STEVE Neale believes there is a bright future for Barrow Raiders after being confirmed as the club's new chairman – provided they can overcome the recent cash-flow problems which were revealed last week.

The former Barrow player, who returned to the club as a director in April, was elected as David Sharpe's successor at a board meeting on Wednesday evening, with team sponsor John Coward returning to a directorial role and new member Denis Fay strengthening the numbers as well.

In a statement issued following confirmation of his new role, Neale gave his own view of the financial issues affecting the club, which stemmed partly from having to use money for 2018 to pay off outstanding debts and to cover increases in the playing squad's contracts following promotion to the Betfred Championship.

“We first encountered cash flow problems in May, but donations from the board allowed all wages to be paid and the Rochdale home fixture got us through much of June,” said Neale.

“At this point, the board knew that funds were likely to run dry but were exploring funding from various sources. We received a negative response from these sources last week with the current account balance not sufficient to pay the staff wages.

“We do not have an overdraft facility. Based on crowds of 1,200 and no serious unexpected outgoings, such as ground repairs, we faced the prospect of requiring an additional £100,000 to see out the season.

“In the short-term, a board member has loaned the club £50,000 that has given breathing space. Increased crowds and any other event or income streams not related to match days can eat in to this £50,000.”

Fund-raising initiatives such as setting up a JustGiving page in an effort to entice a virtual crowd, a sportsman's dinner and the Ultimate Pop Festival at Craven Park on August 26 will help cover the shortfall, along with the already-established community club raffle, betting company partnership, lottery and Super Lotto.

Neale brings experience of helping turn around the financial fortunes of amateur club Roose Pioneers, and recognises the need for Raiders to take a long-term view when it comes to planning, along with trying to tap a wide variety of revenue streams to keep the team competitive on the pitch and retain Championship status.

He announced an intention to establish what Barrow would need to do to fulfil the entry criteria for Super League, should the team be in a position to compete for promotion in the future.

“In the medium-term, we are going to improve our planning and with that our income streams from a wide range of sources,” said Neale. “I want the club to get stronger and stronger year by year.

“It is essential that we retain our Championship status, but beyond that we aim to grow. As the income streams improve, so does the standard on the pitch. We will look to other stronger clubs and use them as a benchmark but ultimately it will be us that are the example for other clubs to follow.

“We will engage with the Rugby Football League and establish the realistic Super League entry criteria and put plans in place to achieve it. This may be wishful thinking, but no club that ever aimed low achieved high.”

Coward rejoining the board and Fay coming in have boosted numbers, although Neale is still keen to add more directors once specific roles have been identified.

He has pledged to give the board's backing to anyone who has an idea to help but does not want to become a director as well.

There will be a public meeting to discuss matters, with a date to be confirmed, and Neale has called on everyone with an interest in Raiders to get behind them.

“This isn't my club or the board's club; this is the club of the town,” said Neale. “The board is just in the privileged position of steering the club at this point in time.

“If everyone is going in the same direction then I am confident that there is a bright future.

“Believe me, with the town's backing, there is every reason to be optimistic.”