There’s no denying there’s a certain positive vibe around the club as we enter the summer.

We’re all mindful of the challenges associated with competing at this level and it’s important not to lose sight of the work ahead, but football should always be about hope and ambition.

This summer, we’re trying to put ourselves in the best possible position to compete, and that undeniably helps grow the sense of optimism.

Off the field, I’ve talked over the last few weeks about the redevelopment of the West Terrace and various other projects around the ground.

This is a visual representation of the commitment of this board and ownership to do everything they can to see the club succeed. But outside of these physical works, fans will have noted other signs of progress.

“Isn’t it nice that we’re getting our business done early,” is a phrase I’m hearing a lot lately.

Certainly it feels like there’s a settled first team squad developing at Barrow AFC and a manager overseeing it with a clear plan of the players he wants, both those who were kept from last season and those who we’re already seeing being added to the squad.

Recent years have seen a number of managers at the club and with them come various differing philosophies and views on players.

How refreshing is it that we have a talented young manager, signed to a new contract, going into his second season and able to make changes to a squad he knows well in order to try to get us to the next level playing his attractive style of football?

Further progress comes in the form of our pre-season friendlies. We’re still short of one to complete the full set, but every home fixture is now announced and details of the dates and opponents can be found on the Club website.

There are certainly some interesting ties to look forward to this year with Blackpool and Morecambe among the visitors and a trip for our fans up the coast to Workington also in the diary.

So maybe we have a right to indulge in a little cautious optimism. There’s still a lot to do but there’s definitely a feeling that both on and off the field we have momentum behind us.

And in sport, when you can maintain that momentum, there’s no telling where it can take you.

*The new owners have been very clear that this club must become self-sufficient and sustainable.

It isn’t practical or fair to expect donations and other people’s money to keep us going forever.

To that end, the focus is on increasing our revenue streams.

We don’t spend more than other clubs at this level. We just earn considerably less.

Part of the plan to change that situation is better utilisation of the Cross Bar. There’s been an increased focus on our bar as a venue for the whole community.

After all, the first team only play home games once a fortnight on average over the season.

Fans may have seen the announcement of a Fizzy Friday on June 28, which is selling well.

In addition, we’ve booked Soul Survivors to appear on October 11 and have seen a big increase in bookings for birthday parties, christenings and wedding receptions.

There are plans to have performances by other local acts, and the new windows in the hospitality rooms have made them much more appealing for corporate events.

Generating the revenue we need won’t be simple and it won’t come from a single source.

But utilising our assets to their fullest is key, and with the change in emphasis in the Cross Bar we’re well on the way to making that happen.

*We can sometimes feel ‘out on a limb’ in Barrow, but when it comes to supporter involvement, we are part of a much larger network.

Through the Bluebirds Trust, we are members of the Unified Supporters Organisation.

This isn’t just a talking shop; when we looked for advice regarding the Share Contribution Scheme, this was once of the first places we turned to. Looking at the role of a Supporters’ Director, which I am, we were able to use examples from clubs throughout England.

And it’s not just us learning from others. The positive way we engaged with the Barrow support to £50,000 has not gone unnoticed and other clubs will now look at our example to move forward.

Podcasts and articles regarding our fundraising and support of the club have been aired nationally.

The Bluebirds Trust will have a representative at the Annual General Meeting in London in June and will take some excellent examples of how our supporters in this town, with our club, have banded together.

Ian Evatt talks about the ‘perfect storm’ of everyone pulling in the same direction and this is how we will create the momentum we need to be successful in the National League.