The Self-Isolation Chronicles: Barrow Raiders

1. They have the same head coach in four separate spells.

Former Barrow Raiders favourite Dave Clark first became head coach in 2007, taking over from Paul Crarey. He then took the club to the Championship crown, two years later, in two separate spells in the season either side of Steve Deakin taking charge. Having played 136 games for the club as a player, his services were then called upon for a fourth time as head coach in 2011, but he was stood down at the end of the year after the club suffered relegation to the Championship One. Barrow are no strangers to re-appointing head coaches, Crarey is now in his second spell at the club and Peter Roe also had two separate spells at the club some eight years apart.

2. One of their club legends had trials at two footballing giants.

In the 1940s, Blackburn Rovers and Preston North End were both top sides in the First Division, with both having two title wins to their name. They were both firmly established sides in the top flight, with Blackburn also later winning the Premier League in 1995. Preston were crowned FA Cup winners in 1938, a year after losing in the final, while Blackburn triumphed in the competition exactly a decade North End’s win. The two were both former homes to a triallist by the name of Jimmy Lewthwaite, a youngster who had represented Cumberland at rugby union and football and had also won a medal in the All-England Schools Athletics competition aged 13. Barrow fans will know the name well, he turned his attentions to Rugby League and became their record appearance holder with 500, their record try-scorer with 354 and a Great Britain Tourist for good measure. Eat that Blackburn and Preston.

3. Jackson Hastings’ dad played for the club.

Enigmatic half-back Jackson wasn’t the first of the Hastings family to test the waters in the UK. Former New South Wales representative and Eastern Suburbs (who later became Sydney Roosters) halfback Kevin, his father, played 23 times for Barrow in the 1986-1987 season. His son Jackson made waves after his arrival at Salford in 2018, winning Man of Steel and leading them to the Grand Final in his second season before a move to Wigan Warriors.

4. One of their players once left a £1,500 unpaid parking bill.

Yes, that may well be the heftiest parking fine in history. In 2010, Pat Weisner departed after a dispute with Barrow Raiders over reportedly being forced out of the club due to injury and pay-related issues. Any, forget the politics, he dumped his car at Manchester Airport to start a new life in New Zealand. The former Leigh, Halifax, Harlequins, Barrow and Hull KR man then racked up a bill of exactly £1,432 with the car staying there for 54 days, in a £26.50 a day car park. The car itself was only worth £700. He then posted the keys back to the club and they then realised the car was still there. Having seen the amount due, they quite rightly contested the fee, with the airport bosses agreeing to waive the fee. The Australian is now head coach of Asquith Magpies in the Ron Massey Cup.

5. Their club chaplain is a former professional player.

In 2018, Barrow Raiders pulled off a major coup in snapped up Oldham RL club chaplain Tony Ford on a free transfer. Ford was at Oldham for eight years in the role, before making the move up North to Barrow. He actually played for Oldham and Salford in his playing career, as a hooker, while also turning out for football clubs such as Manchester United schoolboys, Canadian club Vancouver Whitecaps and Wollongong in New South Wales beforehand. That all came after suffering from disabilities and health issues caused by thalidomide. What an inspiration.