Barrow AFC co-owner Tony Shearer is impressed by the level of improvements manager Ian Evatt has made to the team in less than a season in charge of the Bluebirds.

Shearer, who retired as CEO of Foodbuy last year, is part of the consortium also made up of chairman Paul Hornby, Mark Hetherington, Kristian Wilkes and the Bluebirds Trust that took control of the club last November.

During a visit from the United States, he was in attendance at Holker Street on the final day of last season, when AFC were battling for their lives against relegation from the National League.

On a day when nerve-endings were shredded, Barrow lost 2-1 against already-demoted Chester and were only bailed out of the drop due to Woking being defeated by the same score by Dover Athletic.

There are no such worries for the Bluebirds this year under Evatt, whose ultimate aim is to take them back into the Football League.

Shearer said: “We came to that Chester game last April and it was the worst performance I’d ever seen, and I’ve been coming here since 1968.

“They’ve always been a good team, Barrow, they’ve always tried and I was really disappointed that day. The whole experience was poor and I was a bit fed up with that.

“However, in August I went to a game this season at Leyton Orient and I couldn’t believe the quality of the football they were playing.

“Ian has recreated the team more or less from scratch and they played Leyton Orient off the park – it was only 2-2, but we could have won that game easily.

“It was just great to watch and that’s what I want to see; attractive football, so when I got the call [from Hornby] I thought they’ve got a manager who knows what he wants to do and great, game on.”

Shearer has been based in North Carolina since 1994 and has been following the fortunes of Barrow AFC – the highs and the occasional lows – from 4,000 miles away.

He felt that this was the right time to get involved with his hometown club, saying: “The highs were obviously the FA Trophy win in 2010, when I was over for that and I came down for the 1990 final as well.

“When it’s your hometown club, there’s an affinity – it’s different to supporting a Liverpool or a Man United.

“When it comes to your hometown club, you really want them to do well and they’ve been really successful so far this year.

“I’m really impressed with Ian Evatt - I think the guy’s a really good manager and we’ve got to support him.”