The curtain came down at the end of a tough season with a 34-6 defeat at Shield finalists Featherstone Rovers, writes Tony Collyer.

I attended on Radio Cumbria commentary duty with ex-Raiders Chairman Dave Nixon.

Prior to the game, we were hoping we could end the season with a victory as we knew Featherstone would have one eye on the Shield final at home to Leigh Centurions tomorrow (if it goes ahead).

Although Rovers were not at their best, a lack of discipline and failure to complete sets from the Raiders ensured that the home side had enough to seal the win.

Unfortunately, this has been a common theme on the road and something which must be addressed if we are to be competitive next season. The season had obviously taken its toll and as coach Paul Crarey stated post – match, ‘Barrow were busted’ and were ‘ready for a break’.

So, congratulations to all associated with the club for all the hard work this season and for achieving the short-term objective of surviving in the Championship.

This was achieved despite all the problems encountered including a horrific injury list to key players such as Luke Cresswell, Shane Toal and Lewis Charnock and the financial issues in the boardroom, which resulted in chairman David Sharpe resigning after advising us that we were 24 hours from extinction.

Paul Crarey is considering his position, but I’m sure the majority of supporters (including myself) want to Paul to stay and continue his stated goal of consolidating the Raiders in the Championship. Once consolidation is achieved, we can dream ‘big’ and aim for promotion to Super League with a top-five play-off spot the objective.

This cannot be achieved without serious financial backing and this is the most frustrating aspect of supporting the town’s rugby team. Where is the support?

I have said on many occasions that there needs to be a partnership developed between the public, the council and industry.

We have some of the most successful businesses in the area and yet the club is skint and struggling to survive.

Barrow are not alone, with the majority of rugby league clubs in the same boat; particularly Leigh Centurions, who only this week said they have only nine players available for the Shield final.

Barrow have to take responsibility in order to maximise the funding from the RFL. I would suggest that they be proactive and innovative and develop sustainable partnerships with all stakeholders if Super League is to become an achievable goal rather than a laughable fantasy.

New support has to be attracted, as 1,000 diehards aren’t going to take us to Super League. We need gates in excess of 2,000 in order to reach the required budget to establish a competitive team.

To do this, the matchday experience needs to be significantly improved; Featherstone do this very well and I was impressed with the pre - match entertainment - bring back the Raiderettes.

With the growth of the women’s game, let’s have a regular Barrow Ladies game prior to the main event or a ‘nines competition’ for local amateur teams running throughout the season.

Every Furness school pupil should be given a free season ticket, which can be used with a paying adult and perhaps we can develop Raiders TV so as we can watch all games home and away for a membership fee?

These are just some simple ideas to improve engagement with the Furness community and increase revenue, although we all understand that success on the pitch is the main driver of increased revenue.

With limited funds, the club’s recruitment for next year looks promising with the capture of three young potential stars in Deon Cross, Jake Spedding and Tee Ritson.

Have a well-earned rest, see you next season!