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TMF

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OK guys/gals, i'm back. I have to say, this forum isn't dying, we are at the rigour mortise stage. So, I would like to proffer an old question which I really think needs serious consideration at this particular time. Barrow football club are going through a difficult period and, lets face it, RL clubs like ourselves are finding life hard. Is it not time to talk about ground sharing?  Workington has realised this in deciding to build a new multi purpose stadium and I could go on about why I think this is the only solution in a town our size. But I might be wrong. What do you think? I would love it if the soccer supporters get involved in this debate because, being a Barrovian, I support both teams. What do you think? 

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Of course it makes sense.

The town needs both teams to be successful. 

Unfortunately, in my experience the animosity between the two sets of supporters is more on the side of the soccer than the rugby. I have personally been targeted by a few soccer fans for criticisng their behaviour at away games I attended with my Grandson.

I consider myself a proud Barrovian. With Barrow being a fairly new town most of us can trace our roots back to where our forebears come from. I know that when Barrow was a new town it attracted a lot of Irish, Scottish and Welsh people to work in the shipyard and ironworks. In fact it was from Wales that my Mothers family came from and indeed my maternal grandfather was the man who introduced my father to rugby league.

It's a bit ironic that the soccer fans took umbrage against me as if it was not for Barrow AFC I would not even be here!

My paternal grandfather Jack Banks was a soccer player. He was a Midlander who started his career at Oldbury Town. He moved in to West Bromwich Albion whom he captained in an FA cup final against Ason Villa. He was transferred to Newton Heath who changed thrir name to Manchester United in 1901 when he eas playing for them. Then he went on to Plymouth Argyle and Exeter City and a few other clubs before fetching up as trainer in Barrow. If it had not of been for that my father would not have met my mother and my maternal grandfather would not have introduced his Son- in - Law to RL and he in turn instilled my love for rugby league. 

We moved to Coventry in the '50's and so watching rugby was confined to a few grainy pictures on tv. It was inevitable that soccer would be my first love.  At school I loved soccer and had some great times watching Coventry rise up ftom the fourth to to the first division. I have grest memories of watching Barrow soccer in those days too. On holiday I would go with my cousin to Holker Street and I remember us both going to Mansfield where we got into a bit of a tusslle with some Mansfield supporters. I guess today I would be classed as a football hooligan.

Another game I remember is I worked with a lad that played for Nuneaton Borough and he got me and my Dad VIP tickets  for a Borough v Barrow game. It was a strange game  Barrow lost 3-0 and even Stuart who played for the Borough admitted that Barrow were the betterI teamand even he could not explain Nuneaton won that day. So you see I have some great memories of supporting MY home town soccer team and am very proud of my connection to both the soccer and the rugby. 

In truth both the soccer and the rugby are peeing against the wind. Barrow has a lot going against it and a coming together of the two football codes could be a signal that Barrow is town that is worth investing in.

Come on Mr Casson, you could be the man that reignites pro sport in South Cumbria and makes  a  shared stadium a viable option.

 

Edited by Bearman
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Ron, that is a fantastic reply and as a dual supporter I understand everything you say. I could also relate stories about supporting both teams over the last 50 years. What I don't get, is the lack of response to my question? Is this site dying? Does nobody care any more? I think this topic is one of the most important questions the sporting public of Barrow is going to have to face in the near future whether we like it or not. Maybe Ron we are peeing against the wind. But at least we're thinking about it. 

I'm not sure Mr Casson is the man that's going to take us forward. It would be great but we don't need anybody but both sets of  dedicated supporters and help from the council and various sporting grants, etc, etc. I can't help fearing for the future of Holker Street in the near future. Call me a pessimist/realist, who knows?

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 if it was a council run stadium I’d say no way for me, history has shown too many clubs who have sold are on their backsides now.

Edited by The Vet
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3 minutes ago, The Vet said:

 if it was a council run stadium I’d say no way for me.

A shared stadium to help defray the cost of the facility and a method of each team keeping their profits from food and bar takings would benefit both teams.

Perhaps the way forward would be to form a jointly owned stadium company. Sell one ground or (even both) and use the money to  refurbish the other ( or build new).

It would need both sides to recognise the potential benefits rather than focusing on petty one upmanship.

Too simplistic?

 

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Get why your concerned Vet. We've seen what has happened to other clubs but we are in a better position. We own our land/lands unlike other clubs. That gives us enormous levarage. It wouldn't be a council run stadium, it would be a duel run stadium between the two clubs. No council involved, just supporters and good boards working together for the good of the town.

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If it was this simple I’m sure it would have had some serious discussion, as there doesn’t seem to have been any, it can’t be that easy, if both clubs sold their grounds it wouldn’t cover the cost to build a new stadium so that’s a no go. As far as selling one of the grounds which would be sold? The soccer fans seem to have more vent against rugby than vice versa, for whatever reason I don’t know, but I’d imagine there would be a big demonstration against them moving to Craven Park, we own Craven Park but don’t Asda own Holker St? 

Good discussion but I can’t see it going anywhere soon.

keep Craven Park in my eyes

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I agree with the vet keep craven park and I dont think casson should be involved where the rugby is concerned as its all going pear shaped at holker st

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Some good points there Vet. I agree about the soccer fans having more vent against the rugby. I don't know, as a duel supporter why, either. I also think in the past there hasn't been some serious discussion, but times have changed rapidly now. You're also right about ownership, I think, but then again, who does own Holker Street?

My feeling is Craven Park should be the home of both clubs. It's central, has more local parking, would be easy to modernise, costs money I know, funded possibly by the sale of Holker Street, more bars, restaurants, hotel accommodation within easy reach for away  supporters, it's at the heart of Barrow. 

I hope your wrong about this discussion going nowhere. I just think a choice is going to be forced on both clubs in the near future.

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18 minutes ago, scrumhalf said:

I agree with the vet keep craven park and I dont think casson should be involved where the rugby is concerned as its all going pear shaped at holker st

And that is the reason why I think now is the time to seriously consider my suggestion. It's actually not a new suggestion but in the past nobody thought it worthy to consider, but oh boy, do things change quickly in this modern world.

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I don't think we should ever consider  selling grounds and becoming rent boys like Wigan or Widnes, it's like selling the family silver. It might take some work to keep it clean but it's better than cashing it in, signing a few players then it's all gone. I don't think I'd buy a pint at the ground if the money was going to Barrow Council.

That leaves the clubs selling one ground and moving in as joint owners of the other ground. Not sure how much Craven park is worth with all that spare room on the fabulous retail parks and the other big factor is - how much do Asda own of Holker Street.

Holker Street used to be a nice ground until the speedway came, since then.....

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Hi Shipbuilder, I agree with everything you say but please read my posts on this subject.

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I can't see the Holker Street football fans ever going near Craven Park, they just live and dream about the days when " Barrow ruled the third"

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TMF's comment "I also think in the past there hasn't been some serious discussion" cannot be further from the truth. In the late 1980's and early 1990's there were several proposals put forward for ground sharing or new stadiums - all of which fell by the wayside for one reason or another.

The two that I remember the best were the proposal of selling both grounds(worth approx £15 million combined in those days for retail) and the building of new back to back stadiums on the site by the reservoir in Schneider Road. I was shown the plans for this project which included bowling greens, tennis courts and squash courts. This scheme was turned down by the council on the grounds that the developer's figures "did not add up" and that they had their own scheme in mind by Cavendish Dock, which was then scuppered by the discovery of asbestos.

The second scheme was the Bill McCullough/Bill Pears plan to sell Craven Park and develop Holker Street by  lengthening the pitch, building new grandstands and installing floodlights to use the training pitch for reserve/A team games etc. An EGM of the rugby club was planned but was eventually withdrawn because of the anger caused by the proposal. I remember meeting the late, great Ray Wilkie on a couple of occasions to discuss this project and remember him saying that Barrow AFC were going nowhere whilst they were playing at their current Ground, despite the fact that they had just won the FA Trophy in 1990. How prophetic those words were!

At this moment in time, I cannot see it moving further unless Paul Casson wishes it to - after all, it is he or his company that owns Barrow AFC, not Asda. After his day then perhaps? Also, the value of both sites wil have diminished greatly  from those days as retail sites. It would be interesting to see what the current value is for retail or housing.

John Spoor

.

  

 

 

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Hi John, thanks for that great insight. I probably didn't pen it correctly about discussions in the past and i don't want to dwell on it and you're right. My point really was all the discussions came to nothing. Bill McCullough was a family friend and I remember him showing me an artist sketch of his plan for Holker Street which included a double stand on the popular side and it was very impressive. Which proves my point, that was then, we are in the now. Thanks for clearing up who owns Holker Street and you are right about what the current value would be today? I think it's quite safe to say in the current climate, new housing is a given.

Having said that John, what is your actual view on my OP? By the way, how did my programs go, lol?

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I remember the Bill McCullough / Bill Pears plan with the double stand like Headingley. Two pitches one for first team matches and the other for training and reserve / A team matches ( remember them!!!) .

I thought it was to be on the other side of Walney Road but very near Holker Street but that got the no from the council as the area was earmarked for industrial development, as if we were ever going to get enough industry to cover the entire steelworks site. I may be wrong but it was a great idea with a brand new ground owned by the clubs.

I bow to your better knowledge of who owns Holker Street but I'm sure Asda have some clauses which limit its value.

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There were plans for a stadium on the old Steelworks site, and this was probably the very first proposal, but I cannot remember why that never materialised.

I have always been in favour of a shared stadium for both clubs and the only time there was an actual vote was in the mid 1990's when the then RL board under the chairmanship of Steve Johnson proposed to sell Craven Park. This was defeated by the debenture holders - mainly because there was no plan to locate anywhere else.

As far as I am aware, there has been no firm proposal since, and I do not suppose there will be any in the near future, mainly because of changed circumstances. However, never say never!

TMF - I have managed to sell some of the 1980's programmes, but have struggled with the recent ones. I am still on the lookout for programme fairs in the area to try and sell them that way.

John Spoor

 

 

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Hi John. Thanks for that. Glad you agree with me on a shared stadium. Just to clarify. The new stadium was to be on the present site but it entailed filling in the big pond on the popular side, which is where Asda came into the picture. Enough said.

You're also right about Steve Johnson's proposal. I also knew Steve, who really did have the club at heart but didn't, to me, think the consequences through. So, we are where we are and i'm a bit disappointed with no input from the soccer fans. Probably time to draw this discussion to a close but I really do think it will rear its head in the next few years.

PS. Guys/girls, if you have any sporting memorabilia you have no use for, please pass to John who can change paper to pounds for the club.

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