THE chairman of Barrow Raiders has spoken of his 'excitement' about the future prospects of the club, after news of planning permission approval for a business diversification project.

This week, the Raiders announced that they had secured permission for new digital advertising boards to go up at the Hindpool Road terrace of the Craven Park ground.

The club's management hopes the acquisition could help form a platform to help propel the club to the Super League and attract further investment to Barrow.

Club chairman Steve Neale told The Mail: "At the moment, there are eight static boards at the Hindpool end - which were part of a several-year lease.

"The deal was obviously made years ago and it wasn't a particularly favourable one for us in terms of value for money.

"It's an advertiser's dream to be near that roundabout, with BAE, McDonald's, Tesco's and all the other businesses that are there.

"We knew the deal was expiring in March 2020. So way back in 2019 we gave notice that we'd be taking back ownership of the site and we began discussions into whether we'd look to digitise it."

The club is now looking to remove two of the static boards currently in place, seeking to replace them with three new digital ones.

"Because there are some quite considerable gaps in between the boards that are there, we're looking at replacing those two with three digital boards," Mr Neale explained.

"The overall quote we've been given is for around £120,000 - with each board costing about £40,000."

Digital boards allow clubs to broker bookings with several advertisers at once, besides offering the club a number of other ways to diversify its revenue.

"People are still nervous about indoor cinemas, which has meant drive-in movies are predicted to make a real comeback. So there's potentially an opportunity there.

"And then, looking further ahead to 2021, we have the Euros. You could potentially have thousands on the pitch watching England play."

Mr Neale hinted in his Mail column earlier in the week that going forward the Raiders have cause to be optimistic financially, compared to many other clubs.

"First, we have the summer restart and promotion to focus on."

"In terms of how we're coming out of Covid, we're emerging quite strong - we've sold masks, as well as setting up a catering company which has brought income.

"Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, we've been quite proactive during lockdown. And we're in a good position as a result of that. In fact, having the time and space to think creatively about things has really helped us."