WHAT a great day on Sunday! The supporters returned to the ground in numbers, the sun shone, and the team put on a thoroughly professional performance intermingled with some touches of brilliance. We are starting now to see the results of our hard work, but we absolutely must not rest on our laurels and continue to move forward.

A crowd close to 2,000 was pleasing but the challenge is now to grow this number.

There were some free ticket offers, especially related to getting people in early, but believe me when I say that the gamble paid off handsomely.

The secondary spends significantly outweighed any shortfall in gate receipts and what we got was an atmosphere in the ground that I haven’t felt for a few years.

With the crowd a healthy one I must pay tribute and thank the Barrow Council Safety Advisory Group led by Jenny Wood. Jenny has been incredibly supportive in getting us the approval to play and she has recognised the vast surface area of the terracing that enabled us to have a decent COVID capacity.

I know other councils have not been as supportive with vastly reduced capacities and the refusal to open any outlets. The council take a bashing at times, but this group need their contribution to a great day recognised.

Changing tack, we had a community development planning meeting at the weekend with myself and Denis Fay representing our board joining the board members of the foundation.

We have recently been awarded charity status and this will open the doors, we hope, to further funding streams.

We are determined that we strengthen our status as a community club and provide a focal point for health and wellbeing for the whole of South Cumbria.

Once again our main concern is the ability to cope and the outcome of the planning meeting was that we needed to recruit further so that we could free up resource to concentrate on bidding for grants that are out there. This is going to be a gamble by the club. We are going to employ people and commit to their wages and then hope the funding follows. The club have done the same gamble for the community programme a couple of times and they have always come good with the funds. With all the positivity around that side of the business we believe it is a risk worth taking.

Last week we got more good news with the early arrival of our big screen. We are hiring for a month to cover the European Championships and when we were offered early delivery we jumped at the chance.

There were a few teething problems with assembly, so it was good that we had the time under less pressure to iron them out. We were delighted that we were then able to screen the Champions League Final and we got a healthy crowd.

The income streams that are being generated is almost like having a home fixture three times a week and we are all extremely excited about where this could lead.

We have virtually sold out for the first two England group games with our main issue surrounding how we are going to cope with the numbers. We’ll be having a few planning meetings in the run up to the big games, but these are exciting problems to have.