BARROW’S football heroes toasted their league win behind closed doors yesterday - but the club is still planning an open top bus tour to celebrate the achievement.

As the players gathered at Barrow’s Holker Street ground to lift the National League trophy, chairman Paul Hornby said fans would still get the opportunity to salute the football stars.

He described the ‘military operation’ to keep title celebrations secret to avoid large gatherings of fans amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Friends, family and club staff were the only ones allowed into the ground to celebrate the league win, which brings Barrow back into the football league for the first time in nearly half a century.

Players gathered to spray champagne at a safe distance from each other.

Mr Hornby said: “This day has been two weeks in the planning and it’s been a military operation.

“Obviously we couldn’t have the fans here with the pandemic, but it’s a good day for the players to be able to celebrate with friends and family.

“We are hoping, maybe in the first game of next season, to have a proper celebration and possibly get the players in an open top bus.”

Though they could not be there themselves, community leaders in Barrow paid tribute to the club for their achievements and hoped for a chance to celebrate properly.

Councillor Ann Thomson, leader of Barrow Borough Council, said: “This is a wonderful day for everyone involved with Barrow AFC’s success.

“The club’s promotion to the league is thoroughly deserved and an historic moment for the whole borough.

“It has also provided a real lift for everyone following the difficult months we have all endured.

“On behalf of the borough council I congratulate the club once more.

“We wish them all the best for the season ahead.”

Barrow MP Simon Fell said: “What a remarkable achievement this is.

“They’ve done themselves and the town proud.”

Ormsgill councillor Bill McEwan said: “It’s absolutely wonderful for the town.

“It will be a boost for the town.

“It’s a fantastic achievement.

“Once things die down I would love there to be a celebration with all the fans - maybe at the town hall. I hope that happens.”