough Trinity 8, Doncaster Rovers 6, West Stanley 5, Wakefield City 4, Lancaster Town 3, Scunthorpe and Lindsay United 3, and South Liverpool 1.

In a previous Newsletter I asked if anyone knew of a Jock Nairn who played for Barrow in the 1930s, and Geoff Payne asked if he lived in Strathnaver Avenue on Walney, well Jock’s relative on this list has confirmed Jock did live there, so can anyone help out with Jock’s time with Barrow? How many times did he play, etc.

Steve Pick has been in touch regarding Keith Eddy, saying that Steve used to manage Walney Rovers and shared the job with Bill Eddy. It was plain to see that his younger brother, Keith, would go onto greater things, with Sheffield and the New York Cosmos as it turned out. Steve did keep in contact with his mother and caught up with Keith Eddy in Tulsa when Steve moved to the USA in 1989, and met Keith briefly some time back when he brought his Tulsa boys’ soccer teams to compete in a big tournament in Dallas. Keith is very quiet, except on the touch line, and doesn't go much for keeping up old ties. He has been very successful as a full time coach in Tulsa and is well known down here. (Tulsa is a five hours’ drive from Dallas.)

In an earlier Newsletter, I mentioned how Peter Caldwell had approached JEF Bookmakers in Dalton for odds for Barrow in the Conference, well Tony has contacted them again on our behalf and no, they didn’t appear to be interested in accepting bets by fax and they don’t accept credit cards. However, they will accept bets by cheque, so if anyone would like to have a wee wager on Barrow next season, Peter has offered to act as the go between. His email address is and his snailmail address is Peter Caldwell, 158 Hartington Street, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria LA14 5TW, United Kingdom. If you’re interested send a cheque, made out in Sterling, to Peter, and don’t forget to add a few bob to allow for the tax, which is about 10%, if memory serves. Thanks very much for Peter for offering to do this.

From the Barrow v Liverpool programme, Lancashire Senior Cup First Round, 18 October 1965.

Glasgow Celtic recently claimed to be the first British club to sign South American player. In fact, Barrow can make this claim for in October 1937, 28 years ago, an Argentinian half back Augustus Corpa and inside forward Casco Rinaldi were signed by Barrow. They did not stay in England very long.

Ralph’s note, this first came up in an earlier Newsletter, and in the last edition of Give ‘Em Beans, Graham Murphy added some more meat to the bones of this story, in that Corpa and Rinaldi were in Barrow as Vickers were building some ships for the Argentinian Navy at the time. Is there anyone out there who has any player stats from this time to tell us how many games they played?

The score for the Barrow v Liverpool game was Barrow 3-2 Liverpool. The Barrow scorers were Pilkington, Rawlingson and Mallon, the attendance was 5576.

From Barrow v Burnley programme, Lancashire Senior Cup Final, 16 May 1966
Barrow 0 Burnley 4

Brief pen-pics of the probable Barrow team.

LIONEL DUFFIN. Goalkeeper. A local boy from Dalton who signed as a part-time professional in July, 1964, and has proved a capable keeper. He has recently regained his first team place.
JIM MALLON. Right full back. Has been a regular since joining Barrow from Greenock Morton earlier this season. No player in recent seasons has made such an impact on the Barrow supporters with his displays. Previously in English football with Oldham as a forward.
MALCOLM EDWARDS. Left full back. Has been a regular since joining Barrow in the summer of 1964 from Tranmere Rovers. A strong player whose favourite position is wing half. Previously with Bolton Wanderers and an Under-23 international.
KEITH EDDY. Right half. A local player who quickly gained a first team place when being signed as a full-time professional in July, 1964. Has given good service, although still only 21, and has attracted the attention of several leading clubs.
BRIAN ARROWSMITH. Centre half. Now completing his fifth season with the club, having been a product of local football. A great wholehearted player who gives a full ninety minutes’ effort. Recently converted to centre half, after having played regularly in previous years at right full back.
GEORGE SMITH. Left half. One of the players signed towards the end of last season, and can be regarded as a fine capture. Joe Harvey allowed him to join Barrow from Newcastle and after a shaky start to the current season, he has proved one of the most consistent good performers.
PETER MARSHALL. Outside right. Recently signed as part-time professional after some promising displays in the first team. He has gained his place because of the unfortunate injury to Roy McCarthy, and we know he will fully justify his promotion.
ALEX ALSTON. Inside right. Another early season signing from Bury and has proved a versatile forward, although his recognised position is outside right. Played a number of seasons with Preston North End before joining Bury.
JIM MULHOLLAND. Centre forward, A close season capture from Greenock Morton, who has given many polished displays and possesses a great football skill. Barrow’s leading goalscorer this season. He has played a spell in English football previously with Chelsea.
BOBBIE TAIT. Inside left. Signed in July, 1964. from Notts County, and has been a regular inside forward. Leading goalscorer last season and scored his share of goals in Barrow’s early season success this term.
BRIAN PILKINGTON. Outside left. A former international with long experience of first-class football with Burnley. Bolton and Bury. He was signed in January, 1965, and has given good service to Barrow. A real favourite with the crowd.
DAVE WORTHINGTON. Probably one of the few successes in the 1964-65 season, and had the misfortune to be injured in the first match of the season. One who gives a full effort to the whole game and is probably best at wing half. Joined Barrow from Halifax Town.

FRED ELSE. Goalkeeper. 5ft 10ins. 12st 4lbs. Signed from Blackburn Rovers in the summer of 1966. Played 44 League games last season. Born in Golborne. Played previously with Preston North End.
LIONEL DUFFIN. Goalkeeper. 5ft 9ins. 11st 3lbs. A local boy who signed in 1964 from local football, but made only two appearances last term due to the top form of Fred Else.
PETER BARTON. Goalkeeper. 6ft. 11st 7lbs. Joined Barrow straight from School after appearing in the annual English Schools trial. A good prospect.
JIM MALLON. Full Back. 5ft 10ins. 11st 3lbs. Came to Barrow from Greenock Morton in September, 1965. Missed only one League match last season and scored two goals from full back. Formerly with Oldham Athletic.
MALCOLM EDWARDS. Full Back. 5ft 10ins. 12st 6lbs. Has developed into a consistent full back, although he plays very well as wing half also. Now starting his fourth season with the club. Born in Wrexham and played previously with Tranmere Rovers and Bolton Wanderers. 41 appearances in 1966-67.
DON DAVISON. Full back. 5ft 11ins. 10st 10lbs. A young player who was signed after a trial in September, 1965. Belongs to Newcastle and shows good promise.
TERENCE McDONALD. Full back 5ft 9ins. 12st 7lbs. A recent signing from Southport. Played previously with Middlesbrough as an apprentice. Born in Belfast.
BRIAN ARROWSMITH. Centre half. 5ft 5ins. 12st. Started his professional career with Barrow in 1961 and last season took over the centre half position and captain from Don McCalman. Played in 39 League games. Born in Barrow.
ERIC HARRISON. Wing half. 5ft 11ins. 12st 4lbs. Joined Barrow from Hartlepools in July, 1966, and played in 39 matches. Born in Hebden Bridge, he played previously with Halifax Town.
DON McCALMAN. Centre half. 6ft 1in. 12st 5lbs. Came to Barrow June, 1966, after six seasons with Bradford. Injury restricted his first team appearances to thirteen matches. A native of Greenock.
MICK HARTLAND. Wing half. 5ft 9ins. 11st 6lbs. Starting his third season with Barrow and played in 25 games last season, for two goals. Born in Dunfermline, he played with Oxford United before joining Barrow.
RON STEPHENSON. Wing half. 5ft 9ins. 10st 7lbs. A local boy and former apprentice who gives ninety minutes of effort every match. Made his League debut last season.
COLIN APPLETON. Appointed player-manager in July, 1967. Last season he was captain of Charlton Athletic, and previously had twelve seasons with Leicester City. Born in Scarborough. Plays wing half back. Height 5ft 10ins. Weight 11st.
ROY McCARTHY. Outside right. 5ft 8ins. 11st 3lbs. One of the club’s most improved players now starting his fourth season. Came to Barrow from Barnsley, his home town. Played 42 matches last season and netted twelve goals.
JIM MULHOLLAND. Inside forward. 5ft 9ins. 10st 10lbs. Previously with Greenock Morton and Chelsea and joined Barrow in July, 1965. Leading goalscorer again last season with 18 goals in 40 League matches. Born in Glasgow.
TONY FIELD. Inside forward. 5ft 7ins. 10st 8lbs. Another former Halifax player who was signed after a two month trial last season. Born in Barrow, he scored twelve goals in his twenty-two League appearances last season.
RON McGARRY. Inside forward. 5ft 8ins. 12st 4lbs. Barrow paid a large fee for his services in March this year. Played with Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers whom he joined from Workington. Scored two goals in his twelve first team games last season. Born in Whitehaven.
BILL McADAMS. Centre forward. 5ft 11ins. 11st 9lbs. The former Irish international who had experience in top class football with Manchester City and Leeds United. Born in Belfast, he scored nine goals in 40 appearances last season.
BOBBIE KNOX. Centre forward. Starting his third season with Barrow, having progressed through the junior team. A capable utility player even in goal. Born in Ulverston. 6ft. 11st 12lbs.
DAVID STORF. Outside left. A close season signing for a large fee from Rochdale, for whom he played three seasons. Previously with Sheffield Wednesday. Born in Sheffield. 5ft 9ins. 11st 2lbs.

From The Zigger, Vol 1 No 2 November 1967
by Centre-Half

In the last issue of the magazine we traced our history from its beginnings at a meeting held in the then Drill Hall in the Strand to 1905 when, because of the unsatisfactory pitch in Ainslie Street, the club decided that the time had come to seek another home. Quite apart from its "touchline to touchline" slope, the Ainslie Street ground was an unfortunate one for Barrow. Soccer in the town was at a low ebb and it says a great deal for the administrators and players of the day that the club was kept going. The players stuck together and had reward when the new ground was opened at Little Park, Roose.

Digressing a little, it is interesting to note that while the Association Club was the first to venture as far out as Roose, Little Park retained its sporting associations for about 20 years. Barrow AFC played their first match there on March 18, 1905, and their opponents were Padiham, who were beaten 3-0. At that time Barrow were in the "B" Division of the Lancashire Combination, and we moved to our present ground in Holker Street at the beginning of the 1909-10 season and Little Park turned over to the rugby league club. The ground had its attractions in that it could be reached by tram or train, but by 1929-30 the rugby league club had found this attractiveness to be fading and moved to their present ground in the centre of the town. Little Park has since disappeared, having been acquired for housing development. You will not find a trace of any terracing or grandstand now. We had no reason to be displeased with what happened when we went there. The team had a wonderful run of success; the gates increased quite substantially and it seemed that Dame Fortune was smiling on us at last.

The team was invariably this one; Stewart; Betmead, Finlay; Langhorn, Walker, Bell, Magee, Lucas, Eccleston, White and Ramsay. There were no stars but the team spirit was good and the football too was of a kind which ensured that few visiting teams took points away from Barrow. The spirit and the style of play counted for a great deal. Barrow finished runners-up in the table and gained promotion to the "A" Division. Alas, success had its repercussions, several players sought the chance of fame with richer clubs. Tom Stewart, the goalkeeper, went to Workington. Langhorn decided to leave the area and go South, seeking fame with Southern League clubs. Walker, who had been giving us good service as a centre-half, became the first manager of Leeds City.

It is worth recording here that Jimmy Bell, who played as a wing-half for several seasons and favoured the left-half berth when we were at Little Park, should not be confused with "Daisy" Bell. "Daisy", a forward, joined Barrow later from Middlesbrough. Ramsay, the outside-left, was a very successful player but stayed only two seasons at Little Park before joining Oldham Athletic.

Around this time, one finds the name of Saunderson appearing in the team list. History tells us that he was one of the most outstanding players ever to don a Barrow jersey in the club’s early years. He was a fast player and accurate marksman and it could have caused no surprise in the Barrow board room when Preston North End became interested in him. Note the fact that Preston paid £175 for him as transfer fee and agreed to play a friendly at Little Park as part of the bargain. A football reporter of the time recorded that Peter McBryde, North End’s famous Scottish international goalkeeper, having been beaten twice in quick succession by Saunderson, turned to that section of the crowd behind the Preston goal and observed "He’ll do". Were Saunderson in football today he would probably be in the £20,000 class, if not higher. Alas, his football career was not a long one. It ended abruptly when he died after having been only two seasons with Preston North End.

In an earlier Newsletter, I mentioned about the problems Hereford United are experiencing, having heard back from the Hereford supporter I can add Graham Turner, the Hereford manager, is buying the club from the current Chairman and the ex-Managing Director. The whole thing is apparently messy and possibly illegal (payments passing between now leaseholders BS Group (who bought Bristol Rovers' ground) and Cosworth, which was set up by said Chairman and ex-Managing Director to act as go-between for the new ground venture. The CVA will be complete once the second development company, Chelverton, receives the assurances it wants.

For further information go to: .

Thanks to Martin Watson for this.

Peter Caldwell has also been in contact regarding an excellent Barrow rugby league book he has been reading written by the intrepid Keith Nutter, "A Shaw Thing". It's the official biography of Neil Shaw, professional rugby player, and Peter remarks it is definitely worth the £3 or thereabouts. It's not only about Neil, it contains lots and lots of information and statistics on BRLFC. Peter adds that he knows Keith well, so if anybody wants any further information, please contact him on .

Keith Nutter is a 42-year-old Barrovian with an avid interest in the history at the game of rugby league football, and in particular the Barrow club. He has one of the largest collections of rugby league books, brochures, booklets, magazines and newspapers in the country. Unashamedly a traditionalist, he firmly believes that the grassroots of the sport must not be sacrificed in order to perpetuate the global dream at the current crop of administrators at Red Hall, the game’s headquarters. For as long as he can remember, Keith has supported his home town’s professional side and in 1981 wrote only the second history of the Barrow club to be published, the first being way back in 1914. Married with two daughters, and currently employed on a contract basis at BNFL, Sellafield, as an Assistant Quality Assurance Manager, he is a former committee member and secretary of the Barrow RLFC Supporters’ Club. Keith has helped with many players’ testimonial functions in the past and this book is the fifth such publication he has produced on behalf of Barrow players.

The History of Barrow Rugby League Football Club (Published in 1981) (Co-written with Don Pettingale)
Eddie Szymala/Derek Hadley Testimonial Brochure (Published in 1983)
Malcolm Flynn Testimonial Brochure (Published in 1986)
Steve Tickle Testimonial Brochure (Published in 1988)
Mick James/Steve Mossop Testimonial Brochure (Published in 1990)
The Centenary of Ulverston Golf Club (Published in 1995) (Co-written with Dave Sankey)

By Richard Luscombe, the Electronic Telegraph

Student teacher Pete Varley returns to lessons at Exeter's Priory High School today with his own bit of history to teach the pupils - his winning goal for Tiverton Town in Saturday's FA Vase final at Wembley. The substitute's 80th minute strike gave his side a 1-0 victory in a pulsating final, which ended controversially with the dismissal of Tow Law Town midfielder Tony Nelson for punching Tiverton's Graham Waters. Varley, 24, a postgraduate at Exeter University, is gaining experience teaching PE and history at Priory, and will be looking for a permanent post nearby when his course ends in seven weeks' time. He said his goal, a right-footed drive after a defender miskicked Dave Leonard's centre, was "something to put on my references". Varley had been on the field only six minutes before he scored. It was Varley's 34th goal of a highly productive season in which Tiverton captured the Screwfix Western League title and hope to add the League Cup when they face Taunton at Yeovil on Wednesday. Nelson's dismissal all but ended Tow Law's hopes of finding a way back. Jarrod Suddick, Tow Law's most creative player, had several earlier efforts saved by Tiverton's Paul Edwards.


P W D L F A Pts
Everton 38 26 7 5 109 38 59
Carlisle United 38 23 8 7 79 55 54
Workington 38 20 8 10 68 47 48
Liverpool 38 20 7 11 81 57 47
Rossendale United 38 18 7 13 69 64 43
Southport Central 38 18 7 13 64 63 43
Accrington Stanley 38 16 9 13 77 66 41
Bury 38 17 6 15 83 72 40
Preston North End 38 16 8 14 60 53 40
Bolton Wanderers 38 17 4 17 69 57 38
Atherton 38 14 9 15 60 64 37
Oldham Athletic 38 15 6 17 74 70 36
Manchester United 38 14 7 17 58 54 35
St Helens Recreation 38 14 6 18 67 73 34
Blackpool 38 12 8 18 47 71 32
Darwen 38 11 8 19 52 85 30
Manchester City 38 11 7 20 55 70 29
Chorley 38 9 9 20 68 89 27
Earlestown 38 8 8 22 43 88 24
BARROW 38 8 7 23 55 102 23


P W D L F A Pts
Blackburn Rovers 38 30 3 5 141 34 63
Burnley 38 26 4 8 130 52 56
Colne 38 23 10 5 123 50 56
Nelson 38 26 3 9 124 48 55
St Helens Town 38 22 8 8 80 47 52
Haslingden 38 22 2 14 87 63 46
Pendlebury 38 16 5 17 74 79 37
Ashton Town 38 16 4 18 63 89 36
Hyde 38 13 8 17 72 63 34
Bacup 38 11 10 17 54 67 32
Heywood United 38 14 3 21 72 96 31
Brynn Central 38 11 8 19 44 64 30
Turton 38 13 4 21 68 107 30
Clitheroe Central 38 12 5 21 64 86 29
Oswaldtwistle R. 38 11 5 22 58 100 27
Failsworth 38 8 10 20 57 99 26
Wigan Town 38 9 5 24 43 104 23
Newton-le-Willows 38 3 4 31 29 138 10

Thanks to Ray Stanton for these tables.

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