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Saturday, 25 October 2014

THE RAIDING PARTY: Barrow Raiders won’t twin with a Super League club

IT is that time of the year again when Keith Holt is working hard to get all our sponsors in place ahead of the new season.

As always, we get some new sponsors joining and a handful leaving for a variety of reasons.

Keith can only do so much getting around the area talking to people, so if you know of any company interested in being a shirt sponsor, let Keith know (via the Rugby Shop) as soon as possible. The price is a mere £2,500 plus VAT, and for that your company name appears prominently on the home and away kit and all the replica kits worn by our supporters.

In addition, you get free hospitality in the Lewthwaite Suite on match days. This is a great deal for any company wishing to be involved with the growth of Barrow RLFC as we continue to build towards a secure and successful future.

One of the big stories in rugby league is the reorganisation of Super League clubs’ academy structures. This, in turn, has resulted in a partnership arrangement between a number of Championship or Championship One clubs and Super League outfits. I don’t have exact details of how every club has reacted to this opportunity but St Helens have ‘twinned’ with both Whitehaven and Rochdale, while Leeds have paired up with Hunslet.

That means the lower-tier clubs can play up to five players each week loaned from their Super League partners; but it isn’t just about that – there are many aspects to these tie-ins.

What I do know is the directors of Barrow Raiders have discussed the matter in some detail and decided we prefer our autonomy and will remain a standalone club for the foreseeable future.

It would be foolish, of course, to say we have dismissed it out of hand, but as things stand just now, and as we understand the finer details of these arrangements, we see no great long-term value.

We haven’t ruled out any dual-registration signings, should Holty wish to take that option again, but we feel to fully commit to a relationship with a single Super League outfit is not in our best interests.

Time will tell whether or not these collaborations will work for both parties, but they may well be problematic at times. Who can forget Barrow’s totally embarrassing tie-in with St Helens of a decade or so ago and the fiasco of the Sonny Nickle ‘signing’?

The devil is in the detail as they say, and we will watch developments with interest.

Nearer home, the team building for 2013 continues and there is no doubt Darren and Phil are assembling what looks to be a talented and competitive squad.

I don’t think anybody can be too disappointed with the calibre of the new recruits, brought in to supplement the many talented locals already at Craven Park, and I can’t wait to see the new-look team.

Season ticket sales are going well (almost 150 sold in just three weeks), but the much-publicised ‘early bird’ offer has just a little over three weeks to run, so you need to act quickly if you want to secure yours.

If you want to pay for it over a number of weeks, that isn’t a problem. You just need to call in the Rugby Shop and speak to John Spoor, who will sort something out for you; but you need to do this before the November 14 deadline.

And remember – the future is bright, the future is blue and white.

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