Barrow AFC

Furness Building Society Stadium

Capacity: 4,256 (Seats 1,000)
Address: Wilkie Rd, Barrow-in-Furness, LA14 5UW
Telephone: 01229 823061
Club Nickname: Bluebirds
Year Ground Opened: 1909
Home Kit: Blue and White

Main Stand
Main Stand
Ray Wilkie Popular Side
Ray Wilkie Popular Side
Holker Street End
Holker Street End
Crossbar End
Crossbar End
Main Stand and Holker Street End
Main Stand and Holker Street End

A traditional old looking ground that has been brightened up by replicating the team’s blue & white colours on the stands around the stadium. On one side is the colourful looking Main Stand, which is seated and covered. It has some supporting pillars along the front of the stand and runs for around half the length of the pitch. It is situated on the half way line and is raised above pitch level, meaning that you have to climb a small staircase to access it. The areas to either side of the stand are flat standing spaces. 

Opposite is the Ray Wilkie Popular Side. This is a terrace which is covered towards the centre. The Crossbar Terrace (also known as the Steelworks End) at one of the stadium, is on one side, a small open terrace, whereas the other side is not really used for spectators. In fact this area houses the Club Offices which tends to be detrimental to the overall look of the ground. Opposite is the larger Holker Street Terrace, which although open to the elements is the traditional home end of the ground. The stadium is completed with a set of classic looking floodlights (although one is relatively new, doubling as a mobile phone mast).

Away fans are mostly housed on one side of the Holker Street Terrace (towards the Main Stand) at one end of the ground. There is also some additional standing space available beside the Main Stand. Oddly the Club have elected to segregate supporters at that end by the use of a large scaffold, which means that no fans (home or away) can stand directly behind the goal. If demand requires it, then the whole of the Holker Street Terrace can be allocated to away supporters.

Holker Street has been the home of the Club since 1910 and although it is currently known as the Furnace Building Society Stadium, in a corporate sponsorship deal, many fans still refer to it as Holker Street.

Away fans are mostly housed on one side of the Holker Street Terrace (towards the Main Stand) at one end of the ground. There is also some additional standing space available beside the Main Stand. Oddly the Club have elected to segregate supporters at that end by the use of a large scaffold, which means that no fans (home or away) can stand directly behind the goal. 

This standing area is open to the elements, so it may be an idea to head for one of the seats made available to visiting supporters in the covered Main Stand. Catering inside the ground is in the form of the obligatory burger van. With the stadium being largely open it is difficult at times to get a real good atmosphere going, however the Barrow fans are a hardy bunch and do their best to raise it. If demand requires it, then the whole of the Holker Street Terrace can be allocated to away supporters.

The Club has its own club house bar called the ‘Crossbar’. This bar welcomes away supporters and has SKY Sports television. Elaine Warden informs me; 'There is a pub next door to the ground called the Soccer Bar which is independent from the club and popular with visiting supporters as well as home fans'. 

Otherwise if you along Walney Road (A590) towards the town centre firstly passing Asda. Turn left onto Duke Street for the town centre itself, before which you will find the Ambrose Hotel, which has a selection of real ale. Alternatively continue on the A590 passing first ‘The Owl and The Pussycat’ pub (food available) before you will reach a retail park that has a number of eating outlets including a McDonalds and KFC as well as a Tesco Extra.

If you have a bit more time on your hands you might park at the Holker Street end of the ground then you can take the 10-15 minute walk down Holker Street into the town centre. Peter Naylor adds: 'At the junction of Holker Street and Abbey Road, near the railway station, you will  find a fine action statue of Emlyn Hughes, who came from Barrow. Across the road is ‘The Duke of Edinburgh’, a developing four star hotel with a good selection of drinks generally, real ales in particular, while walking a further block to your right you will encounter ‘The Furness Railway’, a Wetherspoons pub themed to the company that led to the development of Barrow. This pub is listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide

Leave the M6 at Junction 36 and take the A590 towards Barrow-in-Furness. As you enter the outskirts of Barrow you will pass a fire station on your right. You should now be able to see the floodlights of the stadium over on your left. Turn left into Wilkie Road and then right into Holker Street. Plenty of street parking is available.

Post Code Sat-Nav: LA14 5UW

Barrow-in-Furness railway station is located just under a mile away from the ground. It is served by trains from Lancaster & Carlisle. John Stafford informs me; 'emerge from the station and the small station entrance road leads directly onto Holker Street. Look right and you will be able to see the the floodlights of the ground further up Holker Street'.

Remember if travelling by train then you can save on the cost of fares by booking in advance.

Visit the the trainline website to see how much you can normally save.

Click on the trainline logo below:

Seating:
Adults £14, Over 65's £11, Under 18’s £5, Under 11's £1*

Terrace:
Adults £13, Over 65's £10, Under 18’s £5, Under 11's £1*

* When accompanied by an adult.

If you require hotel accommodation in the area then first try a hotel booking service provided by Late Rooms. They offer all types of accommodation to suit all tastes and pockets from; Budget Hotels, Traditional Bed & Breakfast establishments to Five Star Hotels and Serviced Apartments. Plus their booking system is straightforward and easy to use. Yes this site will earn a small commission if you book through them, but it will go to help with the running costs of keeping the Guide going.

Access their Barrow-in-Furness and general Lake District page.

Remember that you can use the above link or panel below to book any other hotels that you may need for business or leisure, either in the UK or abroad.

Barrow AFC v Grimsby Town
Conference Premier League
Tuesday, January 24th 2012, 7.45pm
Glynn Sharkey (Grimsby Town fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

Although my Dad was from Carlisle and also spending a lot of my youth in the area I had never set foot in the town of Barrow-in-Furness. As such I was looking forward to this trip even though it was a Tuesday night game, the good old Travelodge sale rooms came into their own once again.
I had preconceptions of a gloomy, run down industrial town on the edge of a desolate windswept peninsula but I was going to be proved wrong.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

It's not a trip to the shops. Me and the other half set off at 9.30am and arrived about 1pm via the M181/M180/M18/M62/M61/ M6 and the seemingly endless A590. We dumped the car at the Travelodge which was situated just across the road from the ground and headed into town with six hours to kill.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

It was slinging it down with rain, so the first port of call was the "Furness Railway" a Wetherspoons outlet, rude not to really as it was steak club day. After a few pints and a full belly, plus with the rain slowing, we had a walk round the town centre such as it is. One weird thing we noticed is the High Street is in fact a side street with no shops at all!

We tried a few watering holes and eventually ended up in a boozer near the docks called the Devonshire Hotel, a good old fashioned, no frills pub. There is a massive ship on the docks which up until recently was used as a 2,500 capacity nightclub, it's also a great location for any err... submarine watchers.

From there we made our way across a long road bridge to Walney island and settled down in the Ferry Hotel which can be seen from the bridge. A Crown carvery establishment which does good cheap food and good priced beers. Our friend Chris arrived by train and met us there, he was stunned by the quality of the "nosebag" as he calls it. This place is highly recommended by us all. Fed and watered and with kick off approaching we set off on the 15-20 mins walk to the ground.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

Wet and bedraggled we arrived to see four proper old school floodlight pylons, a scene that always and without fail, warms me to any ground. The right hand side of the open terrace behind the goal is for away fans with some seats in the covered stand to the right also available. A good third of the open end just in front of the goal seems to be no man's land, with the rest of this terrace given to the home fans to the left of the goal. We ended up in the seats (more about this below) which had a good view of the open terrace to the left, a small covered stand opposite and to the right a very shallow bit of terrace backing onto what appeared to be their supporters club. All in all a small, basic, old footy ground. I fell in love with the place.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..

Being 2-1 up and maybe being just in control, I felt Barrow's last minute equaliser came from nowhere. Saying that, at setting off time that morning I would have took the point, also our rival's results were not too bad either. Less than 200 Grimsby still managed to make themselves heard and I am sure had it had been a Saturday there would have been 500 plus.
It really is a long haul for a night game.

One sour note was the stewarding, we were told for twenty shillings we could transfer into the seats. There was a steward who seemed to take pleasure in refusing people the transfer with the retort they would have to stand and get wet. He tried it with us three (Two middle aged blokes and woman) but we managed to blag it in, many others were refused.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Easy! Straight back into town and the Furnace Railway Wetherspoons, after checking the latest time we could get a table at the Mithwali curry house across the road. The curry rounded off a brilliant but wet day out and we were more than ready to fall into bed after the 15-20 minute walk back to the Travelodge.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

A rainy January night in Cumbria might not sound like everyones idea of fun but me and the other half were more than impressed. The next full day was spent across the bridge exploring Walney Island, with it's villages, hamlets, caravan parks, pubs and wildlife. A stunning piece of land well worth exploring for it's scenery and history.

It's very surreal with the shipyards and town of Barrow stretching out below the mountains of the lake district from one side of the island, and less than a mile on the other side, the crashing waves of the Irish sea on a windswept rocky beach. If Grimsby are still in the same league as Barrow next season, this will be a definite must do.

Barrow AFC v Luton Town
Conference Premier League
Saturday, February 6th 2010, 3pm
Steve Bailey (Luton Town fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

I have been looking forward to visiting this ground since 1969 – and I’m not joking!  When I was a young Luton fan we played Barrow in the old Division 3 and I had a map of where all the grounds were, looked at it and thought “that’s a long way, must go there one day”.  Being too young for away games then and with Barrow dropping out of the league soon after we’ve never played them again  … till now.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking:

The journey took a long long time – nearly 7 hours and 4 trains from my current home in Peterborough but I went up the day before and didn’t go back till the Sunday, meeting up with a few friends from different parts of the country who also made a long weekend of it.  The ground was easy to find as Holker Street is a long straight road from the station and the pub we drank in before the game.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

Before the game we drank in the Duke of Edinburgh pub, lots of real ales, good food and highly recommended.  The local fans were very friendly - not that there was many of them in the pub mind.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

As I approached the ground I took a photo of the “away supporters this way” sign and a local fan joked “not much to take photos of here” to which we replied “you haven’t seen Kenilworth Road then have you?” Going in I handed my ticket (a modest affair, a little white strip more like a cardboard bus ticket) to the lady at the turnstile only for her to say “hang on to that” and ticked me off on the piece of paper using the low-tech five-bar gate counting system to record the away attendance!

The ground was as I expected although the seated stands on the sides were much larger than I thought they’d be.  A very neat old ground, all nicely painted in blue and white. We were actually housed in the Holker Street end rather than the Crossbar end stated in the Guide, presumably they use this end when a bigger away attendance is expected.  This is a fairly shallow open terrace and would not be good on a wet day!  Fortunately it was cold but dry so all was well.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..

The game was a hard fought 1-0 win to us coming from a late goal when a 0-0 draw seemed the likely outcome.  Atmosphere was not great as it’s an open end so hard to get any noise going and there was only 302 of us anyway, still the biggest away crowd at Barrow this season though.  Stewards were inconspicuous and don’t even recall seeing any police in the ground.  Toilets were of the pre-war variety with the addition of a plastic roof, bit like the ones at Altrincham and York, and should have a preservation order put them before they are ruined by modern fittings!  As the game wore on a fog descended and we could hardly see the other end – we joked of an abandonment after all our long journeys but the game lasted the distance. 
           
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Very easy, we were back in the pub again before we knew it!
            
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

A good day on all counts and should we both still be in the Conference next season we all agreed to come again.

Updated 13th February 2015

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