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Bluebird Spotlight: Peter Naylor

14 June 2021

A photo of Barrow supporters Ian Allington
Barrow fans at The Progression Solicitors Stadium

Bluebird Spotlight: Peter Naylor

14 June 2021

We’re introducing you to another Barrow fan today as we continue our series which puts the supporters centre-stage this summer.

Next up today is Peter Naylor, who is now retired and has been watching The Bluebirds for over 50 years – usually from The Ray Wilkie Stand in recent times.

Who did we play in your first Barrow game and what are your memories of the day?
Can't be sure. Not my first match but the first which sticks in my mind was the game against Oxford United, their very first in the Football League on 18th August 1962, when they replaced Accrington Stanley who had resigned from the League the previous March due to financial difficulties.

There was a sense of occasion on a fine, sunny summer's day and a number of Oxford fans wearing their gold and black colours had made the long trip and were in evidence among the decent crowd of 6569. I remember it was a good game with the right result but had to check to find the score was 3-2 with Barrow's scorers being Dixon, Brown and Kemp, the latter a favourite of mine, in front of 6589.

It was to be my first season that I attended regularly, standing with a group of friends from school on the popular side opposite the end of the main stand towards the Steelworks End, pretty much where I still stand.

Which Barrow match that you’ve seen stands out more than most and why?
The first trip to Wembley - who would have thought we would see Barrow play there? - and the second visit when we were expected to make up the numbers, but won due to determination and effort, are obvious answers but I am going to pick our last visit to Meadow Lane in November 2019. It was peak Evatt and such a comprehensive demolition of Notts County in front of a great crowd of Barrow supporters.

What a shame the video of the game never seemed to surface! Perhaps the recording was thrown in the Trent by Neil Ardley.

Who has been your favourite all-time Barrow player and why?
That's really difficult; impossible really. From the original League days, how to pick from Keith Eddy, Fred Else, Brian Pilkington, George Smith, David Storf and of course, Brian Arrowsmith with an honourable mention for understudy 'keeper Lionel Duffin.

In earlier non-league days, Dave Large, Colin Cowperthwaite, Micky Richmond, Glen Skivington, Neil Doherty, Eddie Kennedy and later on Paul Rutherford, Jason Walker, Andy Bond, the immense Steve McNulty and especially 'our leader' Paul Jones.

A very difficult choice but I am going to pick Bob(by) Knox. I remembered him from school a few years ahead of me and came across him again when I returned to teach in Barrow alongside his lovely wife, Anita and again later when they had a business near Carlisle. Always fun to be with and a story for every occasion!

Bob was a part-time player who had a full-time job in the health service and was selected for Barrow in all twelve positions. A substitute on the first day they were allowed in the League (August 21st 1965) he scored in that game, a 4-2 win against Wrexham - the first substitute ever to do so. Another record came on December 27th at home against Doncaster Rovers when goalkeeper Lionel Duffin was injured and Bob took the green shirt, going on to save a penalty against the great Alick Jeffreys.

Who is your favourite current Barrow player and why?
No contest! Jason Taylor - a real leader in the Paul Jones mould who reads the game and anticipates so well, never stopping running.

Who do you think has been the most underrated Barrow player during your time watching and why?
Paul Rutherford - a tricky winger, so hard-working and never gave up. Much under-appreciated by many on the Popular Side.

Which has been your favourite Barrow goal that you’ve seen live and why?
Can't remember the game but it was a Jason Walker wonder goal at Holker Street - even better than the goal that unleashed 'Barrovian Bedlam' at Holker Street. Jason collected the ball on the right wing in front of the main stand, looked up and unleashed a cannonball thirty-five yard shot from an impossible position.

What is the favourite away ground you have visited and why?
So many interesting grounds - the unusual Kingsway, former home of Bishop Auckland shared with a cricket club; fond memories of Gigg Lane, Bury and FC United; Canal Street, Runcorn, a throwback to former times; Hayes Lane at Bromley with a horse in a field next to the entrance and harvest taking place behind the popular side - in an outer London borough!

Then there are decent grounds that reflect former times such as Croft Park, Blyth; Blundell Park, Grimsby; The Racecourse Ground, Wrexham; Notts County's Meadow Lane.

I am going to make an odd choice: The Brewery Field, Spennymoor in the mid-1990s. Tucked away in a residential area, it suggested that it had been quite decent once but had deteriorated really badly in parts. However there was a newish main stand and efforts were being made to improve things. Visit today and you will find a very tidy smaller non-league ground that has had a lot of time energy put into it, a credit to those involved.

What are your hopes for Barrow in the 2021/22 season?
Lots of big crowds at Holker Street to cheer on a team that is made up of players who really want to be there.

Seeing continued developments in the ground and a plan for the future of the ground whether there or elsewhere.

Knowing that there is a plan for the business to move towards sustainability.

Above all, to be in the ground to see League football.

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