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Feature

Bluebird Spotlight: Phil Yelland

30 June 2021

A photograph of Phil Yelland
Phil Yelland

During the summer, we’ve been placing Barrow fans in the spotlight in a special feature finding out more about how their support for the Bluebirds developed.

Our latest featured fan may be a familiar name to many – Phil Yelland, a retired solicitor, has been watching Barrow for more than 50 years and acts as a Club Historian as well as contributing regularly to the Official Website and Matchday Programme.

Who did we play in your first Barrow game and what are your memories of the day?
Barrow 0 Crewe Alexandra 1 - 29th August 1970. A game we should never have lost. Huffed and puffed and undone by a breakaway goal - it was to be a long and very difficult season. I came to the game after winning a school scholarship in my hometown of Edinburgh where I lived and still live. I remember I got a dedication at half time on the tannoy - The Wonder of You by Elvis Presley. Perhaps the fact I remember that says a lot about the quality of the game!

Which Barrow match that you’ve seen stands out more than most and why?
Difficult. The two FA Trophy wins at Wembley were great, as were the FA Cup Third Round ties at Middlesbrough and Sunderland but, back in the dark days of the 1970s, I saw us win 7-0 against Great Harwood at Holker Street after a goal drought. And also a 5-0 victory at Christie Park against Morecambe - that was the first time I had seen Barrow win - at the thirteenth attempt!

Who has been your favourite all-time Barrow player and why?
It has to be Colin Cowperthaite - a fantastic player over 13 years with the Club.

Who is your favourite current Barrow player and why?
Luke James - battles for everything and never comes off having given less than 100%.

Who do you think has been the most underrated Barrow player during your time watching and why?
Another difficult one. In the 1970s possibly Ian Gill - got a lot of vital goals but overshadowed by other strikers of the time. In the late 1980s and early 1990s Billy Gilmour, whose goals form midfield were so vital so often. More recently, in the Kenny Lowe era, Steve Housham - another midfielder who scored an incredible number of goals.

Which has been your favourite Barrow goal that you’ve seen live and why?
Has to be Jason Walker's winner at Wembley in 2010, as we simply weren't meant to win that game. Stevenage where champions and headed for the Football League and they had hammered us 4-0 two months earlier.

What is the favourite away ground you have visited and why?
Hard to choose between two in the North-East - Whitby Town's Turnbull Ground and the old Kingsway Ground at Bishop Auckland.

What are your hopes for Barrow in the 2021/22 season?
Build on the season past, head for mid-table and have a cup run.


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