Head coach Paul Crarey was put under pressure during Barrow Raiders’ losing run last year, but his chairman Steve Neale has outlined the reasons why he never considered sacking him.

After winning their opening game of the 2019 Betfred Championship campaign at Batley Bulldogs, it would take the Raiders almost four months to win another league game, as they lost ten games on the spin.

It was a run they weren’t able to ever fully recover from, as they ultimately suffered relegation following a season in which they suffered from a prolonged injury crisis.

It was the run of bad luck on that front why there was never any doubt in Neale’s mind that Crarey would be retained and given the chance to refresh his squad at Craven Park and bounce back up from League One.

Speaking on Sky Sports’ Golden Point podcast, Neale said: “Obviously, we went on a losing run last year and I think other chairmen would have sacked him, but that would be failing to understand what that guy gives to the club.

“It is a results-based business, but you’ve got to look at the bigger picture. This man is just Barrow rugby league through and through.

“He just simply doesn’t stop working for Barrow Raiders and he’s interested in the whole development of the town, working with all the community clubs, coaching the coaches of the community clubs, bringing players through.

“What Paul gives you is so much more than a first team coach - he’s developing the whole town and I think you need to appreciate at close hand, which I do, the amount of dedication and work that he gives to the club.

“Then you can see why you don’t go sacking coaches like that on the back of a dodgy spell of results, which was mainly influenced by a horrendous injury list.”

Crarey himself has spoken how he was pleasantly surprised by the reaction of Barrow supporters after the end of last season and Neale emphasised how the majority of them were happy to see him continue.

He also criticised the ‘hire them, fire them’ culture in professional sport, saying: “It’s just bizarre, sport, I feel at times.

“There’s always this clamour to sack the head coach for [the sake of] a few results and I just can’t understand it, but to be fair the Barrow crowd were never, ever calling for his head.

“You might get one or two few voices when you’re on a ten-match losing run, but I think the Barrow public understands what a great job he does.

“I almost see him as an Alex Ferguson figure - there is a rebuilding job to do and he will give us the continuity for years to come, for as long as he wants the job.

“If you brought in in a high-profile coach, perhaps with more cup winners’ medals or [coaching] badges and had a stellar playing career, I don’t think you’d get the same as what I'm getting out of out of Paul.”