One month after their promotion from the National League was confirmed, Barrow AFC’s players were finally able to get their hands on the trophy and their reward for a glorious campaign became more tangible.

Much has happened in that time, with not just players arriving and departing, but managers as well, after the man who guided them into the EFL, Ian Evatt, left for Bolton Wanderers and was replaced in the hotseat by David Dunn.

Evatt and his staff not being there, as well as the five players who were released, added to the surreal nature of the day at Holker Street as the players were presented with the National League trophy on the pitch in front of a select number of club officials and family members.

Some typical Barrow weather did nothing to dampen the spirits of the players, who hadn’t been together as a group since the coronavirus outbreak suspended the season in March, while Dunn chose to take in the celebrations from the shelter of the tunnel.

For midfielder John Rooney, lifting the trophy as captain was a chance to say goodbye after leaving AFC for Stockport County on a three-year contract on Monday.

Rooney said: “Obviously, I’ve moved on now but it was great to come back today and see the lads and see the staff around the club and say my goodbyes.

“I enjoyed every minute and it’s just a bit gutting that we couldn’t have the fans here with us today because they supported us the whole way.

“I made sure that I was going to come up here because I enjoyed every minute of playing for this club.”

With 20 goals, Rooney was the Bluebirds’ joint-top scorer in their promotion campaign alongside Scott Quigley, who will be sticking around in League Two next season after signing a new three-year contract with the club yesterday.

Quigley said: “All the lads will be pleased to have got this done, I think, but now we’re just looking forward to getting on with next season.

“I hadn’t seen anyone at all for four months because I don’t really live near any of the players - obviously, there was a few phone calls, a few face times, but it was really good to see each other because we’re a really close bunch.

Winning promotion is almost old hat to midfielder Jason Taylor, who has now gone up a division four times in his career, following previous experiences with Stockport, Rochdale and Northampton, but not doing so in front of supporters was a new experience for him.

He said: “It’s been a long time away, obviously, for all the lads. It feels strange because of the current circumstances and with what’s been going on but it is what it is. Our goal at the start of the season was to get promoted and win the league and what a fantastic achievement. Now we’ve got the trophy and our medals, although it would have been amazing to share it with the fans.”